D: St. Brigid’s Primary School Anti-Bullying Policy
This anti-bullying policy operates in conjunction with the code Behaviour, which is used to address isolated instances of anti-social behaviour.
The school has a central role in the children’s social moral development just as it does in their academic development. In school, we work towards standards of behaviour based on the basic principles of honesty, respect, consideration and responsibility. The individuality of each child needs to be accommodated while at the same time acknowledging the right of every child to education in a disruption free environment.
Bullying is defined as repeated aggression, whether verbal, psychological or physical, conducted by an individual or group against others. Examples of bullying include physical aggression, damage to property, intimidation, isolation, name- calling, taunting or “slagging”. Child to child bullying, teacher to child, intra staff bullying, parent to staff and parent to child bullying (including a child other than their own) are examples of the areas where bullying may occur.
Isolated instances of aggressive behaviour, which would be dealt with under the Code Behaviour, would not be described as bullying. However when the behaviour is systematic and ongoing, it is bullying.
The school acknowledges that there are three parties involved in bullying – those who bully, those who are bullied and those witness the bullying. Staff and teachers bear this in mind when dealing with bullying incidences and try to support and work with all parties involved.
Aims of the policy
- To foster a school ethos of mutual and self-respect
- To raise awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour
- To outline, promote and raise awareness of preventative approaches that can be used in response to reported incidences of bullying
- To develop a programme of support for those affected by bullying behaviour and for those involved in bullying behaviour
- To outline procedures for noting and reporting instances of bullying behaviour
- To outline procedures for investigating and dealing with incidents for bullying behaviour.
Child to Child Bullying
Unless the incident is of serious nature, it will be dealt with by the classroom teacher who will talk to the children involved. Teachers respect the need to support the esteem of each party involved in an incident. When a teacher becomes aware that a child is regularly involved in incidents he/she will start a record of such incidents. The purpose of this record is:
- To aid memory by recording details of incident
- For clarity in assessment of situation
- For planning and intervention
Prior to a record of incidences being kept, parent(s) will be informed.
Should the action taken at this stage prove not to have resolved the issue, the staff will proceed to stage two.
The Principal will arrange to meet with the parents of the child who is seen to be bullying and separately with the parents of the victim of bullying. The children themselves may be required to attend part or all of these meetings. The child who it is agreed is bullying will be placed on report. This means that the child’s behaviour each day will be discussed with teacher and a note kept of positive behaviour as well as any negative incidents. The purpose of this report is to focus as much as possible on the positive qualities and efforts of the child, and to motivate the child to move away from negative behaviour. The child should be able to see that parents and school are working together in his/her interest, so the co-operation of the parents is essential. Initially a review of the reports will be carried out on a weekly basis, in a meeting 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 the bullying. This may involve reinforcing the programme being covered in class, or other strategies.
It is the duty of the school to provide a safe environment for all the children. Should the above interventions fail and the bullying continue, a programme of appropriate sanctions may be implemented by the principal in consultation with the parents and Board of Management. Sanctions implemented aim to encourage positive behaviour and support the esteem of the child. These sanctions 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. Suspension for any period of time will be reported in writing by the principal to the chair of the Board of Management.
Bullying by Adults
In case of intra-staff bullying, St. Brigid’s Primary School will adopt the procedures outlined in section C (c2) of the INTO booklet: Working Together: Procedures and Policies for Positive Staff Relations’. A copy of this document is available for free download on the INTO website.
In the case of Teacher – Child bullying, a complaint should in the first instance be raised with the teacher in question by parent/ guardian of the child if possible and then if necessary referred to the Principal. Where it has not been possible to agree a framework for resolution, the matter should be referred in writing by both parties to the Board of Management for investigation.
In the case of Parent – Teacher bullying, the Principal should be informed in the first instance, and if deemed necessary the Board of Management should subsequently be informed in writing.
In the case of Parent/ Visitor to the school – Child bullying, the complaint should be referred in the first instance, to the child’s class teacher and subsequently to the Principal if unresolved.
In the case of Principal – Parent/ Child bullying, the matter should be raised with the Principal if possible, or referred to the Chairperson of the Board of Management.
In the case of alleged bullying occurring outside school hours and outside the school premises the school will support the children involved but cannot take responsibility for resolving these issues. The parents of children involved will be informed whenever incidents of this nature are brought to the school’s attention.
This policy was reviewed and ratified by the Board of Management in April 2014.