Anti-Bullying Policy

Scoil Mochaomhóg Naofa

Anti-Bullying Policy
This policy is written in accordance with the school mission statement.
Scoil Mochaomhóg Naofa is a co-educational Roman Catholic, primary school, under the Patronage of the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, which strives to provide a disciplined, caring, happy and secure atmosphere where the academic, spiritual, physical, social, moral and cultural needs of the pupils are identified and addressed to the best of the ability of the teaching and ancillary staff of the school.

The Scoil Mochaomhóg Naofa school community believes that each pupil has a right to an education free from fear and intimidation.
The school regards bullying as a serious infringement of individual rights and a serious threat to the self-esteem and self-confidence of targeted pupil(s). Therefore it does not tolerate bullying of any kind.
Every report of bullying is treated seriously and dealt with, having due regard for the well-being of the targeted pupil(s) and the perpetrator(s).
An ‘Anti-Bullying Team,’ made up of staff members, exists to cultivate an environment free from bullying.
The immediate priority, should a bullying incident occur, is ending the bullying, (thereby protecting the person(s) being targeted) and resolving the issues and restoring the relationships involved insofar as is practicable using a ‘Reform, not Blame’ approach.
All pupils are expected to contribute to the creation and maintenance a safe environment in the school. On becoming aware of any bullying situation, in or outside the school, involving members of the school community they should notify a trusted responsible adult. Bullying behaviour is too serious not to report.
Pupils’ participation in school life in general is encouraged through existing school structures. Awareness of bullying, and willingness to take action to prevent or stop it, is part of this participation.

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 Scoil Mochaomhóg Naofa 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 recognizes 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. 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 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.
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.
This definition includes a wide range of behaviour, whether verbal or written, whether physical or social, whether targeting person or property, whether carried out directly or indirectly or through any electronic or other medium, which could harm a pupil or undermine her/his self-esteem or self-confidence.
Appendix 1 gives a list of specific examples of bullying behaviour. This list is not exhaustive.
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. The ‘Relevant Teacher(s)’ for investigating and dealing with bullying in this school are as follows:
1) The Class Teacher 2) The School Principal

(‘At primary level, the relevant teacher will normally be the class teacher.’ Procedures 6.8.3).
5. The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber-bullying and identity based bullying) used by the school are as follows:
• The anti-bullying module of the SPHE programme as it applies during each school year,
• 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), pro-actively explaining 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.
– 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’ (in the case of staff members) 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 activities of the school ‘Anti-Bullying Team’ and encouraged to support its work.
• An annual anti-bullying/friendship day/week (if applicable)

6. 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, (e.g. the six step approach available from the ‘Dealing with Incidents’ section of the Anti-Bullying Campaign website) are as follows:

(i) The primary aim for the relevant teacher 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);

(ii) In investigating and dealing with bullying, the teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved;

(iii) All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher. In that way pupils will gain confidence in ‘telling’. This confidence factor is of vital importance. It should 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;

(iv) Non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs), bus escorts, caretakers, cleaners must be encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher;

(v) Parents and pupils are required to co-operate with any investigation and assist the school in resolving any issues and restoring, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved as quickly as possible;

(vi) It is very important that all involved (including each set of pupils and parents) understand the above approach from the outset;

(vii) Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour reported by pupils, staff or parents;

(viii) Incidents are generally best investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved;

(ix) All interviews should be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils concerned. Pupils who are not directly involved can also provide very useful information in this way;

(x) When analysing incidents of bullying behaviour, the relevant teacher should seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why. This should be done in a calm manner, setting an example in dealing effectively with a conflict in a non-aggressive manner;

(xi) If a group is involved, each member should be interviewed individually at first. Thereafter, all those involved should be met as a group. At the group meeting, 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;
(xii) Each member of a group should be supported through the possible pressures that they
may face them from the other members of the group after interview by the teacher;

(xiii) It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s);

(xiv) In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, the parents of the parties involved should be contacted at an early stage to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken (by reference to the school policy). The school should 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;

(xv) Where the relevant teacher has determined that a pupil has been engaged in bullying behaviour, it should be made clear to him/her how he/she is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy and efforts should be made to try to get him/her to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied;

(xvi) It must also be made clear to all involved (each set of pupils and parents) that in any situation where disciplinary sanctions are required, this is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, his or her parents and the school;

(xvii) 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. This can have a therapeutic effect;

(xviii) In cases where the relevant teacher considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour has occurred, it must be recorded by the relevant teacher in the recording template at Appendix 3 (See Section 6.8.10 (iii));

(xix) 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; and
•Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parents or the school Principal or Deputy Principal;

(xx) Where a parent is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parents must be referred, as appropriate, to the school’s complaints procedures;

(xxi) In the event that a parent has exhausted the school’s complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school must advise the parents of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.

• The ‘Relevant Teacher’ investigates all instances of reported or suspected bullying behaviour, including anonymous report, whether these take place within the school or outside it, with a view to establishing the facts, bringing any such behaviour to an end.
• 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).
• 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. 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, to include the findings of the investigation, the strategy adopted and the outcome of the intervention, as well as any other relevant information.
• 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 school.
• 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 expelled from the school.
7. The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
• Bullied pupils:
– Ending the bullying behaviour,
– Changing the school culture to foster more respect for bullied pupils and all pupils,
– Changing the school culture to foster greater empathy towards and support for bullied pupils,
– Indicating clearly that the bullying is not the fault of the targeted pupil through the awareness-raising programme,
– Indicating clearly that the bullying is not the fault of the targeted pupil through the speedy identification of those responsible and speedy resolution of bullying situations,
– After resolution, enabling bullied pupils to complete a victim-impact statement,
– Making adequate counselling facilities available 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).
– Implementing a ‘buddy system’ in the school (if applicable),
• Bullying pupils:
– Making it clear that bullying pupils who reform are not blamed or punished and get a ‘clean sheet,’
– Making it clear that bullying pupils who reform are doing the right and honourable thing and giving them praise for this,
– Making adequate counselling facilities available 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,
– In dealing with bullying behaviour seeking resolution and 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 as 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 ___/___/______

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 of Education and Skills and to 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 to the Department of Education and Skills and to the patron if requested.

Signed: _______________________________ Signed: _________________________
(Chairperson of Board of Management) (Principal)

Date: ___/___/______ Date: ___/___/______

Date of next review: ___/___/______

Appendix 1.
Bullying can take a number of forms. These may include any of the following (this list is not exhaustive):
• Repeated aggressive behaviour/attitude/body language, for example:
Shouting and uncontrolled anger
Personal insults
Verbal abuse
Offensive language directed at an individual,
Continually shouting or dismissing others
Public verbal attacks/criticism
Domineering behaviour
Open aggression
Offensive gestures and unwanted physical contact
• Intimidation, either physical, psychological or emotional, for example:
Treating in a dictatorial manner
Persistent slagging
Deliberate staring with the intent to discomfort
Persistent rudeness in behaviour and attitude toward a particular individual
Asking inappropriate questions/making inappropriate comments re. personal life/family
Asking inappropriate questions/making inappropriate comments re. social life or schoolwork
• Interference with property, for example:
Stealing/damaging books or equipment
Stealing/damaging clothing or other property
Demanding money with menaces
Persistently moving, hiding or interfering with property
Marking/defacing property

• Undermining/Public or Private Humiliation, for example:
Condescending tone
Deliberately withholding significant information and resources
Writing of anonymous notes
Malicious, disparaging or demeaning comments
Malicious tricks/derogatory joke,
Knowingly spreading rumours
Belittling others’ efforts, their enthusiasm or their new idea,
Derogatory or offensive nicknames (name-calling)
Using electronic or other media for any of the above (cyber bullying,
Disrespectfully mimicking a particular individual in his/her absence
Deliberately refusing to address issues focusing instead on the person
• Ostracising or isolating, for example:
Deliberately marginalising an individual
Deliberately preventing a person from joining a group
Deliberately preventing from joining in an activity, schoolwork-related or recreational
Blaming a pupil for things s/he did not do

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