Anti - Bullying Policy

 

St. Aidan’s Community College Anti- Bullying Policy

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 St. Aidan’s Community College 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.

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;

  • 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.

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.

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.

Contact Point: Anti-Bullying Co-Ordinator

The  Anti-Bullying co-ordinator  investigates and deals with bullying allegations and incidents. They are  supported by the Deputy Principal and the Principal

Education & Prevention Strategies

The education and prevention strategies that will be used by the school are as follows:

A series of lessons to be delivered by SPHE teachers in Junior cycle and in Religion classes for senior students over a 4 week programme, taking into account the age and maturity of the pupils concerned. This programme explicitly teaches students what respectful language and respectful behaviour looks like, acts like, sounds like and feels like in class and around the school. The school has prepared PowerPoint presentations for each lesson, along with relevant video clips and worksheets. All staff are made aware of the content of the programme, in order to ensure that all members of the school community have a shared understanding of what constitutes bullying behaviour. Students are informed that it is the schools intention to create a safe and happy environment for all students and that bullying will not be tolerated.

 

The support of outside agencies to help in the education of students in the areas of Homophobic/ Transphobic Bullying; Cyber-Bullying; Healthy Living; Positive Mental Health etc.
Curricular & Extracurricular activities to promote self-esteem in our students and to encourage respectful behaviour in group activities.
Staff Awareness: the provision of staff training for our anti-bullying strategies through staff workshops, presentations by key school staff involved or by guest speakers.
Maintaining the focus on the key issues through the SPHE and RSE programmes but also in other relevant subjects.
The provision of a ‘Big Brother Big Sister programme’, who are 4th year students, trained, to work with first year students as part of our transition programme from primary to post-primary.
Student Council members, who are elected by their classmates, meet together on a regular basis –under the guidance of a teacher. They also meet with the Principal to discuss issues of concern.
Consistently tackling the use of discriminatory and derogatory language in the school – this includes homophobic and racist language and language that is belittling of pupils with a disability or SEN.
Provide a system of encouragement and rewards to promote desired behaviour and compliance with the school rules and routines.

Investigation & Prevention Procedures:

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:

Stage 1: Bullying behaviour is brought to the attention of a staff member by a student, another staff member or a non-teaching member of staff. (Non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs), caretaker, cleaners are encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them.)

Stage 2: An “In-Class Survey” is carried out in the year group that the bullying behaviour has been identified in. Students are reminded that when they report incidents of bullying they are not considered to be telling tales but are behaving responsibly.

Stage 3: These surveys are then given to the Anti-Bullying Co-ordinator of the School.

Stage 4: If no student is identified, no further action is taken. However, if a student is identified as an alleged bully they will be interviewed by the Anti-bullying Co-ordinator. Other investigations may also be carried out at this stage to establish as much information as possible. If the student admits to the alleged offence, they will be given the opportunity to redeem themselves and given a second chance, once they sign ‘The Student Behaviour Promise’ ( i.e. a student promises never to bully again). If possible at this point, it is important to resolve any issues and to restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved. 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.

Stage 5: This Student Behaviour Promise is kept on file and the incident is recorded by the Anti-Bullying Co-Ordinator. No further action will occur unless the student breaks ‘the Student Behaviour Promise’.

Stage 6: If an incident is reported again, within the academic year involving the same student, that student is re-interviewed by the Anti-Bullying Co-ordinator and will have to sign the second ‘Student Behaviour Promise along with their parents/guardians.

Stage 7: This, second Student Behaviour Promise is kept on file and the incident is recorded by the Anti-Bullying Co-Ordinator. No further action will occur unless the student breaks ‘the Student Behaviour Promise’.

Stage 8: If a further incident is reported involving the same student, the following will occur:

A meeting may take place with the school Principal, the parent(s)/guardian(s), the school anti-bullying coordinator and the student.
At that meeting the details of the first interview will be read out in front of all those present.
At that meeting the details of the second interview, showing how the student continued to bully, after signing a promise not to bully again will also be read out in front of all those present.
At that meeting the Principal may then decide the penalty/punishment, using the school's Code of Behaviour and inform the parent(s)/guardian(s). Sanctions may include detention after school; a written letter of apology; withdrawal of privileges; exclusion from certain school activities; a suspension from school for several days with work assigned. The student is informed that the incident(s) will go on their school record and that the Board of Management will have to be informed.
The parents/guardians may be told at that meeting that the school may have to consider the expulsion of the student if they bully again.

All information is recorded on a variety of recording sheets: e.g. Incident Report Form; Action taken Form; Regular Class Survey; Alleged Bullying Interview Sheet; Bullying Behaviour Checklist; Student Behaviour Promise. All records are kept in a confidential file in the school office.

In determining whether a bullying case has been adequately and appropriately addressed the anti-bullying co-ordinator, 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.
In extreme cases, it may be necessary to employ the expertise of outside facilitator(s) to resolve the matter.

Support Programme

The school’s support programme will work with pupils affected by bullying as follows:

Some students may need counselling and/or opportunities to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem, to develop their friendship and social skills and thereby build resilience whenever this is needed. Depending on available resources, the school will endeavour to provide such counselling support (School Chaplain/Guidance Counsellor) or support through the School Completion Programme, if appropriate. If counselling is not available through the school the student and their family will be made aware of similar supports available in the community.

Students who observe incidents of bullying behaviour are encouraged to continue to discuss the issue with their tutor or teachers and are reminded that when they report incidents of bullying they are not considered to be telling tales but are behaving responsibly.

In cases where the school has serious concerns in relation to managing the behaviour of a pupil, the advice of the National Education Psychological Service (NEPS) will be sought (dependent on availability).

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.

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.

 

This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on 8th May 2019.

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.

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 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.


 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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