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nobullying 

Anti–Bullying Policy for Corpus Christi GNS.
 

Introduction

 

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 Corpus Christi Girls’ 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 that were published in September 2013. It applies to the whole school community, in the relationships between all the stakeholders, pupils, staff, Board of Management and parents.

At Corpus Christi G.N.S. we are committed to providing a caring, safe and friendly environment for all our pupils. Our mission statement explains that

 “Corpus Christi is a Catholic primary school where we strive to learn together in a happy and safe environment and where everyone is valued, respected and encouraged to do their best’

Bullying of any kind is unacceptable at our school and the school actively promotes an anti -bullying environment. We are a ‘telling school’ which means that pupils are encouraged to tell if they experience or witness bullying.

The Board recognises the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact that it can have on the lives of pupils. It is therefore committed to the following key principles of best practice in preventing and tackling bullying.

(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
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, respectand resilience in pupils

Explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying including homophobic and transphobic bullying

Effectively supervise and monitor pupils

Support the staff

 Consistently record, investigate and follow up bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies)

Evaluate of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy on an on-going basis.

 

Definition of bullying

In accordance with the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools bullying is defined in the following way.

“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
 ·  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. Further information on types of bullying and signs of bullying are included in appendix two.

In Corpus Christi school, it will normally be the class teacher that deals with any allegations of bullying. However, on occasion it may be the teacher on yard duty, a teacher in charge of a class or any other teacher if circumstances warrant it.

 

Education and Prevention Strategies

 

In Corpus Christi GNS, pupils are actively encouraged to affirm, include and support one another. The following education and prevention strategies, based on positive motivation, are used in the school.

School-wide approach

  • ·         The fostering of respect for all members of the school community.
  • ·         Direct teaching around the areas of stereotyping, and highlighting the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.
     ·  Fostering and enhancing  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 awareness of what bullying is, how it impacts on pupils’ lives, the need to respond to it and how to deal with it.
    ·  School wide awareness raising and training on all aspects of bullying, to include pupils, parents/guardians 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  student support in contributing to a safe school environment e.g.  We are a “telling school”
    · Development and promotion of an Anti-Bullying code for the school.
    ·  Discussion of the policy with pupils. Ensuring that  all parents/guardianss are given a copy as part of the Code of Behaviour of the school and publsihing it on the school website. 
    ·  Encouraging a culture of telling, with particular emphasis on the importance of bystanders. In this way, pupils will gain confidence in ‘telling’. It will 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    Making a direct approach to teacher at an appropriate time.

o    Handing up a note with homework.

o    Using a feelings box

o    Getting a parent/guardian or friend to tell on child’s behalf.

·         Identifying clear protocols to encourage parents/guardians to approach the school, if they suspect that their child is being bullied.

·         Ensuring bystanders understand the importance of telling if they witness or know that bullying is taking place.

·         Using 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, as is the pupils’ use of mobile phones.

Implementation of curricula
· The full implementation of the SPHE curricula, the RSE and Stay Safe Programmes and continuous Professional Development for staff in delivering these programmes.
· School wide delivery of lessons on bullying from evidence based programmes, e.g. Alive –O programme, the Stay Safe Programme and  The Walk Tall Programme, 
·  Delivery of the Garda SPHE Programmes at primary  level. These lessons, delivered by Community Gardai, cover issues around personal safety and cyber-bullying.
·  Listing school policies, practices and activities that are particularly relevant to bullying, e.g. Code of Behaviour, Child Protection policy, Supervision of pupils and Acceptable Use policy.

Reporting Bullying

Corpus Christi is a “telling school” and pupils are encouraged to report all incidents of bullying. Any pupil, parent/guardian may bring a bullying incident to the relevant teacher.

Mindful of the definition as outlined, all investigations will be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all the children involved. Teachers will take a calm, unemotional, problem solving approach when dealing with all reports of bullying behaviour. It is critically important  that nobody is criminalised and accused of bullying without a fair investigation.  All reported incidents will be investigated discretely.

Investigating and Dealing with bullying 
The main aim in investigating and dealing with bullying is to resolve any issues and to restore as far as is practicable, the relationship of the parties involved rather than to apportion blame. Every effort will be made to ensure that all those involved understand this from the outset.
· The relevant teacher will investigate all reports or instances of alleged bullying.
· When investigating and analysing any allegations, the teacher will clarify with the pupils what happened, who was involved, why, where and when the incident occurred. If necessary, the teacher may ask those involved to write down their accounts of what happened. The teacher may also seek advice from the principal or deputy principal if necessary.
·  If a group is involved, the members of the group will be interviewed individually at first and may afterwards meet as a group to clarify accounts, if this is considered appropriate.
·  In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, the parents/guardians of the parties involved will be contacted at an early stage to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken.
·  If the teacher determines that a pupil has been engaged in bullying, it will be made clear to her that she is in breach of the policy and efforts will be made to get her to see the situation from the perspective of the child being bullied. A commitment will be sought from the pupil and if necessary that the bullying will stop. It may be necessary to ask the pupil to sign a promise that they will not engage in such behaviour again.
· In any situation where other disciplinary sanctions are required, this will be a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, her parent(s)/guardian(s) and the school. 
Isolated incidents of aggression will be dealt with under the school code of behaviour.

Follow Up

 
If the teacher considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying has occurred, it will then be recorded on the template in appendix 1. The teacher will use his/her professional judgment for this decision taking the following into account
·  Whether the bullying has stopped.
·  Whether any issues between the parties have been resolved as far as practicable
·  Whether the relationships between the parties have been restored as far as practicable
·  Any feedback from the children, their parents, the school Principal or Deputy Principal.

If a parent is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, they will be referred to the school’s complaints procedure.

In the event that a parent/guardian has exhausted the school complaints procedure and is still not satisfied, the school will advise the parent of their right to make a complaint to the ombudsman for children.

Noting and recording of Bullying

 

It is imperative that all recording of bullying incidents is done in an objective and factual manner.  The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour are as follows:

 

1. Informal- pre-determination that bullying has occurred

 

All staff will keep a written record of any incidents witnessed by them or notified to them.

Teaching and non-teaching staff (such as the school secretary, SNA’s, caretaker, or cleaners) must report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher.
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 school Principal of all incidents being investigated.

2. 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. All records will be retained in a central location by the school Principal. Details will be passed onto the child’s teacher the following year.

 

The relevant teacher must use the recording template at appendix one, 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 she has determined that bullying behaviour occurred

b)       Where cases of cyber bullying are reported, these will be recorded.  It is school policy to inform the Gardaί in cases where we are made aware of Cyber Bullying. 

When the recording template is used, it will be retained by the Principal. Records will be kept securely until the child has reached twenty one years of age. Any false accusation of bullying will be treated as an extremely serious issue.

Support for those affected by bullying

 

The school will aim to support those affected by bullying through the use of the following established strategies
·         Discussion with pupil and monitoring by relevant teacher
·         Circle time/group work
·         Working with the parents to support school interventions
·         Negotiating agreement between the parties involved
·         Liaising with appropriate outside agencies if this is considered necessary
·         Additional opportunities to enhance self esteem
·         Cooperative games and team building
·         Restorative Interviews
Pupils must understand that any incidents of bullying that they witness, must be reported and that there are no innocent bystanders.

Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils

 

The Board of Management confirms that appropriate supervision and monitoring is in place to both prevent and to deal with bullying behaviour and to facilitate early intervention where possible.

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 and staff on any of the nine grounds specified i.e. gender, marital status, family status, age, disability, race, sexual orientation, Religious belief and membership of the Traveller Community.

Ratification and Dissemination of Policy

This policy was ratified by the Board of Management in November 2014.

The policy will be made available to school personnel, published on the school website and a copy provided to the Parents’ Association. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the Patron, if requested.

The Board of Management will review this policy and its implementation once every school year, generally around springtime. 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, if requested, to the Patron and to the Department.

Appendix One

 

1. Name: _______________________                            Class : _______________________

 

2. Name(s) and class(es) of pupils engaged in bullying

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

3. Source of bullying concern/report                                           4. Location of incident

  (Tick as appropriate)                                                     (Tick as appropriate)

 

Pupil concerned                                                                               Playground    

Other pupil                                                                                        Classroom          

  1.  
  2.  
  3.                                

 

 

5. Name of person reporting bullying: _______________________________________

 

6. Type of Bullying Behaviour (tick relevant boxes)

 

Physical Aggression

 

Cyber bullying

 

Damage to property

 

Intimidation

 

Isolation/exclusion

 

Malicious gossip

 

Name Calling

 

Other (specify)

 

 

7.Where behavior is regarded as identity based bullying, indicate the relevant category:

 

Disability/SEN related

Racist

Membership of traveller community

Homophobic

Other (specify)

         

 

8. Brief Description of bullying behaviour and its impact.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

9.Details of actions taken.

 

 

Signed: _______________________________               Date: _______________________________

 

Date submitted to Principal: _______________________________________________________

Appendix Two

 

Information about bullying

 

What is bullying?

Bullying can mean many different things. Bullying can take many forms, but its aim is always to make a person feel upset, intimidated or afraid and if this happens again and again it is bullying.

These are some ways children and young people have described bullying:

·                     being called names

·                     being teased

·                     being pushed or pulled about

·                     being hit or attacked

·                     having your bag and other possessions taken and thrown around

·                     having rumours spread about you

·                     being ignored and left out

·                     being forced to hand over money or possessions.


Children get bullied

·                     at school – in the playground, in class or in the toilets

·                     on their way to and from school

·                     on the bus

 

 

What does it feel like to be bullied?

Bullying hurts.  It makes you scared and upset.  It can make you feel embarrassed in front of others. It can make you feel that you are all alone and that you have no friends.  It can make you so worried that you can’t work well at school.  Some children have told us they have skipped school to get away from it.  It can make you feel that you are no good, that there is something wrong with you.  People who bully you can make you feel that it’s your fault but it is not your fault - it is their fault. (The label ‘bully’ for a bullying child is problematic.  The word ‘bully’ as a verb for the action is better, e.g. a child who bullies.)


Why do some people bully?

There are a lot of reasons why some people bully. They may see it as a way of being popular, or making themselves look tough and in charge.

Some bullies do it to get attention or to get something, or to make other people afraid of them.  Others might be jealous of the person they are bullying.  They may even be getting bullied themselves.

Some people who bully may not even understand how wrong their behaviour is or how it makes the person being bullied feel.


Why are some young people bullied?

Some young people are bullied for no particular reason, but sometimes it’s because they are different in some way – perhaps it’s the way they talk, their size, their looks, their name or just because they are very good at something.

Sometimes young people are bullied because the bullying person thinks they won’t stand up for themselves.

 

Some research…..

 

Boys were found to engage in three times as much bullying as girls.  Research found that the popular belief that children who bully feel insecure and anxious inside is NOT true.  In fact, children who bully have a low level of anxiety.  The typical child who bullies has ‘an aggressive personality pattern’ combined, at least in boys, with physical strength. 

The factors which were found to help create an aggressive personality problem were: negative emotional attitudes of the primary caretaker characterized by lack of warmth, permissiveness by the primary caretaker for the child’s aggressive behaviour, use of ‘power-assertive’ child rearing methods such as physical punishment and the child’s temperament. (If this document is for pupils as well as teachers I'd simplify the language in this paragraph completely).


If you’re being bullied what can you do?

Always remember – It’s not your fault!  It’s the bullying person who has the problem, not you. Don’t put up with bullying. Ask for help.

·                     Believe in yourself.  Don’t believe what the bullying person says of you.  You know that’s not true.

·                     Say ‘no’ emphatically, then walk away

·                     Check out your body language.  Practise walking with confidence, standing straight with head held high and taking deep breaths.

·                     Practice assertiveness.  Stand tall, look the bully in the eye, breathe steadily, speak calmly and firmly.  This can help you to feel stronger, and also makes you look more confident.

·                     Don’t suffer in silence – talk to someone you trust. It always helps to share a problem and to know that you are not alone.  In schools and clubs, adults in charge have to pay attention to any complaints you make about being bullied.

·                     If an adult is bullying you, then look for help from another adult you can trust.  You have rights, and you must insist on them.  There are rules and procedures to deal with adults who bully at home, in school, in sport clubs and where people work. If you are too nervous, take along a friend.

·                     Choose when to resist.  Sometimes the only sensible thing to do is to give in.  Just get away and tell someone.

·                     Try not to use violence.  It never solves anything, and usually just makes the situation worse.

·                     Keep a diary.  Keep a record of details – who, where, when, how – as this will make it easier for you when you tell your story.

·                     Have an answer ready.  Well chosen words can often make a bullying person look foolish, and that’s the last thing they want!

·                     Try not to show you are upset or angry (even if you are).  Reacting to the bullying person is only giving them what they want.

·                     If there’s a gang involved try to approach each person on their own, rather than when they’re together.  If you talk straight to them, you’ll probably find that they’re not so confident without the protection of the group.

·                     Ask your friends to support you. People who bully don’t like being outnumbered or isolated.

·                     Try to make new friends if the ones you have at the moment seem to enjoy trying to make you feel bad.

·                     Change your routine.  Try to avoid being on your own in places where you are likely to be picked on.

 

Do you bully others?

 

·                     Have you ever hurt someone on purpose?

·                     Have you ever used your size or strength to win against someone weaker?

·                     Do you repeat rumours, even if you’re not sure they’re true?

·                     Have you ever tried to turn your friends against someone?

·                     Have you ever watched others bullying someone without doing anything to stop it?

·                     Have you ever used the excuse ‘I was only messing’ when you knew you weren’t ‘only messing’?

If answering these questions made you feel uneasy, maybe you should look at the way you treat other people.


Talking to someone always helps.

Choose a trusted friend or maybe one of the organisations listed in this booklet.

Remember that bullying is always wrongfeeling good shouldn’t mean having to make someone else feel bad.

 

Signs of bullying

 

As an adult, what are the signs I should look out for?

One of the most terrible effects of bullying is that the bullied child will very often deny that it’s happening.

It’s important that you don’t put even more pressure on a child who may be bullied.  Forcing someone to tell when they don’t want to can itself be a form of bullying.But there are certain signs to look out for if you have suspicions. 

 

These can include:

·         A change in behaviour, such as suffering a lack of concentration and/or becoming withdrawn, excessively clingy, depressed, fearful, emotionally up and down

·         Afraid and anxious when going to or coming from school

·         Happy at the weekend but not during the week.  A drop in performance in school.

·         Physical signs:  stomach aches, headaches, sleep difficulties, bedwetting, bruising

·         Bingeing on food

·         Unexplained bruises

·         School performance steadily getting worse

·         Being generally nervous, tense, unhappy

·         Not explaining suspicious incidents

·         Signs of being isolated from others of the same age

·         Signs of regular interference with personal property, books, etc.

·         Frequently asking for (or perhaps stealing) money.


Although these can also indicate problems other than bullying, it’s important that you don’t ignore them.  Try to encourage the child to talk about what’s going on, either to you or to another trusted adult.

How to approach the subject

·                     Broach the subject obliquely, giving the victim the option to talk about it or not

·                     Let them know that you are willing to listen at any time

·                     When they start to talk, listen carefully to what they have to say

·                     Once they begin to discuss the bullying, it may seem to be all they can talk about.  Be patient and let them go on – it’s better for them to let it all out than to bottle it up.

 

What to do next

·                     Don’t over-react – victims need rational advice and help, not emotional overload

·                     Believe the victim.  No one should have to put up with bullying.

·                     Ask victims if they have any suggestions about changing the situation

·                     Contact the school as soon as your satisfied that the allegation is well founded

·                     Seek advice from an individual or a support group with experience in this area.

 

What should I do if my child is being bullied?

·                     Discuss bullying openly and regularly with your children – don’t wait for them to raise the issue.

·                     Thank the child for disclosing the problem.  Confidence is the first casualty of bullying, so let your child know you believe them and will support them.  Tell them it’s not their fault.

·                     Listen carefully.  Don’t rush the story.  Show you are concerned and sympathetic.

·                     Get all the details – what, who, when, where, etc.

·                     Write down the details and check the information with your child.  This will be important for any meetings which may come later.

·                     Take action.  Don’t wait to see if it all blows over.

·                     Make appropriate changes that may help prevent your child being singled out and to build their confidence at the same time (e.g. new clothes, different hairstyle, etc.)

·                     Seek professional help if necessary (e.g. speech therapy, dental work, etc.)

·                     Bring your information to the relevant authority, and insist on getting an adequate response.


How do I approach the School?

·                     Make an appointment

·                     Speak to an appropriate teacher as soon as possible.

·                     Think about asking someone to accompany you for support.

·                     Don’t exaggerate.  Be honest and stick to the facts as you understand them.

·                     Use your notes to make sure you don’t forget to mention any important points.

·                     Recognise that you may be upset when you speak to the teacher.

·                     Accept that your child may not have told you all the facts, and that there may be another side to the story.

·                     Ask for a copy of the school’s policy on bullying.

·                     Find out what action the school intends to take.

·                     Arrange for a follow-up meeting with the teacher to measure any improvement in the situation.

·                     After the meeting, you may wish to make a note of what was agreed and send a copy to the teacher.

·                     If you are not happy with the teacher’s response, make an appointment to see the principal.

·                     If you still feel dissatisfied having talked to the principal, contact members of the Board of Management who are there to represent your interests.  Remember to keep copies of all letters you send and receive.

·                     If your child is happy to have you attend, you can request that all interviews with him or her on this issue are conducted in your presence.

·                     If the problem persists, then you should consider moving your child to another class or even another school if this is possible.

·                     You should consider carefully whether further aftercare is needed following a move to another class or school.

 

How can I tell if my child bullies others?

Here are some indicators of bullying behaviour:

·                     a tendency to bully family members

·                     being a victim of bullying

·                     regularly witnessing bullying behaviour in their environment

·                     being frequently short-tempered and/or aggressive

·                     having past experiences which can still cause negative feelings

·                     bringing home items that you know weren’t bought

·                     speaking of others in a negative way, perhaps on the basis of their appearance or beliefs of social status

·                     showing an interest in violent behaviour

·                     showing little sensitivity towards others

·                     having low self esteem

·                     being the subject of previous complaints or suggestions of bullying behaviour


Although these can also indicate problems other than bullying, it’s important that you don’t ignore them.  Try to encourage the child to talk about what’s going on, either to you or another trusted adult.


Directory of Support Services

Anti-Bullying Centre                                                                            (01) 6082573

CAB – Campaign Against Bullying                                                 (01) 2887976

Childline Freephone                                                                             1800 666660

Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy                  (01) 2300061

The National Association for Parents Support (NAPS)                (0502) 20598

Parentline (Parents under Stress)                                                        (01) 8733500

Samaritans (Callsave)                                                                          1850 609090

Sticks and Stones Theatre Company                                                 (01) 2807065

Trinity College Dublin – Anti-Bullying Research Centre            (01) 6601011

Victim Support                                                                                       1800 661771


Some Useful Websites

Bullying @ school information – www.scre.ac.uk/bully

Bullying information on Bullying Child/Parents/Teachers www.lfcc.on.ca/bully

Bullying in schools www.ericeece.org/pubs/digests/1997/banks97

What Parents should know about Bullying – www.accesseric.org/resources/parent/bully

Anti-Bullying Campaign Tools for Teachers - www.antibullyingcampaign.ie


Appendix

ABC Bullying at School, the Anti-Bullying Research & Resource Centre

Trinity College, Dublin

You Can Beat Bullying - A Guide for Young People, Kidscape

The abc of Bullying, Marie Murray & Colm Keane, 1998 – Mercier Press

What do You know about Bullying, Pete Sanders, 2000 – Aladdin Books Ltd.

Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace, Lucy Costigan, 1998 – Columba Press

Bullying – don’t let them suffer in silence, Save the Children (Resource Pack)