1.In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the Code of Behaviour Guidelines issued by the NEWB (now part of TUSLA – The Child and Family Agency), the Board of Management of Roxboro National School has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the framework of the school’s overall code of behaviour. This policy fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools which were published in September 2013. It also contributes to the goals of our Mission Statement
2.The Board of Management recognises the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact that it can have on the lives of pupils and is therefore fully committed to the following key principles of best practice in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour:
a) A positive school culture and climate which –
•is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity;
•encourages pupils to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour in a non-threatening environment; and
•promotes respectful relationships across the school community;
b) Effective leadership;
c) A school-wide approach;
d) A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact;
e) Implementation of education and prevention strategies that-
•build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils; and
•explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying.
f)Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils;
g) Supports for staff;
h) Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies); and
i) On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.
3.In accordance with the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools bullying is defined as follows:
Bullying is unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical conducted, by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time.
The following types of bullying behaviour are included in the definition of bullying:
•deliberate exclusion, malicious gossip and other forms of relational bullying,
•damage to property,
•telephone calling, text messaging and cyber-bullying and
•identity-based bullying such as homophobic bullying, racist bullying, bullying based on a person’s membership of the Traveller community and bullying of those with disabilities or special educational needs.
Isolated or once-off incidents of intentional negative behaviour, including a once-off offensive or hurtful text message or other private messaging, do not fall within the definition of bullying and should be dealt with, as appropriate, in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour. However, in the context of this policy, placing a once-off offensive or hurtful public message, image or statement on a social network site or other public forum where that message, image or statement can be viewed and/or repeated by other people will be regarded as bullying behaviour. Negative behaviour that does not meet this definition of bullying will be dealt with in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour. Additional information on different types of bullying is set out in Section 2 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.
4.The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying is (are) as follows: The Principal / Deputy Principal and class teacher. Where appropriate other teachers will deal with bullying. In general, all staff members must be vigilant at all times, and have a duty to report suspected or potentially bullying behaviour.
5.The education and prevention strategies that will be used by the school are as follows:
•The school staff and Board of Management take several measures to curtail bullying.
•The school acknowledges the right of each member of the school community to enjoy school in a secure environment.
•The school promotes positive habits of self-respect, self-discipline and responsibility among all its members.
•The school has a Code of Discipline, Mobile Phone Policy and Acceptable Use Policy in place.
•All staff members, parents/guardians and pupils must treat everyone with respect.
•The school community is organised in order to minimise opportunities for bullying.
•Supervision is sufficient at all times.
•New pupils are monitored as to how they are settling in.
•School personnel, parents/guardians and all pupils, are watchful.
•The school SPHE plan and especially the Stay Safe Programme address the issue of bullying.
•The staff address the issue of inappropriate sexual language, and its use as a bullying tool. Homophobic and transphobic bullying are unacceptable.
•Complaints are dealt with quickly, firmly and fairly, involving parents/guardians in the process where appropriate.
•The school has a firm and fair discipline structure.
•Pupils are encouraged to discuss how they get on with other people and to form positive attitudes towards other people. This includes work on friendship and what it really means.
•Roxboro N.S. is a ‘Telling School’. We endeavour to create and maintain the atmosphere and opportunities for victims of bullying, or others who are aware of bullying, to tell an adult in the school.
•Formal programmes of work are a vital element in raising children’s self-esteem and equipping children to cope with bullying behaviour e.g. S.P.H.E., Walk Tall, RSE, Grow in Love, Stay Safe, Zippy Friends, My Selfie
•Positive reinforcement by teachers in classroom settings is very important.
•Teachers and staff model respectful behaviour and language.
•We promote extra-curricular activities which encourage co-operation among pupils.
•Incidents of good and improved behaviour are rewarded and staff are encouraged to highlight acts of kindness at class level and whole-school.
•Students are encouraged to look out for each other and to be responsible for their own behaviour.
•All teachers are required to be vigilant on yard duty – record all incidences – monitor repeat offenders
•Immediate affirmation of children who report incidents of bullying which they have witnessed..
•Each class to have a set of class rules which compliment the school’s Code of Behaviour.
•A “worry box” may be placed in classes.
•Ensure supervision at all times when pupils can access the internet.
•Sanctions for unauthorised use of the internet/electronic devices will be imposed as per the Code of Behaviour and AUP .
6.The school’s procedures for investigation, follow up and recording of bullying behaviour and the established intervention strategies used by the school for dealing with cases of bullying behaviour are as follows:
All reports of bullying must be dealt with initially by the class teacher.
•When a pupil reports s/he is being bullied, it is important to gather all of the facts from both sides (What, where, when, who, why?). This will involve an interview with the child who is alleged to have bullied using template in Appendix.
•In investigating and dealing with bullying, the teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best to resolve the situation.
•The aim for the class teacher in investigating and dealing with bullying is to resolve any issues and to restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved (rather than to apportion blame).
•Non teaching staff will be encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them to the relevant teacher.
•The teacher should take calm, unemotional, problem-solving approach.
•All sides are listened to separately and notes are taken.
• The notes are brief, factual and should be void of emotional or judgemental language.
•Instances are investigated outside the classroom to avoid public humiliations.
•All interviews should be conducted with sensitivity and with due regards to the rights of all pupils concerned. Pupils who are not directly involved can also provide very useful information in this way.
•Where possible, a witness is present.
•It is explained to the child involved how hurtful their behaviour is and attempts are made to encourage them to empathise with the alleged victim.
•The child/ children involved will be asked to promise not to repeat that behaviour.
•If there is a suspicion that bullying is taking place, the parents/guardians of all the children involved and the principal are informed by the class teacher. Parents/Guardians will be welcome to discuss the issues with the class teacher and/or the principal.
If this child breaks the promise and re-offends then the Deputy Principal or Principal with the class teacher will interview the child/children again. It is explained to them that this is their second time offending and that they have not committed to their promise. Again attempts will be made to resolve the situation. They are now advised that if they break this promise again, they will have a meeting with the principal and their parent(s)/guardian and could face suspension.
•Parents/Guardians and pupils are required to co-operate with any investigations and assist the school in resolving any issues and restoring, as far as practicable, the relationships of the parties involved as quickly as possible.
•Information spoken about should not become available, so that the victim would be further tormented. (Need to know basis)
If after the principal’s meeting with the parents/guardians and the child, the bullying continues, the class teacher, deputy principal and the principal will decide whether to move on to Stage 4 or to revert back to a previous stage.
If a child breaks their promise twice then the matter is dealt with to the Principal. The Principal meets with the child and the parents/guardians and sanctions may be imposed up to and including suspension and expulsion (Subject to procedures in Rules for National Schools and the Education Welfare Act 2000).
Recording of incidents: All incidents at Stage 1 where a teacher deems that it is highly likely that bullying has occurred will be logged by class teacher on the ‘Recording of Alleged Bullying Behaviour’ sheet available in the office. When filled they will be brought to the attention of the principal and filed in the ‘Anti-Bullying file in the office. Similarly, the Deputy Principal or Principal will record and file at Stages 2, 3 and 4. At least once every school term the Principal will provide a report to the BOM setting out the overall number of bullying cases reported by means of this template and confirmation that all cases are being dealt with in accordance with procedure.
Sanctions may apply at all stages in consultation with the Deputy Principal / Principal. These may include:
•Loss of various privileges.
•Detention during breaks
•Parents/Guardians may be requested to escort their child to and from school.
•Written work describing the incidents
The school may seek assistance and advice from outside agencies if necessary, including National Educational Psychological Service, TUSLA – The Child and Family Agency and the HSE (social services).
The aim of the school will always be reconciliation and resolution of conflict.
7.The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
Victim: Those who have been subjected to bullying will be supported through the pastoral care structures in the school. Support will be provided for anyone who has been /is being bullied by offering them an immediate opportunity to talk about their experience with their teacher or another teacher. A victim will be assured that the school community will help them and put monitoring procedures in place to safeguard them. Children have the opportunity to participate in social skills lessons designed to raise their self-esteem and to develop their friendship and social skills. The victims may have counselling provided by outside agencies.
Perpetrator: Those who have been found to have engaged in bullying will be encouraged to recognise the inappropriateness of such behaviour and the seriousness of its effects on others. Help and support will also be sought for the perpetrator. This will include speaking to them to discover why they became involved. For those low in self-esteem, opportunities will be developed to increase feelings of self-worth through the SPHE programme. Pupils who observe incidents of bullying behaviour should be encouraged to discuss them with trusted adults. Pupils who engage in serious bullying behaviour may be advised to avail of counselling.
Other: Class lessons will be taught, mainly in S.P.H.E. dealing with respect, self-esteem and the issue of bullying. Children are assured that they may seek help from many sources – parents/guardinas, school community and outside agencies.
8.Bullying of School Personnel:
Bullying in any form of school personnel will not be accepted, they will be investigated and acted upon. See separate document ‘Roxboro N.S. Procedure for Dealing with Bullying/Harassment’
9.Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils
The Board of Management confirms that appropriate supervision and monitoring policies and practices are in place to both prevent and deal with bullying behaviour and to facilitate early intervention where possible.
10.Prevention of Harassment
The Board of Management confirms that the school will, in accordance with its obligations under equality legislation, take all such steps that are reasonably practicable to prevent the sexual harassment of pupils or staff or the harassment of pupils or staff on any of the nine grounds specified i.e. gender including transgender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community.
This policy has been made available to school personnel, it will be published on the school website and made available for all parents/guardians. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.
This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year. Written notification that the review has been completed will be made available to school personnel and provided to the Parents’ Association. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.