ANTI BULLYING POLICY
Bullying is present to a greater or lesser extent in all institutions. All members of the school community deserve the right to feel valued, equal and respected and be able to come to school without fear. Bullying has a serious effect on a student’s self-esteem, emotional and mental health, which in turn may prevent them from developing to their full potential.
This can seriously affect their life chances.
Our school’s definition of bullying is:
Bullying can be defined as an abuse of power by one or more people through repeated hurtful or aggressive behaviour with the intention to cause emotional or physical harm to another person.
It can happen at any time. Bullying is not a one off incident of unkindness, a falling out between friends, or reciprocal name calling / unkindness between students. Bullying comes in many forms and may target others on the basis of race, religion, culture, Special Educational Needs, disability, appearance, health conditions, home circumstances, gender, sexuality (homophobia or biphobia), or gender identity (transphobia).
Bullying can include the following behaviours: Physical – hitting, kicking, pushing, barging, tripping, pulling, stealing or hiding belongings, damage to personal property, deliberate staring or pointing, ‘dirty looks’, sexual assault. Verbal – name-calling, teasing, taunting, personal insults or insults to family members, offensive or threatening language.
Behavioural – social exclusion from group activities, deliberate ignoring, forcing someone to do something against their will, spreading rumours or stories, graffiti, defacing property, stealing, displaying offensive literature or materials.
Cyber bullying – offensive or abusive text or internet/social media messages, recording images using mobile devices, and other uses of ICT such as bullying over gaming devices. Bullying, in any form, will not be tolerated at our school.
This includes any member of the school community (staff, students and parents).
As a school, we are committed to the creation of a positive, safe and secure learning environment for all.
Purpose of the policy:
To develop a positive and safe learning environment in which bullying will not be tolerated.
To promote inclusion, mutual respect and self-esteem, ensuring that the physical, social, emotional and mental health needs of all members of the school community are considered and supported.
The policy will be monitored and evaluated.
It is recognised that anyone can engage in bullying behaviour or be the target of such behaviour and that bullying can take many forms.
It is recognised that the Principal has a statutory responsibility for school behaviour and discipline, but that all members of the school community accept collective responsibility for the successful implementation of this policy.
Students and parents are encouraged to report all incidents of bullying, whether they are victims or bystanders.
All staff will respond to student, staff or parental concerns seriously and support the agreed procedures.
Our proactive strategies include:
We will listen to all parties and investigate any allegations of bullying. This is the message that will be promoted at all times and with all audiences. There is an agreed collective responsibility to address any incidents of bullying observed.
Staff will report incidents to the the schools Principal who will gather evidence and decide on the appropriate action to be taken.
There is a hierarchy of sanctions that will be taken against bullying behaviour dependent upon the severity of the incident and previous involvement in bullying:
1. Verbal warning
2. Sitting out of class for a short peroid of time to refelct on behaviour
3. Being sent home from class
4. Fixed term exclusions from lessons or event
5. Permanant Exclusion from The Starlets
The most serious incidents may lead to a fixed term or permanent exclusion and be considered after a full review of the facts. Consideration will also be given to reporting such incidents to the Police.
In all cases of bullying details of the incident and the action taken will be recorded. Parents of both the child with bullying behaviour and the target of the bullying will be kept fully involved and informed.
Our prime concern will be the support and protection of the target of the bullying behaviour. Action will continue until the issue is satisfactorily resolved and the bullying ceases. The actions will be reviewed and modified in light of circumstances and if the bullying continues.
We will also offer support to the young person who is engaging in bullying behaviour. This will be tailored to the individual need.
Strategies to support targets of bullying behaviour will involve staff and students. Approaches such as conflict resolution, buddying, mentoring will all be considered.
Bullying incidents will be logged and monitored on a termly basis.
Advice to students: If you are bullied;
Try to keep calm. Walk away. Try to assess how serious it is. Go to a place of safety. Stay where there are a lot of people if you can. Talk about it with someone you trust. Tell someone – family, friends, member of staff. Do not feel bad about yourself – it is the bullies fault not yours! Remember: Your silence is the greatest weapon of the child with bullying behaviour. Fighting back may make things worse.
If you witness bullying what can you do? Tell a member of staff. Tell your parents. Be friendly to anyone who is bullied.
Advice to staff: If a student reports an incident of bullying to you it is because they feel they can talk to you and trust you. They should be allowed to stay in control of the situation and be consulted on any course of action. The following advice may be useful:
Take the report seriously. Do not tell the student to ignore it, do not dismiss it immediately or tell the student to go and see someone else straight away.
If the student is adamant that they want to talk to you and you do not have time at that precise moment, arrange a convenient time as a matter of urgency. Listen carefully to what the student has to say, ask for detailed information. Agree what action to take with the student. If after talking to the student you ‘refer’ to someone else, explain why you are and check that the student is happy for this to happen. Inform the Principal / senior member of staff so that it can be recorded.
Advice to parents:
Watch for signs of distress in your children. For instance, they could be unwilling to attend lessons, feel unwell regularly, have missing equipment.
Take an active interest in your child’s social life. Discuss friendships
Proactively monitor your child’s use of mobile devices, social networking and other forms of communication.
Inform the school immediately if you feel your child may be the victim of bullying behaviour. Speak to your child’s teacher or Princiapal.
Do not encourage your child to hit back – it makes matters worse. Be supportive – make sure that your child knows that the bullying is not their fault. Know that the school will appreciate your involvement and take the report seriously.