Policy against Bullying
The school aims to provide an environment that is caring and respectful, promoting personal growth and positive self esteem. We believe all have the right to grow and work without destructive harassment.
Consequently we do not tolerate bullying in any form.
What is bullying?
Repeated aggression causing embarrassment, pain or discomfort to another. Isolated incidents of aggressive behaviour would not be described as bullying. However when the behaviour is systematic and ongoing it is bullying.
· It can take a number of forms: physical, verbal gesture, extortion and exclusion.
· It is an abuse of power.
· It can be planned and organised or it may be unconscious.
· Individuals or group may be involved.
Types of Bullying include:
1. Name calling, regarded as a most serious type. Using offensive names, teasing or spreading rumours about others. When it is persistent, directed at the same individual(s) in an effort to hurt / insult, or humiliate, them it is a serious bullying tactic. Examples include ‘Big Ears, Dummies, Doper, Swats, Licks, Brain Boxes’ etc. These are put downs, belittling others abilities and achievements.
2. Isolation: Hurtful excluding others from group. This form of bullying seems to be more prevalent among girls. A certain person is deliberately isolated, excluded or ignored by some or all of the class. It may be accompanied by writing insulting remarks about the victim on the blackboard, by note passing, or by whispering insults about them loud enough to be heard.
3. Slagging: Often quite harmless, part of the normal social interchange between people. However, when it extends to personal remarks, aimed again and again at the other individual about appearances, clothing, and personal hygiene or references to members of family then it is a form of bullying. Suggestive remarks about pupil’s sexual orientation can also be classified as bullying.
4. Any form of physical aggression, hitting, pushing, shoving, punching, kicking, poking, tripping or spitting at others.
5. Intimidation: It is based on the use of very aggressive body language with the voice being used as a weapon. Particularly upsetting to victim, can be the so called ‘look’ a facial expressions which conveys aggression / dislike / or contempt. Humiliation directly of indirectly, someone who is vulnerable.
6. Extortion: Demands for money may be made often accompanied by threats. Victims forced to bring ‘protection’ money to school and knowing that without this, physical punishment or verbal abuse may be inflicted. Having to provide crisps, sweets and other items for the bully in return for being left alone.
7. Damage to personal property: interfering with another’s property by stealing, hiding, damaging or destroying it. This is often the focus of attention for the bully. It may result in damage of clothing, school books and other learning material. The contents of school bags and pencil cases may be scattered on the floor.
Indication of Bullying Behaviour.
· Being physically injured, unexplained bruising or cuts, having broken teeth, damaged clothing, requiring medical attention.
· Dreading attending school each day, refusing to go.
· Feeling sick tummy pains, headaches and constantly holding back tears.
· Visible signs of anxiety or distress: stammering, withdrawing, nightmares, difficulty in sleeping, not eating, vomiting or bed wetting. Having night mares which involve images of helplessness of being unable to escape.
· Anxiety about travelling to and from school.
· Requesting parents to drive or collect them
· Changing route of travel etc.
· Fear of going out to the yard.
· Deterioration in academic achievement / performance, loosing concentration, enthusiasm and interest in school
· Possessions, money, sweets or food to placate the bully.
· Losing trust in parents / friends or in their ability to support him – hence refusing to say what is troubling him / her.
· Feeling inadequate, losing confidence and lacking self esteem, becoming isolated in the classroom.
· Lying to parents and trying to bully smaller children.
These signs do not necessarily mean that a pupils being bullied. They can also be indicative of other problems. If repeated, or occurring in combination, those signs do warrant investigation order to establish what is affecting the pupil.
Dealing with Bullying Behaviour:
Bullying thrives in an environment of fear and secrecy. To prevent Bullying we must Not allow cases to go unreported.
The School recommends that students:
Refuse to be involved in a bulling situation. If, however, they are present when bullying occurs:
(a) If appropriate, take some form of preventative action. Be assertive; confront the bully stating that the behaviour is unwarranted and unjustified.
(b) Report the incident of suspected incident and help breakdown the code of secrecy.
If students who are being bullied have the courage to speak out they may help reduce pan for themselves and other potential victims.
The school recommends that parents:
· Watch for signs of distress in their children e.g. unwillingness to attend school, pattern of headaches, loosing equipment, wanting extra money, damaged clothing or bruising.
· Advise their children to tell the teacher about the incident.
· With the consent of the child, inform the school if bullying is suspected.
· Keep a written record (who, what, when, where, why, how)
· Teach your child to say ‘No’ in a good assertive tone. A child’s self image and body language may send out messages to potential bullies.
· Take an active interest in their children’s social life and acquaintances.
· Children should be encouraged to talk about bullying and given an opportunity to express their concerns. Parents should always be ready to listen.
· Be willing to attend interviews at the school if their child is involved in any bullying incident.
When the staff, students and parents work together, we can create a safe, caring environment.
School Policy: Procedure when bullying is reported.
· Incident of bullying should be reported to the class teacher, the teacher on yard duty at the time, or the Principal. Hence children will be assured that their report of bulling will be treated with sensitivity.
· Repeated incidents of bullying behaviour will be noted by the class teacher / the teacher on yard duty.
· Incidents thoroughly investigated by the teacher – what, who, when, where, why will help here. Pupils not directly involved can provide very useful information will be expected to assist in the investigation.
· Serious incidents / persistent problems will be reported to the Principal.
· Parents of victim and alleged bully will be interviewed separately. The impact of the bullying and the hurt caused will be communicated to the bully. He / She will be asked to reflect on his / her behaviour and its consequences for the person who is the victim.
· Parents will be made aware to this behaviour and requested to come and discuss it with the teacher / principal with a view to resolving the problem.
· The situation will continue to be monitored to ensure that the problem has been resolved.
· If a gang is involved, they will be met individually and as a group. Each member will be asked for his / her account of what happened to ensure that everyone is clear about what everyone else has said. This account may be oral or written.
· Where cases remain unresolved at school level, the matter may be referred to the school’s Board of Management.
· If bullying continues we must consider the right of the other students to a safe learning environment, hence it may not be possible to retain the bully in the school. Parents will be informed and may be asked for permission to refer to a psychologist. The victim may receive counselling and support to help him / her come to terms with it.
What if your child is a bully?
1. Don’t panic. This may be a temporary response to something else in the child’s life, e.g. a new baby, death I the family, a difficult home problem, etc. Give your child an opportunity to talk about anything that could be upsetting him / her.
2. Don’t punish bullying by being a bully yourself. Hitting and verbal attack will make the situation worse. Talk to your child and try to find out if there is a problem. Explain how the victim felt. Try to get the child to understand the victim’s point of view. This would need to be done over time.
3. Bullies often suffer from poor self-esteem. Use every opportunity you can to praise good, considerate, helpful behaviour. Don’t only look for negatives.
The elimination of bullying will demand a whole-school approach and may involve increasing awareness through, talks ,drama, posters, assemblies, religious periods R.S.E. etc.
The elimination of bullying is the responsibility of everyone. Research suggests that vigorous concerted, sustained and co-operative implementation of policies to combat bullying in schools is effective in significantly reducing school bullying. Unfortunately research also concludes that without concerted intervention, children will continue their reign of terror against them.
We must all respond to their needs. Together we can create a safe, respectful environment.