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Emo National School Anti-Bullying Policy

1. In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the code of behaviour guidelines issued by the NEWB, the Board of Management of Emo National School  has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the framework of the school’s overall code of behaviour. This policy fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools which were published in September 2013.

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

    • A positive school culture and climate which-
      • is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity;
      • encourages pupils to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour in a non-threatening environment; and
      • promotes respectful relationships across the school community;
      • 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 behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies); and
        • On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.

3. Defining 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, 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.

 See a more comprehensive list attached ; Appendix 1

Isolated or once-off incidents of intentional negative behaviour, including a once-off offensive or hurtful text message or other private messaging, do not fall within the definition of bullying and should be dealt with, as appropriate, in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour.

However, in the context of this policy, placing a once-off offensive or hurtful public message, image or statement on a social network site or other public forum where that message, image or statement can be viewed and/or repeated by other people will be regarded as bullying behaviour. 

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

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

4. Investigation of Bullying

The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying is the

    • Class teacher (‘At primary level, the relevant teacher will normally be the class teacher.’ Procedures 6.8.3).
    • Principal/Deputy principal when and where necessary.

5. Education and Prevention Strategies

The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber- bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying) that will be used by the school are as follows (see Section 6.5 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools):

    • Each class teacher  will  implement the anti-bullying module of the SPHE programme as it applies during each school year,
    • Each class teacher will complete at least five awareness-raising exercises per school year for each class group (e.g. from the ‘Awareness-Raising’ strand of the Anti-Bullying Campaign, via its website. Junior infants to second class will use Zippy Friends ,Walk Tall and the Stay Safe programme for  similar lessons ), pro-actively explaining the nature and variety, causes, consequences and unacceptability of bullying. At least one of these awareness raising classes will deal explicitly with cyber bullying and teachers will complete these classes at the beginning of each term.
      • 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 ‘Relevant Teacher’ or any staff member (in the case of parents/guardians).

Through regular reports in school newsletters and other communications, as well as at meetings with parent/guardian groups, parents/guardians are regularly informed of the anti bullying activities ongoing in the school and are encouraged to support its work.

    • An annual anti-bullying/friendship day/week (if applicable),
    • Other prevention strategies ( We can add in strategies that teachers have found useful here)

6. Investigation ,follow up and recording of bullying behaviour .

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 (see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools) :

    • The ‘Relevant Teacher’ investigates all instances of reported or suspected bullying behaviour, that take place within the school , with a view to establishing the facts and bringing any such behaviour to an end.   The Principal will have discretion to notify the parents at any stage if deemed necessary .
    • 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). See Appendix 3
    • 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. The teacher will be able to point to the awareness raising lessons completed to illustrate the key messages again .  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 ( see Procedures for recording bullying behaviour below )  .
    • 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.  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).
    • All documentation regarding bullying incidents and their resolution is retained securely in the Principal’s office .

 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:

    • S/he may be required to sign another promise, this time countersigned by a parent/guardian;
    • Parent(s)/guardian(s) may be contacted by the ‘Relevant Teacher’ and informed of the nature and extent of the bullying behaviour with a view to agreeing a strategy whereby a promise to end the bullying behaviour would be honoured;
    • Parent(s)/guardian(s) may be invited to a meeting with the ‘Relevant 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 suspended from the school.

 Procedures for recording bullying behaviour

All records must be maintained in accordance with relevant data protection legislation. The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour will adhere to the following:

1)   While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher, the relevant teacher will use his/her professional judgement in relation to the records to be kept of these reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same;

2)   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.

3)   The relevant teacher must use the recording template at Appendix 2 to record the bullying behaviour in the following circumstances:

    • 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
    • where the school has decided as part of its anti-bullying policy that in certain circumstances bullying behaviour must be recorded and reported immediately to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable.

In each of the circumstances above, the recording template at Appendix 2 must be completed in full and retained by the teacher in question and a copy provided to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable. It should also be noted that the timeline for recording bullying behaviour in the recording template at Appendix 2 does not in any way preclude the relevant teacher from consulting the Principal or Deputy Principal at an earlier stage in relation to a case.

 Periodic summary reports to the Board of Management

At least once in every school term, the Principal will provide a report to the Board of Management setting out:

    • the overall number of bullying cases reported (by means of the bullying recording template at since the previous report to the Board and
    • confirmation that all cases referred to at 1 above have been or are being, dealt with in accordance with the school’s anti-bullying policy and the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary schools.

 The minutes of the Board of Management meeting will record the above but in doing so will not include any identifying details of the pupils involved.

7. School’s Programme of Support for pupils affected by bullying

The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows (see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools) :

Bullied pupils:

    • The school will seek to end the  bullying behaviour,
    • The school community, through its awareness campaign will foster respect for bullied pupils and all pupils.
    • The school community will foster greater empathy  towards and support for bullied pupils.
    • Through our anti-bullying lessons we will indicate clearly that the bullying is not the fault of the targeted pupil.
    • After resolution, we will enable bullied pupils to complete a resolution report .See Appendix 4
    • We will provide the opportunity for the bullied pupil to talk to a teacher or another  appointed professional person to help them overcome the experience/incident.
    • We will help 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).
    • We will implement a ‘buddy system’ in the school if deemed necessary .

Bullying pupils:

    • We will make it  clear that bullying pupils who reform are not blamed or punished and get a ‘clean sheet,’
    • We will make it clear that bullying pupils who reform are doing the right and honourable thing and give them praise for this.
    • We will provide the opportunity for the perpetrator to talk to a teacher or another appointed professional person to help them correct their behaviour.
    • We will help 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),
    • We will use  learning strategies throughout the school and the curriculum to help enhance pupils’ feelings of self-worth,
    • In dealing with negative behavior in general, we will encourage teachers and parents to focus on, challenge and correct the behaviour while supporting the child,
    • We will seek a resolution to the bullying behaviour by  offering a fresh start with a ‘clean sheet’ and no blame in return for keeping a promise to reform. 

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 pupils or staff or the harassment of pupils or staff on any of the nine grounds specified i.e. gender including transgender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community.

10. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on ________________   [date].

11. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website (or where none exists, is otherwise readily accessible to parents and pupils on request) and provided to the Parents’ Association (where one exists). A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.

12. This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year. Written notification that the review has been completed will be made available to school personnel, published on the school website (or where none exists, be otherwise readily accessible to parents and pupils on request) and provided to the Parents’ Association (where one exists).  A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.

 

Signed: ____________________________________                   Signed: ___________________________

(Chairperson of Board of Management)                                                             (Principal)

 

Date: ______________                                                                                         Date: __________________

 

Date of next review: _______________