Anti Bullying - Bunscoil Buachaillí Réalt na Mara

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Bunscoil Buachaillí Réalt na Mara
 Donacarney, Mornington, Co Meath

                                                   Anti-Bullying Policy

(reviewed and amended 2015)

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  Bunscoil Buachaillí Réalt na Mara 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-
o is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity;
o encourages pupils to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour in a non-threatening environment; and
o 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-
o build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils; and
o 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.

Definition of Bullying

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


Bullying behaviour thrives in an atmosphere of uncertainty and secrecy in which the victim often feels a sense of hopelessness. Isolated incidents of aggressive behaviour,including a once off offensive or hurtful text message, or other private messaging do not fall wthin the definition of bullying and should be dealt with in accordance with eh school code of Behaviour while not to be condoned, cannot be described as bullying.


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 is dealt with in accordance with the schools Code of Behaviour.
Indications of bullying:
a. Anxiety about attending school
b. Deterioration in educational performance
c. Pattern of physical illness
d. Unexplained changes in mood or behaviour
e. Visible signs of anxiety or distress
f. Possessions missing
g. Increased requests for money
h. Unexplained bruising
i. Reluctance to say what is troubling him/her

These are all signs of a variety of problems as well as bullying.

Responsibilities of Parents  

• Encourage positive behaviour and discourage negative behaviour both at home and at school.
• Encourage children to solve difficulties without resorting to aggression.  
• Encourage children to share, to be kind, to be caring, and to be understanding towards others.
• Watch out for signs and symptoms that your child is being bullied or is bullying others.
• Don't dismiss your instincts as being wrong.
• Discuss the school's anti-bullying policy with her/him.
• Support the school in its efforts to prevent and treat bullying.

Responsibilities of Pupils
Pupils are expected to be tolerant and to have mutual respect for each other. Pupils are encouraged to report incidents of bullying to their parents and teachers.

Responsibilities of School Staff

The relevant teacher for dealing with matters of bullying will, in the first instance be the class teacher in conjunction with the principal. In the absence of the principal, the deputy principal will take over the role of principal in this regard.

The school staff will foster an atmosphere of friendship, respect and tolerance throughout the school. Teachers  will help pupils to develop empathy by discussing incidents which may cause tension, and discussing the perspectives of the parties involved.  The development of mutual respect and trust is encouraged so that pupils will have confidence in the school staff. The formal curriculum of the school will be used to educate all pupils against bullying behaviour.

Education and Prevention Strategies:

Teachers are vigilant and will respond sensitively and caringly to pupils who disclose incidents of bullying, and will investigate all such incidents following the procedures given below.

Anti-bullying issues will be raised every year and in every class through the school religion programme, the Social Personal and  Health Education programme, or the Stay Safe Programme.  The Prim-Ed Anti-Bullying programme deals very specifically with the this topic and is  available in the school for 1st-6th classes.
SPHE programme fully implemented in each class every alternate year.

Parents are invited to attend an information evening on cyber-bullying in the school every year.

Staff are updated on anti-bullying strategies through professional development workshops funded by the BOM.

Tips for dealing with cyber-bullying are advertised in the school’s newletters and available on the school website.

The school’s programme for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
Children affected by bullying will be encouraged to attend counselling via ISPCC or HSE. This is with the permission of their parents and in consultation with the Principal and class teacher.

They will be encouraged to build friendship and self esteem through the use of such programmes as the Socially Talented Child, and the Incredible Years`Programme(NEPS).

Procedures for noting and reporting incidents:
All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigared 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
a. If parents have concerns about their child being bullied they should inform the class teacher
b. Reports of bullying either from parents or staff members must be recorded in writing. The teacher should investigate and act appropriately, with a view to resoling the issues and restoring , as far as is practicable the relationships of the parties involved.
c.  If the teacher suspects that bullying occurred, the Principal/Deputy Principal should be informed
d. The teacher must use the recording template at Appendix 2 to record the bullying behaviour.This template when completed, must be retained by the teacher and a copy supplied to the Principal or Deputy Principal.
e. Parents of those involved should be notified and given an opportunity to discuss the matter with the teacher
f. It should be made clear that children reporting incidents of bullying are acting responsibly
g. A record should be kept of how the matter was handled and the outcome. When the class moves on, the succeeding teacher should be informed of any problems that existed

Responding to Bullying

Support will be provided for anyone who is bullied by offering them an immediate opportunity to talk about their experience with their teacher or other teacher, along with continuing support when they feel they may need it. This support may take the form of referring the pupil to outside agencies for counselling. Permission of his parents must be sought in advance of promising such an intervention to the child and the Principal  or Deputy Principal must also be informed in advance of any outside agency being considered.



A victim will be assured that the school community will help them and put monitoring procedures in place to safeguard them.

The school will inform parents/guardians of what has happened and of the measures being taken to help them, encourage them to report further incidences if they occur.

Help and support will be sought for a bully. This will include speaking with them to discover why they became involved, informing their parents/guardians and continuing to work with them in order to modify their behavior. Counselling for the bully will also be considered as outlined for above for other pupils affected by bullying.

In accordance with the preventative measures as set out in the Education section of this policy, a formal programme of support will be implemented at the earliest possible opportunity to facilitate all pupils involved or affected by bullying behavior.

The school code of behaviour applies to bullying. The bully will be helped to see things from the victims point of view. Bullies may be excluded from the playground at lunch break or subject to special monitoring procedures and if bullying continues they may be suspended in accordance with procedure.

Pupils who observe incidents of bullying behavior will be encouraged to discuss them with teachers.

Any pupil who is involved in retaliation against a pupil who reports bullying will be subject to the school code of discipline. Incidents of bullying will be used as opportunities for re-enforcing the anti-bullying policy of the school. Follow-up meetings may be arranged to assess progress and/or restore relationships.

In a case where the school has serious concern regarding the ongoing behavior of a pupil involved in a bullying incident, the advice of NEPS will be sought.

In accordance with our Child Protection Policy where the incident is serious and behavior is regarded as potentially abusive, the school will consult the HSE Children and Family Social Services with a view to drawing up an appropriate response.

Serious incidents will also be reported to the Gardai where appropriate.

In the case of school personnel having concerns about a child but are not sure whether to report the matter to the HSE, the Designated Liason Person must seek advice from the HSE Children and Family Social Services.

3. 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.

4. 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.

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

6. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website and provided to the Parents’ Association. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.

7. 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 and provided to the Parents’ Association. 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: _______________









Ratified by Board of Management on __________________
         Date

Signed __________________________________________
 Chairperson, Board of Management




 
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