Anti-Bullying - Kilmessan NS

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          Kilmessan Mixed N.S.
         Anti-Bullying Policy

1. In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the code of behaviour guidelines issued by the NEWB, the Board of Management of Kilmessan Mixed 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.
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 (including awareness raising measures) 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,
•  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 Appendix A  of this policy.
Examples of bullying behaviours

General  behaviours which apply to all types of bullying
• Harassment based on any of the nine grounds in the equality leg-islation e.g. sexual harassment, homophobic bullying, racist bully-ing etc.
• Physical aggression
• Damage to property
• Name calling
• Slagging
• The production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other materials aimed at intimidating another person
• Offensive graffiti
• Extortion
• Intimidation
• Insulting or offensive gestures
• The “look”
• Invasion of personal space
• A combination of any of the types listed.

• Denigration: Spreading rumors, lies or gossip to hurt a person’s reputation
• Harassment: Continually sending vicious, mean or disturbing messages to an individual
• Impersonation: Posting offensive or aggressive messages under another person’s name
• Flaming: Using inflammatory or vulgar words to provoke an online fight
• Trickery: Fooling someone into sharing personal information which you then post online
• Outing: Posting or sharing confidential or compromising infor-mation or images
• Exclusion: Purposefully excluding someone from an online group
• Cyber stalking: Ongoing harassment and denigration that causes a person considerable fear for his/her safety
• Silent telephone/mobile phone call
• Abusive telephone/mobile phone calls
• Abusive text messages
• Abusive email
• Abusive communication on social networks e.g. Facebook/ Twitter/You Tube etc. or on games consoles
• Abusive website comments/Blogs/Pictures
• Abusive posts on any form of communication technology
Identity Based Behaviours
Including any of the nine discriminatory grounds mentioned in Equality Legislation  (gender including transgender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community).

Homophobic and Transgender
• Spreading rumours about a person’s sexual orientation
• Taunting a person of a different sexual orientation
• Name calling e.g. Gay, queer, lesbian...used in a derogatory man-ner
• Physical intimidation or attacks
• Threats

Race, nationality, ethnic background and membership of the Traveller  community
• Discrimination, prejudice, comments or insults about colour, na-tionality, culture, social class, religious beliefs, ethnic or traveller background
• Exclusion on the basis of any of the above

This involves manipulating relationships as a means of bullying. Behaviours include:
• Malicious gossip
• Isolation & exclusion
• Ignoring
• Excluding from the group
• Taking someone’s friends away
• “Bitching”
• Spreading rumours
• Breaking confidence
• Talking loud enough so that the victim can hear
• The “look”
• Use or terminology such as ‘nerd’ in a derogatory way
Sexual • Unwelcome or inappropriate  sexual comments or touching
• Harassment
Special Educational Needs,
Disability • Name calling
• Taunting others because of their disability or learning needs
• Taking advantage of some pupils’ vulnerabilities and limited capacity to recognise and defend themselves against bullying
• Taking advantage of some pupils’ vulnerabilities and limited capacity to understand social situations and social cues.
• Mimicking a person’s disability
• Setting others up for ridicule

4. The relevant teachers for investigating and dealing with bullying are as follows

The Relevant Teachers in this school are:  The class teacher in the first instance, and/or the teacher who witnesses bullying behaviour and/or the teacher to whom an allegation of bullying behaviour is made.

Deputy Principal
All class teachers
Learning Support teachers
Resource teachers
Substitute teachers

Any teacher may act as a relevant teacher if circumstances warrant it. All non-teaching staff are also expected to report all incidents of bullying behaviour to the relevant teacher.

5. The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber-
bullying, homophobic and transphobic bullying) that will be used by the school are as follows

• The school acknowledges the right of each member of the school community to enjoy school in a secure environment.
• The school acknowledges the uniqueness of each individual and his/her worth as a human being.
• A school-wide approach to the fostering of respect for all members of the school community.
• The promotion of the value of diversity to address issues of prejudice and stereotyping, and highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.
• The fostering and enhancing of the self-esteem of all our pupils through both curricular and extracurricular activities. Pupils will be provided with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self-worth through formal and informal interactions.
• Whole staff professional development on bullying to ensure that all staff develop an aware-ness of what bullying is, how it impacts on pupils’ lives and the need to respond to it-prevention and intervention.
• An annual audit of professional development needs with a view to assessing  staff require-ments  through internal staff knowledge/expertise and external sources
• Professional development with specific focus on the training of the relevant teacher(s)
• School wide awareness raising and training on all aspects of bullying, to include pupils, par-ent(s)/guardian(s) and the wider school community.
• Supervision and monitoring of classrooms, corridors, school grounds, school tours and extra- curricular activities. Non-teaching and ancillary staff will be encouraged to be vigilant and report issues to relevant teachers. Supervision will also apply to monitoring student use of communication technology within the school.
• Involvement of the pupils in contributing to a safe school environment e.g.  Buddy system, mentoring, Lunchtime Play Pals and other student support activities that can help to support pupils and encourage a culture of peer respect and support.
• Development and promotion of an Anti-Bullying code for the school-to be displayed publicly in classrooms and in common areas of the school.
• The school’s Anti-Bullying Policy is discussed regularly with pupils in class & at whole-school assemblies. Parents/guardians are given a copy as part of the Code of Behaviour of the school on enrolment. The Anti-Bullying Policy is posted on the school website & a hard copy is available on request from the office.
• The implementation of regular  whole school awareness measures  on the promotion of friendship, and bullying prevention; annual Friendship Week; monthly assemblies by Principal, Deputy Principal, all class teachers,  Learning Support & Resource teachers. Information on relevant talks/seminars is passed on to parents/guardians. Relevant talks     (eg.  Parenting, Cyber-bullying etc) are organised by the school.
• Encourage a culture of telling, with particular emphasis on the importance of bystanders. In that way pupils will gain confidence in ‘telling’. This confidence factor is of vital importance. It should be made clear to all pupils that when they report incidents of bullying they are not considered to be telling tales but are behaving responsibly.
• Ensuring that pupils know who to tell and how to tell, e.g.:
o Direct approach to teacher at an appropriate time, for example after class.
o Hand note up with homework.
o Make a phone call to the school or to a trusted teacher in the school.
o Anti-bully or Worry box  
o Get a parent/guardian or friend to tell on your behalf.
o Administer a confidential questionnaire to pupils.
o Ensure bystanders understand the importance of telling if they witness or know that bullying is taking place.
•  Parent(s)/guardian(s) are encouraged to approach the school if they suspect that their child is being bullied.
• The school has developed an Acceptable Use Policy which includes the necessary steps to ensure that the access to technology within the school is strictly monitored, as is the pupils’ use of mobile phones. Mobile phones & internet-enabled devices are not permitted on the school premises for pupils. Phones must be handed to the relevant teacher & will be returned when school finishes.

Implementation of curricula
• The school fully implements the SPHE curriculum, and the RSE and Stay Safe Programmes are taught in all classes in alternate years.
•  Continuous Professional Development is availed of for staff in delivering these programmes.
• School wide delivery of lessons on bullying from evidence based programmes, e.g. Cool School Lessons, RSE, Stay Safe Programme, The Walk Tall Programme, NWHB resources, Webwise Programme etc.
• Delivery of the Garda SPHE Programmes at primary level. These lessons, delivered by Community Gardaí, cover issues around personal safety and cyber-bullying.
• The school specifically considers the additional needs of SEN pupils with regard to programme implementation and the development of skills and strategies to enable all pupils to respond appropriately.
• The school will implement the advice in “Sexual Orientation advice for schools” (RSE Primary, see booklet).

              Links to other policies
•  Code of Behaviour (including use of mobile phones)
• SPHE Policy (including Stay Safe & RSE programmes)
•  Child Protection policy
•  Supervision of pupils
•  Acceptable Use policy
• Attendance
• PE (including Sporting Code of Conduct)

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

Procedures for Investigating and Dealing with Bullying

The primary aim 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);

The school’s procedures must be consistent with the following approach.
Every effort will be made to ensure that all involved (including pupils, parent(s)/guardian(s)) understand this approach from the outset.

Reporting bullying behaviour:

• Any pupil or parent(s)/guardian(s) may bring a bullying incident to any teacher in the school.
• All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying, will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher.
• Teaching and non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs), bus es-corts, caretakers, cleaners must report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher;

Investigating and dealing with incidents:
• In investigating and dealing with bullying, the (relevant)teacher will exercise his/her profes-sional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved;
• Parent(s)/guardian(s) and pupils are required to co-operate with any investigation and assist the school in resolving any issues and restoring, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved as quickly as possible;
•  Teachers will take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach.
• Where possible incidents will  be investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved;
•  All interviews will be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils concerned. Pupils who are not directly involved can also provide very useful information in this way;
• When analysing incidents of bullying behaviour, the relevant teacher will seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why. This should be done in a calm manner, setting an example in dealing effectively with a conflict in a non-aggressive manner;
•  If a group is involved, each member should be interviewed individually at first. Thereafter, all those involved should be met as a group. At the group meeting, each member should be asked for his/her account of what happened to ensure that everyone in the group is clear about each other’s statements;
•  Each member of a group should be supported through the possible pressures that may face them from the other members of the group after the interview by the teacher;
It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s)
•  In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the parties involved should be contacted at an early stage to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken (by reference to the school policy). The school should give parent(s)/guardian(s) an opportunity of discussing ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions being taken by the school and the supports provided to the pupils;
•  Where the relevant teacher has determined that a pupil has been engaged in bullying be-haviour, it should be made clear to him/her how he/she is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy and efforts should be made to try to get him/her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied;
•  It must also be made clear to all involved (each set of pupils and parent(s)/guardian(s)) that in any situation where disciplinary sanctions are required, this is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, his or her parent(s)/guardian(s) and the school;

Follow up and recording

• In determining whether a bullying case has been adequately and appropriately addressed the relevant teacher must, as part of his/her professional judgement, take the following factors into account:
- Whether the bullying behaviour has ceased;
- Whether any issues between the parties have been resolved as far as is practicable;
-Whether the relationships between the parties have been restored as far as is practicable;
-Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parent(s)/guardian(s)s or the school Principal or Deputy Principal
•  Follow-up meetings with the relevant parties involved should be arranged separately with a view to possibly bringing them together at a later date if the pupil who has been bullied is ready and agreeable.
• Where a parent(s)/guardian(s) is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parent(s)/guardian(s) must be referred, as appropriate, to the school’s complaints procedures.
• In the event that a parent(s)/guardian(s) has exhausted the school's complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school must advise the parent(s)/guardian(s) of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.

Recording of bullying behaviour

It is imperative that all recording of bullying incidents must be done in an objective and factual manner.

The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour are as follows:

      Informal pre-determination that bullying has occurred
• All staff must keep a written record of any incidents witnessed by them or notified to them. Incidents occurring in the school yard will be recorded in a Yard Incident Book. All incidents must be reported to the relevant teacher.
• While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher, the relevant teacher must keep a written record of the reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same
• The relevant teacher must inform the principal of all incidents being investigated.

      Formal Stage 1-determination that bullying has occurred
• If it is established by the relevant teacher that bullying has occurred, the relevant teacher must keep appropriate written records which will assist his/her efforts to resolve the issues and restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved.
• Written records/notes will be retained in a file which will be passed on from year to year with the class.

        Formal Stage 2-Appendix 3 (From DES Procedures)
The relevant teacher must use the recording template at Appendix B to record the bullying be-haviour in the following circumstances:

a) in cases where he/she considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behav-iour occurred; and
b) Where, in the professional judgement of the relevant teacher, the incident is of such seriousness that immediate action is warranted.

More serious behaviours must be recorded and reported immediately to the principal. These are in line with the school’s Code of Behaviour.

When the recording template is used, it must be retained by the relevant teacher in question and a copy maintained by the principal. All documentation regarding bullying incidents & their resolution  is retained securely  in the school until the children involved reach 21 years of age (9 years after the pupil leaves 6th Class).

Established intervention strategies
• Teacher interviews with all pupils
• Negotiating agreements between pupils and following these up by monitoring progress. This can be on an informal basis or implemented through a more structured mediation process
• Working with parent(s)/guardian(s)s to support school interventions
• Circle Time
• Implementing sociogram questionnaires

7. The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:

• All in-school supports and opportunities will be provided for the pupils affected by bullying to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem, to develop friendships and social skills and build resilience e.g.  
        - Buddy / Peer mentoring system
        - Share & Solve
                       - Group work such as Circle Time
                       - Social Skills (individual & group work)
                        -Staged approach- class support, school support
                          (as per Continuum of Support - Behavioural, Emotional & Social Difficulties- NEPS)

• Helping pupils to raise their self-esteem by encouraging them to become involved in activities that help develop friendships and social skills ( e.g. participation in group work in class and in extra- curricular group or team activities during or after school)

• If pupils require counselling or further supports the school will endeavour to liaise with the appropriate agencies to organise same. This may be for the pupil affected by bullying or in-volved in the bullying behaviour. (NEPS; CAMHS)
• Making it clear to pupils engaged in bullying behaviour that they can reform and get a clean sheet.
• Pupils should understand that there are no innocent bystanders and that all incidents of bul-lying behaviour must be reported to a teacher.

8. 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.

• Appropriate supervision of the yard is provided during breaks (minimum 2 adults)
• Pupils are accompanied to & from the school yard in the morning & for all breaks. Pupils are also ac-companied to the school gates at dispersal time.
• A range of strategies is used to develop positive behaviours at break-times (Playground Pals/Buddy system; use of co-operative games; use of PE equipment etc.)
• The school yard has different areas to cater for a range of ages & activities (Top Yard; Senior/Junior Yard; Tarmac; Grass areas etc.)
• The school bus is visited regularly by the Principal who liaises with the driver & inspector about be-haviour etc. These issues are discussed regularly with the bus-going pupils. All pupils are made aware that the same standards of behaviour that apply in school are also expected on the way to & from school.  
• Internet usage procedures are addressed in accordance with the school’s Acceptable Use Policy
o All Internet sessions are supervised by a teacher
o The school regularly monitors pupils’ Internet usage

(Note that the Schools Broadband Programme has blocked all social networking sites & other inappropriate material on the basis that they waste time and take up too much of the bandwidth which is been provided for educational purposes only).

9. 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.

10. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on 25/3/2014 [date].

11. This policy has been made available to all school personnel, published on the school website & is readily accessible to parents and pupils on request. It has been provided to the Parents’ Association. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.

12. 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, published on the school website, will be readily accessible to parents and pupils on request 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.

Signed: Fr T. Toner                                                                            Signed: B. Mullins
             (Chairperson of Board of Management)                                        (Principal)

Date: 25/3/2014                                                                                     Date: 25/3/2014

Date of next review: 2014-15


Types of bullying
The following are some of the types of bullying behaviour that can occur amongst pupils:
o Physical aggression: This behaviour includes pushing, shoving, punching, kicking, poking and tripping people. It may also take the form of severe physical assault. While pupils often engage in ‘mess fights’, they can sometimes be used as a disguise for physical harassment or inflicting pain.
o Intimidation: Some bullying behaviour takes the form of intimidation: it may be based on the use of very aggressive body language with the voice being used as a weapon. Particularly upsetting can be a facial expression which conveys aggression and/or dislike.
o Isolation/exclusion and other relational bullying: This occurs where a certain person is deliberately isolated, excluded or ignored by some or all of the class group. This practice is usually initiated by the person engaged in bullying behaviour and can be difficult to detect. It may be accompanied by writing insulting remarks about the pupil in public places, by passing around notes about or drawings of the pupil or by whispering insults about them loud enough to be heard. Relational bullying occurs when a person’s attempts to socialise and form relationships with peers are repeatedly rejected or undermined. One of the most common forms includes control: "Do this or I won’t be your friend anymore"(implied or stated); a group ganging up against one person (girl or boy); non-verbal gesturing; malicious gossip; spreading rumours about a person or giving them the "silent treatment".

o Cyber-bullying: This type of bullying is increasingly common and is continuously evolving. It is bullying carried out through the use of information and communication technologies such as text, social network sites, e-mail, instant messaging (IM), apps, gaming sites, chat-rooms and other online technologies. Being the target of inappropriate or hurtful messages is the most common form of online bullying. As cyber-bullying uses technology to perpetrate bullying behaviour and does not require face to face contact, cyber-bullying can occur at any time (day or night). Many forms of bullying can be facilitated through cyber-bullying. For example, a target may be sent homophobic text messages or pictures may be posted with negative comments about a person’s sexuality, appearance etc.
o Name calling: Persistent name-calling directed at the same individual(s) which hurts, insults or humiliates should be regarded as a form of bullying behaviour. Often name-calling of this type refers to physical appearance, e.g., size or clothes worn. Accent or distinctive voice characteristics may attract negative attention. Academic ability can also provoke name calling. This tends to operate at two extremes. There are those who are singled out for attention because they are perceived to be weak academically. At the other extreme there are those who, because they are perceived as high achievers, are also targeted.
o Damage to property: Personal property can be the focus of attention for bullying behaviour. This may result in damage to clothing, mobile phone or other devices, school books and other learning material or interference with a pupil’s locker or bicycle. The contents of school bags and pencil cases may be scattered on the floor. Items of personal property may be defaced, broken, stolen or hidden.
o Extortion: Demands for money may be made, often accompanied by threats (sometimes carried out in the event of the targeted pupil not delivering on the demand). A pupil may also be forced into theft of property for delivery to another who is engaged in bullying behaviour.

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