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Anti-bullying Policy

School Position on Bullying

The Scoil Maelruain Senior School community believes that each pupil has a right to an education free from fear and intimidation.

The school regards bullying as a serious infringement of individual rights and a serious threat to the self-esteem and self-confidence of targeted pupil(s).  Therefore it does not tolerate bullying of any kind.

Every report of bullying is treated seriously and dealt with, having due regard for the well being of the targeted pupil(s) and the perpetrator(s).

An ‘Anti-Bullying Team,’ made up of staff members, exists to cultivate an environment free from bullying.

The immediate priority, should a bullying incident occur, is ending the bullying, (thereby protecting the person(s) being targeted) and resolving the issues and restoring the relationships involved insofar as is practicable using a “Reform, not Blame” approach.

All pupils are expected to contribute to the creation and maintenance a safe environment in the school.  On becoming aware of any bullying situation, in or outside the school, involving members of the school community they should notify a trusted responsible adult.  Bullying behaviour is too serious not to report.

Pupils’ participation in school life in general is encouraged through existing school structures.  Awareness of bullying, and willingness to take action to prevent or stop it, is part of this participation.

Anti-Bullying Policy

  1. In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the code of behavior guidelines issued by the NEWB, the Board of Management of Scoil Maelruain Senior School has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the framework of the school’s overall code of behavior.  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 recognizes 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 behavior:
  • 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 behavior in a non-threatening environment; and

      -       promotes respectful relationships across the school community;

  • Effective leadership;
  • A school-wide approach;
  • A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact;
  • 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;
  • Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils;
  • Supports for staff;
  • Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behavior (including use of established intervention strategies); and
  • On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy
  1. In accordance with the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools bullying is defined as follows:

Bullying is unwanted negative behavior, 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 behavior 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 behavior, 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 behavior.

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 behavior.

Negative behaviour that does not meet this definition of bullying will be dealt with in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour.

This definition includes a wide range of behaviour, whether verbal or written, whether physical or social, whether targeting person or property, whether carried out directly or indirectly or through any electronic or other medium, which could harm a pupil or undermine her/his self-esteem or self-confidence.

Appendix 1 gives a list of specific examples of bullying behaviour.  This list is not exhaustive.

Additional information on different types of bullying is set out in Section 2 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.

  1. The “Relevant Teacher(s)” for investigating and dealing with bullying in this school is the class teacher.
  2. The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber-bullying and identity based bullying) used by the school are as follows:
  • The anti-bullying module of the SPHE programme as it applies during each school year.
  • Delivery of the Community Garda Programme on cyber bullying to fifth and sixth class each year.
  • Internet Safety talks delivered to fifth and sixth classes by outside agencies.
  • At least five awareness-raising exercises per school year for each class group from the “Awareness-Raising” strand of the Anti-Bullying Campaign,(Appendix 2) pro-actively explaining the nature and variety, causes, consequences and unacceptability of bullying.

-         Pupils are helped to examine the issue of bullying in a calm rational way, outside of the tense context of particular bullying incidents.  In the process they are made more aware of the nature of bullying and the various forms that it can take.

-         Pupils are made aware that the consequences of bullying behaviour are always bad for those who are targeted, even if this is not always obvious at the time.

-         Pupils are encouraged to recognise, reject and report bullying behaviour, either spontaneously or through questionnaires that are regularly used in the school.

Through presentations or other exercises, the school staff and parents/guardians are made aware of the nature of bullying and the signs that might indicate that a pupil is being bullied.  They are encouraged to be vigilant in watching out for signs of bullying and to report any suspicion of bullying they may have to the class teacher (in the case of staff members) or any staff member (in the case of parents/guardians).

Through regular reports in school newsletters, on school website and other communications as well as at meetings with parent/guardian groups parents/guardians are regularly informed of the activities of the school ‘Anti-Bullying Team’ and encouraged to support its work.

  • An annual friendship week.
  • Anti- Bullying posters and slogans displayed in halla.
  1. 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, (e.g. the six step approach available from the “Dealing with Incidents” section of the Anti-Bullying Campaign website) are as follows:
  • The ‘Relevant Teacher’ investigates all instances of reported or suspected bullying behaviour, whether these take place within the school or outside it, with a view to establishing the facts and bringing any such behaviour to an end.
  • The School, through the ‘Relevant Teacher’ reserves the right to ask any pupil to write an account of what happened, as part of an investigation.  This will be a standard procedure and does not necessarily imply that a pupil is guilty of misbehaviour.
  • Pupils who are alleged to have been involved in bullying behaviour are interviewed by the ‘Relevant Teacher’ to establish the nature and extent of the behaviour and any reasons for it.  In the event that they have been involved in bullying behaviour they are asked to sign a binding promise that they will treat all pupils fairly, equally and respectfully including the targeted pupil(s).
  • The ‘Relevant Teacher’ does not apportion blame but rather treats bullying behaviour as a “mistake” that can and must be remedied.  S/he emphasises that the intention is not to punish perpetrators but to talk to them, to explain how harmful and hurtful bullying is and to seek a promise that it will stop.  If that promise is forthcoming and is honoured there will be no penalty and that will be the end of the matter. Pupils who report bullying therefore are not getting others “in trouble” so much as enabling them to get out of trouble into which they may ultimately get if the bullying continued.
  • When an investigation is completed and/or a bullying situation is resolved the ‘Relevant Teacher’ will complete a report, to include the findings of the investigation, the strategy adopted and the outcome of the intervention, as well as any other relevant information.
  • If a pupil has signed such a promise but then chooses to break that promise and continue the bullying behaviour, this can then no longer be considered a “mistake.”  In this event parent(s)/guardian(s) will be informed and requested to countersign their daughter/son’s promise. Parents of the bullied child will be informed at this stage. Contracts will be stored in pupil’s file in classroom. Breach of this additional promise by further bullying behaviour is regarded as a very grave matter and a serious sanction may be imposed by the school authorities (See sanctions below). At this stage Appendix 3 will be completed and stored in the Principal’s Office along with contracts 1 and 2.
  • All documentation regarding bullying incidents and their resolution is retained securely in the school.
  • Sanctions:

Where a pupil has been found to be engaged in bullying behaviour, has formally promised to stop and has broken that promise, any of the following sanctions may be imposed:

-       Parent(s)/guardian(s) may be contacted by the Principal and informed of the nature and extent of the bullying behaviour with a view to agreeing a strategy to end the bullying behaviour.

-       The pupil may be kept in detention at all/some breaks for a specified period until the school feels that the behaviour has ceased or will not recur.

-       The parents may be invited to meet the class teacher, the principal and the chairperson to discuss the behaviour.

-       The Board of Management may exclude the pupils from the school premises at break and lunch times.

-       The Board of Management may arrange for the pupil to be escorted to and from the school premises.

-       Parent(s)/guardian(s) may be invited to a meeting with the Class Teacher and the Principal and the pupil may be suspended from school.

-       The case may be referred to the Board of Management and the pupil may be expelled from the school.

  • Where a parent is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parents must be referred, as appropriate, to the school’s complaints procedures.
  • In the event that a parent has exhausted the school’s complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school must advise the parents of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.
  1. The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
  • Bullied pupils:
      -     Ending the bullying behaviour,-     Changing the school culture to foster more respect for bullied pupils and all pupils,

      -     Changing the school culture to foster greater empathy  towards and support for bullied pupils,

      -     Indicating clearly that the bullying is not the fault of the targeted pupil through the awareness-raising programme,

      -     Indicating clearly that the bullying is not the fault of the targeted pupil through the speedy identification of those responsible and speedy resolution of bullying situations,

      -     Informing parents of available counseling facilities,

      -     Helping bullied pupils 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).

  • Bullying pupils:
      -     Making it clear that bullying pupils who reform are not blamed or punished and get a “clean sheet,”-     Making it clear that bullying pupils who reform are doing the right and honorable thing and giving them praise for this,

      -      Informing parents of available counseling facilities available to help those who need it learn other ways of meeting their needs besides violating the rights of others,

      -     Helping those who need to raise their self-esteem by encouraging them to become involved in activities that 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),

      -     Using learning strategies throughout the school and the curriculum to help enhance pupils’ feelings of self-worth,

      -     In dealing with negative behavior in general, encouraging teachers and parents to focus on, challenge and correct the behaviour while supporting the child,

      -     In dealing with bullying behaviour seeking resolution and offering a fresh start with a “clean sheet” and no blame in return for keeping a promise to reform.

    • Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils:
      1. The Board of Management confirms that the school will, in accordance with its obligations under equality legislation, take all such steps as 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.
      1. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on 07/04/2014
      2. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website and provided to the Parents’ Association.  A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department of Education and Skills and to the patron if requested.
    • 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.

      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 and provided to the Parents’ Association.  A record of the review and its outcome will be made available to the Department of Education and Skills and to the patron if requested.

      Signed: Frank Moran                                                         Caitriona Hogan                   (Chairperson of Board of Management)                     (Principal)

      Date: 07/04/2014                                                     Date: 07/04/2014

      Date of next review: April 2015


Appendix 1

Bullying can take a number of forms. These may include any of the following (this list is not exhaustive):
• Repeated aggressive behaviour/attitude/body language, for example:

    • Shouting and uncontrolled anger,
    • Personal insults,
    • Verbal abuse,
    • Offensive language directed at an individual,
    • Continually shouting or dismissing others,
    • Public verbal attacks/criticism,
    • Domineering behaviour,
    • Open aggression,
    • Offensive gestures and unwanted physical contact.

• Intimidation, either physical, psychological or emotional, for example:

    • Treating in a dictatorial manner,
    • Ridicule,
    • Persistent slagging,
    • Deliberate staring with the intent to discomfort.
    • Persistent rudeness in behaviour and attitude toward a particular individual.
    • Asking inappropriate questions/making inappropriate comments re. personal life/family
    • Asking inappropriate questions/making inappropriate comments re. social life or schoolwork.

• Interference with property, for example:

    • Stealing/damaging books or equipment
    • Stealing/damaging clothing or other property
    • Demanding money with menaces
    • Persistently moving, hiding or interfering with property
    • Marking/defacing property

• Undermining/Public or Private Humiliation, for example:

    • Condescending tone,
    • Deliberately withholding significant information and resources,
    • Writing of anonymous notes,
    • Malicious, disparaging or demeaning comments,
    • Malicious tricks/derogatory jokes,
    • Knowingly spreading rumours,
    • Belittling others’ efforts, their enthusiasm or their new ideas,
    • Derogatory or offensive nicknames (name-calling),
    • Using electronic or other media for any of the above (cyber bullying),
    • Disrespectfully mimicking a particular individual in his/her absence,
    • Deliberately refusing to address issues focusing instead on the person.

• Ostracising or isolating, for example:

    • Deliberately marginalising an individual
    • Deliberately preventing a person from joining a group,
    • Deliberately preventing from joining in an activity, schoolwork-related or recreational
    • Blaming a pupil for things s/he did not do.

Appendix 2

Primary School

An Outline of Primary Strand 1 – Tools for Raising Awareness

Explaining the Nature and Unacceptability of Bullying

Third Class (Age 9)

Exercise 0 7 . . . Early September

“Yes . . . That’s Bullying” – Video & Discussion

Exercise 02… Early October

“Types of Bullying” – Worksheet

Exercise 03. .. Early November

“Stand Up – Bullying Commercial” – Video & Workshei

Exercise 04 … Early December

“Snakes and Ladders” – Worksheet

Exercise 05. . February-March

Annual Drawing Competition — 2-3 Weeks

Exercise 06… April-May

Annual Slogan Competition – 2-3 Weeks

Fourth Class (Age 10)

Exercise 07 .. Early September

“Recognising Bullying” – Worksheet

Exercise 08.. Early October

“Strength in Numbers” – Video & Worksheet

Exercise 09… Early November

“Words Hurt – Don’t Be A Part Of It” – Video & Worksheets

Exercise 7 0 . . . Early December

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – Worksheets

Exercise n … February-March

Annual Drawing Competition – 2-3 Weeks

Exercise 12April-May

Annual Slogan Competition – 2-3 Weeks

Fifth Class (Age 11)

Exercise 13… Mid September

“Webisodes” from stopbullying.gov – Video & Worksheet

Exercise 14 … Mid October

“The Power of One Sample” – Video & Regular Class Survey

Exercise 15 .. Mid November

“Bully (Amazing Short Animation)” – Video & Worksheet

Exercise 16 Early December

“Supporting Difference” – Video 8 Worksheet

Exercise 17 . February-March

Annual Drawing Competition – 2-3 Weeks

Exercise 1 8 . . . April-May

Annual Slogan Competition - 2-3 Weeks

Sixth Class (Age 12)

Exercise 19 . . . Mid-September

“Antibullying PSA: The Price of Silence” Video & Worksheet

Exercise 20… Mid October

“Simon Says” Teacher Led Circle Time Exercise

Exercise 21 . . Mid November

“How to UnMake A Bully” Volume 1″ – Video & Discussion

Exercise 2 2 . . . Early December

“How to UnMake A Bully, Volume 2″ – Video & Discussion

Exercise 23… February-March

Annual Drawing Competition – 2-3 Weeks

Exerase 24.. April-May

On-Computer Poster Competition – 2-3 Weeks

Exercise 26 – PowerPoint Presentation on Bullying and Cyber-Bullying.

Exercise 27 – “Dear Parents” Short Video Presentation

Exercise 28 – Powerpoint explaining the Anti-Bullying Campaign Program


Appendix 3

1. Name of pupul being bullied and class group

Name _______________________ Class ______________

2. Names(s) and class(es) of pupil(s) engaged in bullying behaviour

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

3. Source of bullying concern/report (tick relevant box(es)) *

  • Pupil concerned
  • Other pupil
  • Parent
  • Teacher
  • Other

4. Location of incidents (tick relevant box(es)) *

  • Playground
  • Classroom
  • Corridor
  • Toilets
  • School Bus
  • Other

5. Name of person(s) who reported the bullying concern

______________________________________________

6. Type of Bullying Behaviour (tick relevant box(es)) *

  • Physical Aggression
  • Damage to Property
  • Isolation/Exclusion
  • Name Calling
  • Cyber-bullying
  • Intimidation
  • Malicious Gossip
  • Other (specify)

7. Where behaviour is regarded as identity-based bullying, indicate the relevant category;

  • Homophobic
  • Disability/SEN related
  • Racist
  • Membership of Traveller communitv
  • Other (specify)

8. Brief Description of bullying behaviour and its impact

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

9. Details of actions taken

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

Signed ____________________________ (Relevant Teacher) Date _____________________

Date submitted to Principal/Deputy Principal ________________________

* Note: The categories listed in the tables 3,4 & 6 are suggested and schools may add to or amend these to suit their own circumstances.


Appendix 4

Checklist for annual review of the anti-bullying policy and its
implementation

The Board of Management (the Board) must undertake an annual review of the school’s anti-bullying policy and its implementation. The following checklist must be used for this purpose. The checklist is an aid to conducting this review and is not intended as an exhaustive list. In order to complete the checklist, an examination and review involving both quantitative and qualitative analysis, as appropriate across the various elements of the implementation of the school’s anti-bullying policy will be required.

  • Has the Board formally adopted an anti-bullying policy that fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary- Schools’!
  • Has the Board published the policy on the school website and provided a copy to the parents’ association
  • Has the Board ensured that the policy has been made available to school staff (including new staff}?
  • Is the Board satisfied that school staff are sufficiently familiar with the policy and procedures to enable them to effectively and consistently apply the policy and procedures in their day to day work?
  • Has the Board ensured that the policy has been adequately communicated to all pupils?
  • Has the policy documented the prevention and education strategies that the school applies?
  • Have all of the prevention and education strategies been implemented?
  • Has the effectiveness of the prevention and education strategies that have been implemented been examined?
  • Is the Board satisfied that all teachers are recording and dealing with incidents in accordance with the policy?
  • Has the Board received and minuted the periodic summary reports of the Principal
  • Has the Board discussed how well the school is handling all reports of bullying including those addressed at an early stage and not therefore included in the Principal’s periodic report to the Board
  • Has the Board received any complaints from parents regarding the school’s handling of bullying incidents?
  • Have any parents withdrawn their child from the school citing dissatisfaction with the school’s handling of a bullying situation?
  • Have any Ombudsman for Children investigations into the school’s handling of a bullying case been initiated or completed?
  • Has the data available from cases reported to the Principal (by the bullying recording template) been analysed to identify any issues, trends or patterns in bullying behaviour?
  • Has the Board identified any aspects of the school’s policy and/or its implementation that require further improvement?
  • Has the Board put in place an action plan to address any areas for improvement?

Signed _______________________ Date _________________

Chairperson, Board of Management

Signed _______________________ Date _________________

Principal

Notification Regarding the Board of Management’s Annual Review of the Anti – Bullying Policy

The Board of Management of Scoil Maelruain Senior wishes to inform you that:

· The Board of Management’s annual review of the school’s anti-bullying policy and its implementation was completed at the Board of Management meeting of December 14th 2015

· This review was conducted in accordance with the checklist set out in Appendix 4 of the Department’s anti-bullying procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.

Frank Moran

Chairperson .

Caitriona Hogan,

Principal.