Anti Bullying Policy - St Patricks BNS

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Anti Bullying Policy

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St. Patrick’s B.N.S.
Anti-Bullying Policy

1. Adoption of Policy
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 St Patrick’s Boys’ 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 by the Department of Education in September 2013.  

2. Key Principles

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 certain key principles of best practice in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour:
(a)   A positive school culture and climate which
• openly acknowledges 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
(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. Definition
What is bullying?
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 deliberately 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.  Other examples of bullying are included as Appendix 1.
However, in the context of this policy, both a once-off identity-based remark or 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.
4. Role of School Personnel
The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying in St Patrick’s Boys’ National School are class teachers, support teachers, deputy principal and principal. Any teacher may act as a relevant teacher if circumstances warrant it.
5. Education and Prevention Strategies
The education and prevention strategies that will be used by our school are as follows:
• A school-wide approach to the fostering of respect for all members of the school community.
• Teachers create and foster a safe and caring classroom environment where the rules, rights and responsibilities of all are equally respected.
• 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 are provided with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self-worth through formal and informal interactions.
• School wide awareness raising and training on all aspects of bullying, including pupils, parent(s)/guardian(s) and the wider school community.
• Supervision and monitoring of classrooms, corridors, school grounds, school tours and extra-curricular activities.  At 2:30p.m. pupils are to be walked to their appropriate exit from the school.
• Non-teaching and ancillary staff are encouraged to be vigilant and report issues to relevant teachers.
• Supervision also applies to monitoring pupils’ use of communication technology within the school.
• Involvement of the students in contributing to a safe school environment e.g. lunchtime pals, student council and other student support activities (e.g. annual talent show) that can help to support pupils and encourage a culture of peer respect and collaboration.
• The school’s Anti-Bullying Policy is discussed with pupils and all parent(s)/guardian(s) are given a copy as part of the Code of Behaviour of the school upon entry. This policy will also be available on the school website.
• Ensuring that pupils know who to tell and how to tell, e.g.:
 direct approach to the class teacher/principal/other teacher
 hand note in with homework
 get a parent(s)/guardian(s) or friend to tell on your behalf
 ensure bystanders understand the importance of ‘telling’ if they witness or know that bullying is taking place
• The implementation of an Acceptable use Policy in the school to include the necessary steps to ensure that the access to technology within the school is strictly monitored.
• 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 to be 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).
• Each school year, for each class group, the class teacher pro-actively explains 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.
Implementation of curricula
• The full implementation of the SPHE curriculum and the RSE and Stay Safe Programme will include specific lessons on bullying, self-identity, relationships, and personal safety.  Topics covered will include –
• What is bullying? Forms of bullying, Cyber bullying.  Why do people bully? Bystander bullies, Silent witnesses, Effects of bullying.  How does bullying make me feel?  What can we do? Preventing bullying, Coping with bullying etc.
• Explicit teaching of lessons on Cyber Bullying for pupils from Rang 3-Rang 6 (Stay Safe) and a guest speaker will be brought in annually to speck to pupils and parents.
• Zippy’s Friends programme is taught in Rang 1 each year.  Module 4 in this programme explores bullying and conflict resolution.
• Friends for Life Programme is taught in 4th class each year.
• The school will specifically consider 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.
• Pupils are to be taught mindfulness techniques.  School Completion Programme personnel to be utilised to implement programmes.
Teachers to implement Incredible Years strategies and Grow in Love R.E. programme.
• Amber Flag initiative for mental health and wellbeing.
• Stay Safe programme is implemented by the school every two years.  However, every other year, through the revision of the programme it is essential that specific identity-based lessons are taught.

In the daily life and routines of the school the ways in which people interact with each other significantly affect each person’s sense of self-worth, belonging and well-being. The fostering of good quality interpersonal relationships among teachers, students, parents and ancillary staff is a responsibility shared by everyone.  All members of the school community have a role to play in the prevention of bullying.
6. Links to other policies
Code of Behaviour, Child Protection policy, Acceptable Use Policy, Attendance, Health and Safety, Safeguarding Statement

7. 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 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.
Reporting bullying behaviour
• Any pupil or parent(s)/guardian(s) may bring a bullying incident to the attention of 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 secretary, special needs assistants (SNAs), caretaker and  cleaners must report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the teacher concerned.
Investigating and dealing with incidents:
(see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post Primary School)
In investigating and dealing with bullying, the teacher involved will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved.
• The teacher investigates all instances of reported or suspected bullying behaviour with a view to establishing the facts and bringing any such behaviour to an end.
• The teacher of the class of the child who is alleged to have engaged in bullying behaviour shall investigate the allegation unless the alleged perpetrator and the victim belong to different classes in which case both class teachers will investigate the complaint.  Teachers are best advised to take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of bullying behaviour reported by pupils, staff or parents/guardians.  Such incidents are best investigated outside the classroom situation to avoid public humiliation of the victim or the pupil engaged in the bullying behaviour, in an attempt to get both sides of the story.  All interviews should be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of the pupils concerned.  Pupils who are not directly involved can also provide very useful information.  In the case of suspected bullying behaviour the relevant teacher should keep a written record of their discussions with those involved and get such pupils to write down their account of the incident.
• The school’s Incident Report Form (See Appendix 1) should be used to record appropriate information.  When analysing incidents of suspected bullying behaviour one should seek answers to questions of what, who, when and why.  This should be done in a calm manner thus setting an example of dealing with conflict in a non-aggressive manner.
• All incidents being investigated will be reported to the Principal/Deputy Principal.
• If a group is involved, each member should be interviewed individually at first and then the group should be met as a whole.  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 the group should be helped to handle the possible pressures that often face them from the other members after interview by the teacher.
• If the relevant teacher/s determine that bullying behaviour has not occurred, the parties will be notified of the result of the investigation and the reasons for the decision.  If the parent/guardian is unhappy with that decision, they may appeal it in writing to the Board of Management within 10 school days of receiving the decision.
• If unacceptable (though non-bullying) behaviour has taken place it will be dealt with under the Code of Behaviour.
In cases where it has been determined that bullying behaviour has occurred the following steps will be taken,
Stage 1
In cases where it has been determined that bullying behaviour has occurred, the relevant teacher and Principal will meet separately with the parents/guardians of the two parties involved as appropriate.  The teacher will outline the results of the investigation and will explain the plan of action being taken to resolve the issues within the next 20 school days.  The school will give parents an opportunity of discussing ways in which they can reinforce or support the actions being taken by the school and the supports for their pupils.  It will be made clear to the perpetrator that he/she is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy and efforts will be made to try to get him/her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied.  A verbal warning will be given to the perpetrator to stop the offending behaviour.  This will be done in the presence of the perpetrator’s parent(s), Principal and investigating teacher.  The perpetrator will also be requested to apologise to the victim in the presence of the Principal and teacher and to give an assurance that the offending behaviour will stop.
Given the complexity of bullying behaviour no one intervention/support programme works in all situations.  Therefore, various approaches and intervention strategies may be used including referrals to outside agencies if deemed necessary.
Should the actions taken at this stage not resolve the issue, the staff will proceed to stage 2
When the 20 school day period has elapsed the relevant teacher will determine whether a bullying case has been adequately and appropriately addressed.  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) 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.
Stage 2
Should the above interventions fail and the bullying behaviour continues, a programme of appropriate sanctions may be implemented by the Principal in consultation with the parents and Board of Management.  These will aim to encourage positive behaviour and support the esteem of the child and may include a period of suspension during which there will be ongoing consultation with the parents to decide on appropriate action(s) to be taken in the best interests of the child.  The Chairperson/Principal will have the authority to enact an immediate suspension or in certain circumstances may issue a final Chairperson’s/Principal’s warning to the perpetrator, e.g. where an extended time has elapsed since the last incident.
The child who is the victim of bullying will also meet with the Principal and his/her parents.  The aim of such a meeting(s) will be to address emotional needs and devise strategies for the child to deal with what has happened.  This may involve reinforcing a programme being covered in class, or other support strategies.
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.
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) will 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 will 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 is done in an objective and factual manner. This school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour are as follows:
• All staff keep a written record of any incidents witnessed by them or notified to them. We use an Incident Report Form. (Appendix 2) This record will include details of the incident and the findings of the investigation.
• If it is determined that bullying has occurred, details of the strategy adopted and the outcome of the intervention, as well as any other relevant information will also be recorded and attached to the Incident Report Form.
• These records will be stored securely in a file by the investigating teacher initially and retained in the Pupil’s File.
Formal Stage Appendix 3 (From DES Procedures)
The relevant teacher must use the recording template known as Appendix 3 to record the bullying behaviour 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 behaviour occurred; and
b) when the bullying behaviour involves physical aggression or violence
When the recording template is completed, it must be retained by the relevant teacher in question and a copy maintained by the Principal.  Appendix 3 forms will be stored in Pupil File and retained.
The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
(see Section 6,8,16 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools):
It is recognised in our school that bullying affects the victim, the bully and the person who witnesses the bullying.
Support for the pupil who has been bullied
• Making all possible efforts to end the bullying behaviour
• Support in the form of a trusted adult to speak to daily for as long as this is deemed necessary
• Involvement of the pupil in self-esteem building exercises and opportunities to increase feelings of self-worth
• Helping the pupil/s to develop skills necessary to deal with a similar situation in the future i.e. teaching language skills for responding and seeking help
• Requesting adequate counselling facilities to pupils who need it in a timely manner
• 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).

Support for pupil/s deemed to be engaging in bullying behaviour
• Making it clear that bullying pupils who reform are not blamed or punished and get a ‘fresh start’.
• Making it clear that bullying pupils who reform are doing the right and honourable thing and giving them praise for this.
• Requesting adequate counselling facilities 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 behaviour in general, encouraging teachers and parents to focus on, challenge and correct the behaviour while supporting the child.
• Supervision and monitoring of pupil/s:
• -If pupils require counselling or further supports the school will endeavour to liaise with the appropriate agencies to organise same.
Support for the child who has witnessed bullying behaviour
-The child who has witnessed bullying behaviour will receive support from the teacher or other trusted adult to help him/her to process what he/she has witnessed.
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.  
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 members of the school community 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 27/03/2019 .

11. This policy has been made available to school personnel and is published on the school website which is accessible to parents and pupils.  A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department of Education and the Patron if requested.
12. This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year, using Appendix 4 of Circ 045/2013.  Written notification that the review has been completed will be made available to school personnel, published on the school website and made accessible to parents and pupils.  A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the Department of Education and the Patron.

Signed: Phil O’ Kelly    Signed: Dr. Joseph McCarthy
Phil O’ Kelly                 Dr. Joseph McCarthy
(Chairperson of Board of Management)                 (Principal)

Date: 27/03/2019                                               Date: 27/03/2019

Date of next review: 27/03/2020

Appendix 1: Examples of bullying behaviours (This is not an exhaustive list)

General  behaviours which apply to all types of bullying

• Harassment based on any of the nine grounds in the equality legislation e.g. sexual harassment, homophobic bullying, racist bullying etc.
• Physical aggression
• Damage to property
• Name calling
• Mocking
• 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
• Making inappropriate facial expressions
• Invasion of personal space
• A combination of any of the types listed.
 • Denigration: Spreading rumours, 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 is then posted online
• Outing: Posting or sharing confidential or compromising information 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 calls
• Abusive telephone/mobile phone calls
• Abusive text messages
• Abusive emails
• Abusive communication on social networks e.g. Facebook/ Twitter/You Tube 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 used in a derogatory manner
• Physical intimidation, attacks or threats

Race, nationality, ethnic background and membership of the Traveller  community
 • Discrimination, prejudice, comments or insults about colour, nationality, 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
• Speaking inappropriately about a person
• Spreading rumours
• Breaking confidence
• Talking loud enough in a derogatory way so that the victim can hear
•  Making inappropriate facial gestures
• 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

Appendix 2
Incident Report Form St. Patrick’s B.N.S.

Name of Pupil: ____________________ Class: _____   Class Teacher: ___________________
Staff Member Reporting: ____________________        Post Held: ______________________

Details of Incident
Location: _______________________________  Date: __________  Time: __________  
What happened in the incident?
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________
What was the presenting complaint/injury?
What action was taken/treatment given and by whom? (If pupil’s parents/guardians were contacted, give details)
Witnesses (if any):
Other person(s) to whom incident was reported:
Action taken to prevent recurrence (if applicable)
Signed: ____________________________________  (Person Reporting)
Principal’s Signature: ________________________
Date: _____________________________________     

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________  

Signed: __________________________________  Date: _____________________________

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