Anti-Bullying Policy

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Mission Statement:

In Elphin Community College our Mission is to provide an educational environment that will enable each pupil to develop his/her potential academically, physically, socially and spiritually. We strive to develop and maintain a safe, supportive and caring school which seeks to provide the best opportunities for everyone to develop his or her potential to the full. Everyone in Elphin Community College is a valued member of the school community and diversity is a valued part of the school culture.

Rationale:

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 Elphin 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 2013.

This policy comprehends bullying that is either perpetrated by students or experienced by students in the College. The matter of intra-staff bullying is addressed in the following ETB policies:

  • Bullying Prevention Policy – Compliant Procedure for ETB Staff.
  • Harassment/Sexual Harassment prevention policy – complaint procedure for ETB staff.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

  • ➢  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,homophobic and transphobic bullying
    • effective supervision and monitoring of pupils
  • ➢  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 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”.

    While most bullying is typically repeated a once off incident may be regarded as bullying if it has a serious effect on the victim.

Types of Bullying

General behaviours which apply to all types of bullying

  • Harassment based on any of the nine grounds in the equality legislation e.g. sexual harassment, homophobic bullying, racist bullying etc.
  • Physical aggression
  • Damage to property
  • Name calling
  • Slagging
  • The production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other materials aimed at intimidating another person
  • Offensive graffiti
  • Extortion
  • Intimidation
  • Insulting or offensive gestures
  • The “look” or ‘filthies’, e.g., a facial expression whichconveys aggression and/or dislike
  • Invasion of personal space
  • Any behaviour which causes a student to feeluncomfortable
  • A combination of any of the types listed.

Cyber

The ETBI Cyberbullying in Schools defines cyberbullying as follows: “Cyberbullying refers to a situation where anyone is repeatedly tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another person using text messaging, email, instant messaging or any other type of digital technology”.

  • Harassment: the sending of vicious, mean or disturbing message(s) to an individual.
  • Denigration: Spreading rumours, lies or gossip to hurt a person’s reputation
  • Impersonation: Posting offensive or aggressive messages under another person’s name
  • Flaming: Using inflammatory or vulgar words to provoke an online fight
  • Trickery: Fooling someone into sharing personal information which you then post online
  • Outing: Posting or sharing confidential or compromising information or images
  • Exclusion: Purposefully excluding someone from an online group
  • Cyber stalking: Ongoing harassment and denigration that causes a person considerable fear for his/her safety
  • Silent telephone/mobile phone call
  • Abusive / offensive telephone/mobile phone calls
  • Abusive / offensive text messages
  • Abusive / offensive email
  • Abusive / offensive communication on social networkse.g. Facebook/Messenger /Ask.fm/ Twitter/You Tube or

    on games consoles /WhatsApp /Snapchat / Instagram etc.

  • Abusive / offensive website comments/Blogs/Pictures
  • • Abusive / offensive posts on any form of communication technology
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Identity based behaviours:

Including any of the nine discriminatory grounds mentioned in Equality Legislation (gender including transgender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community).

Relational

This involves manipulating relationships as a means of bullying. Behaviours include:

  • Malicious gossip
  • Isolation & exclusion
  • Ignoring
  • Excluding from the group
  • Taking someone’s friends away
  • “Bitching”
  • Spreading rumours
  • Breaking confidence
  • Talking loud enough so that the victim can hear
  • The “look” or ‘filthies’
  • Encouraging others to ignore / target an individual orgroup
  • Use of terminology such as ‘nerd’ in a derogatory way

Race, nationality, ethnic background, family status and membership of the Traveller community

  • Discrimination, prejudice, comments or insults about colour, nationality, culture, social class, religious beliefs, ethnic or traveller background
  • Exclusion on the basis of any of the above
  • Stereotyping
  • Mimicking accents
  • Any name calling or labelling in a derogatory manner

Homophobic and transgender

  • Spreading rumours about a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Taunting a person because of sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Name calling e.g. Gay, queer, lesbian, tranny…used in a derogatory manner
  • Physical intimidation or attacks
  • Threats
  • Any name calling or labelling in a derogatory manner

Sexual

• Unwelcome or inappropriate sexual comments or touching • Harassment
• Unwelcome sexual texts or emails

Special Educational Needs

  • Name calling
  • Taunting others because of their disability or learningneeds.
  • Taking advantage of some pupils’ vulnerabilities andlimited capacity to recognise and defend themselves

    against bullying

  • Taking advantage of some pupils’ vulnerabilities andlimited capacity to understand social situations and social

    cues.

  • Mimicking a person’s disability
  • Setting others up for ridicule
  • Targeting exceptionally able students in a negative

manner

The above list is not exhaustive
A false accusation of bullying is regarded as a serious misbehaviour.

Statement on Bullying:

As per the Code of Positive Behaviour of Elphin Community College (Appendix 2); Bullying is deemed to High Level Behaviour which can warrant expulsion.

➢ Every student in the school is entitled to respect and to be free of any type of bullying.
➢ All students are entitled to an education free from fear and intimidation.
➢ All students are entitled to good teaching and learning conditions free from harassment or abuse. ➢ The school will work proactively as far as it can to ensure that bullying does not take place.
➢ Reporting incidents of bullying is responsible behaviour.
➢ A record will be kept of all reported incidents of bullying.
➢ The matter will be dealt with seriously and by the appropriate authorities where necessary.
➢ The school has a programme of support for the bullied and the bully.
➢ Appropriate action will be taken to ensure that it does not continue.

The Relevant Teachers in this school are:

➢ Principal
➢ Deputy Principal
➢ Year Heads
➢ Subject Teachers
➢ Care Team Personnel ➢ Guidance Counsellor

Any teacher or member of staff may act as the “relevant teacher” if circumstances warrant it. The school deems that every staff member (both teaching and non-teaching) has a responsibility to report any unwanted negative behaviour or bullying.

Responsible reporting must be the norm within the school (using the Bullying Incident Report form attached as Appendix 1 or online through VS Ware using the Bullying Behaviour Tab). All reports of bullying no matter how trivial will be noted and investigated by the school.

  • ➢  Students should discuss any suspected or alleged incident of bullying with a teacher or another trusted adult within the school. This is responsible behaviour rather than “telling tales”.
  • ➢  All staff members who witness or become aware of suspected incidences of bullying should report in writing to the relevant Year Head (using Appendix 1).
  • ➢  Parents/Guardians should contact the relevant Year Head regarding any alleged incidents of bullying behaviour which they might suspect or that have come to their attention through their children or other parents.
  • ➢  Where possible this concern should be expressed in writing.

Education and Prevention Strategies:

  • ➢  Anti-bullying training with 1st Year students.
  • ➢  Promotion of anti-bullying through the curriculum and in particular during SPHE and ReligiousEducation.
  • ➢  Parental involvement through parents’ evenings, coffee mornings.
  • ➢  Prefect system.
  • ➢  Internet usage policy.
  • ➢  Supervision of students on school premises.
  • ➢  Continuing Professional Development.
  • ➢  SPHE class.
  • ➢  Restorative Practice.
  • ➢  “Worry box” for students.
  • ➢  Teacher / Year Head System.
  • ➢  Belonging + Transition programme for 1st years.
  • ➢  Evidence informed programmes, i.e., FRIENDS For Life
  • ➢  Student Support Team.
  • ➢  Guidance Counsellor.
  • ➢  School Counsellor.
  • ➢  Anti-bullying week.
  • ➢  Reporting to Designated Liaison Person for Child Protection Guidelines.Anti-Bullying Week:

    This is a cross-curricular, whole school community initiative being proposed within the College that is aimed at reducing the incidence of bullying within the school. Various activities are co-ordinated with the theme of anti-bullying including:

    ➢ Anti-Bullying workshops for students
    ➢ Design a poster competition (Art)
    ➢ Anti-Bullying lessons (SPHE/Pastoral Care)
    ➢ Internet Safety and Cyber Bullying (IT)
    ➢ Human/Civil Rights lessons (CSPE/History)
    ➢ Justice/ Relationships/Morality (Religion)
    ➢ Suitable texts/drama/poetry dealing with Bullying
    ➢ Debating
    ➢ Student Council meetings
    ➢ Prefects/mentor system
    ➢ Keywords connected with bullying (Cross Curricular) ➢ Random acts of kindness programme (Whole school) ➢ “Worry box” for students
    ➢ Student survey on bullying
    ➢ Annual review of Anti-Bullying policy

    Procedures for investigating and dealing with Bullying:

  • ➢  The person to become aware of the incident must complete a Bullying Incident Report Form (Appendix 1) or completes an online report using VS Ware using the Bullying Behaviour Tab to ensure the matter is brought to the attention of the relevant Year Head.
  • ➢  The Year Head will deal with the alleged incident using their professional judgement.
  • ➢  All parties may be interviewed separately by the Year Head.
  • ➢  If a group is involved, each person may be interviewed separately and asked for their account inwriting of the alleged incident.
  • ➢  If deemed appropriate a Restorative Practice meeting will be suggested.
  • ➢  The school personnel will keep their written record of the interview. The persons involved will be asked to write down their account of the alleged incident.
  • ➢  In the professional judgement of the Year Head if the incident is of a serious or repeated nature then it will be forwarded onto the Principal / Deputy Principal with all supporting documents.
  • ➢  If the behaviour is deemed as a bullying situation, parents/ guardians of the individuals will be informed.
  • ➢  The Care Team may be consulted for their professional expertise if deemed necessary.Programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying:

    All in school supports and opportunities will be provided for the pupils affected by bullying to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem, to develop friendships and social skills and build resilience e.g. all students will be offered appropriate counselling.

    If pupils require further supports the school will endeavour to liaise with the appropriate agencies to organise same. This may be for the pupils affected by the bullying or involved in the bullying behaviour.

    Pupils should understand that there are no innocent bystanders and that all alleged incidents of bullying behaviour must be reported to a teacher.

    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 on any of the nine grounds specified under legislation. The nine grounds are gender, marital status, family status, age, disability, sexual orientation, race, religion and membership of the Traveller Community

    Ratification and Review:

    This policy was accepted and ratified by the Board of Management of Elphin Community College on ______________________________.

    This policy will be made available to all 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. Ongoing reviews and evaluation take cognisance of changing information, changing society, legislation, ministerial/government instructions, developments in the school-based programmes and feedback from students, staff, parents/guardians and the Board of Management/ETB