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Anti Bullying / Cyber Bullying

Bishop  Ahern   N.S.  aims  to   ensure  that   children   are  safe   and  feel   safe  from   bullying,  harassment  and discrimination.   This  school is committed  to  teaching children  the  knowledge and skills  to  be able to  use ICT effectively, safely  and responsibly.  This  anti-bullying/cyber bullying  policy  operates  in conjunction  with  the Code of  Behaviour, which is used to address  isolated  incidents  of anti-social  behaviour. Incidents  of  bullying of all forms  will be recorded  on the bullying record  sheet and will be kept by the principal.

 

The  school has a central  role  in the  child’s  social and moral development  just as it does in their   academic development.   In  school, we work  towards  standards  of  behaviour based on the  basic principles  of  honesty, respect,  consideration  and responsibility to oneself  and others.  The  individuality   of  each child  needs to  be accommodated while at the  same time acknowledging the  right  of  every child to  education  in a disruption free environment.

 

Bullying is defined  as repeated  aggression, whether  verbal, psychological, emotional or physical, conducted by an individual or group against others.  An individual incident or act that  is placed/posted  in a multi media platform  is also defined  as bullying.  Examples of bullying  include physical  aggression, damage to  or  theft    of  property, intimidation,   isolation, name-calling, taunting  or ‘slagging’. Identity    based bullying such as homophobic, racist  or bullying based on a person’s membership of the traveller community, religion, class, gender, appearance and also bullying of those with special needs. Child to child bullying, teacher  to child, intra  staff   bullying, parent to staff and parent  to  child  bullying (including a child  other  than their   own) are examples of  the areas where  bullying may occur. Isolated   instances of aggressive behaviour, which would be dealt  with  under the Code of  Behaviour, would not  be described  as bullying. However  when the  behaviour  is systematic,   repeated  and ongoing, it  is bullying. The school acknowledges that  there  are three  parties  involved in bullying – those who bully, those who are bullied and those who witness the  bullying.  Staff   and teachers  bear this in mind when dealing with  bullying incidences and try  to support and work with all parties involved.

 

Aims of  the  Policy

  • To foster a school ethos of mutual and self-respect
  • To raise awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour
  • To outline, promote  and raise awareness of  preventative approaches that can be used in response to reported  incidences of bullying
  • To develop a programme of support for those affected by bullying behaviour and for  those  involved in bullying behaviour
  • To outline procedures for noting and reporting  instances of bullying behaviour
  • To outline procedures for investigating  and dealing with  incidents of bullying behaviour
  • To ensure that pupils, staff and parents understand what cyber bullying is and how it can be combated
  • To ensure that practices  and procedures are agreed to reduce risk of cyber-bullying
  • To ensure that reported  incidents of cyber bullying/bullying  are dealt with effectively and quickly

Bishop Ahern N.S. aims to ensure that children are safe and feel safe from bullying, harassment and discrimination.  This school is committed to teaching children the knowledge and skills to be able to use ICT effectively, safely and responsibly.

 

Child to Child Bullying/Cyber bullying

Stage One

Teachers respect  the need to support  the  esteem of  each party involved in an incident. A teacher  will use their professional  judgment  in determining if the incident is in fact bullying. Unless the  teacher  deems the  incident to  be of  a very serious nature, it will be dealt with by the classroom teacher who will talk to the children involved. When a teacher becomes aware that a child is regularly involved in bullying acts/incidents he/she will make a record  of such incidents on the bullying record  sheet The purpose of this record is:

  •  To aid memory by recording details  of the  incident
  • For clarity in assessment of the situation
  • For planning and intervention

The principal may at this  stage be informed of and presented with a copy of  the record. The relevant teacher deals with the issue though the principal may if he wishes speak with the children involved.

 

Actions taken may follow  code of behavior.

  1. Reasoningwith pupils.
  1. Reprimanding (including advice on how to improve behaviour)
  1. Temporary separation from  peers, friends  and others.

Should the action taken at this  stage prove not to have resolved the issue, the staff will proceed to stage two.

 

Stage  Two

The Principal will arrange to  meet with  the  parents of the child who is seen to be bullying and separately with the parents of the child who is seen to be the victim  of bullying.

 

Stage  Three

It is the duty of the school to provide a safe environment for all the children.  Should the above interventions fail  and the bullying  continue, a programme of  appropriate sanctions may be implemented  by the  Principal  in consultation with the parents involved, The Board of  Management and staff.  Sanctions implemented would aim to  encourage positive behaviour and support the esteem of the child.  These sanctions may include a period  of suspension during which there  will be ongoing consultation  with the parents to decide on appropriate action(s) to be taken in the best interests of the child.  Suspension for any period of time will be reported in writing by the Principal to the Chair of the  Board of Management.

 

Bullying by Adults

In the case of intra-staff bullying, Bishop Ahern National School will adopt the procedures outlined in code of Professional Conduct for Teachers published by Teaching Council.

In  the  case of  Teacher/S.N.A. – Child bullying, a complaint should in the first instance be raised with the teacher in question by the  parent/guardian of the child if possible and then if necessary referred to the Principal.  Where it has not been possible to agree a framework for resolution, the matter should be referred in writing by both parties to the Board of Management for investigation.

In the  case of Parent  –  Teacher/S.N.A. bullying, the Principal should be informed  in the first instance, and if deemed necessary the  Board of Management should subsequently be informed  in writing.

In  the  case of  Parent/Visitor to the school  –  Child  bullying, the complaint should be referred in the first instance to the child’s class teacher  and subsequently to the Principal if unresolved.

In the case of Principal   –   Parent/Child/Teacher/S.N.A. bullying, the matter should be raised with the Principal if possible, or referred to the Chairperson of the Board of Management.

 

UNDERSTANDING  CYBER-BULLYING:

  • Cyber bullying is the use of ICT (usually a mobile phone and or the internet) to abuse another  person
  • It can take place anywhere and involve one or many people
  • Anybody can be targeted including pupils and school staff
  • It can include threats, intimidation,  harassment, cyber-stalking,  vilification,   defamation,  exclusion, peer rejection,   impersonation, unauthorized  publication of private  information  or images etc.
  • While bullying  involves a repetition   of  unwelcome behaviour the  Anti-Bullying   Procedures for   Primary schools, September  2013, states  that   “placinga 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 behavior’:

 

WHAT  IS  CYBER-BULLYING?

There are many types of cyber-bullying.  The more common types are:

  1. Text   messages – can be threatening  or cause discomfort.    Also included here is ‘Bluejacking’ (the sending of anonymous text  messages over short  distances using bluetooth  wireless technology)
  2. Picture/video-clips     via  mobile  phone cameras  or  any  multimedia  device  –  images sent  to  others  to make the victim  feel  threatened  or embarrassed
  3. Mobile  phone calls – silent  calls, abusive messages or stealing the  victim’s  phone and using it  to  harass others,  to make them believe the victim  is responsible
  4. Emails – threatening  or bullying emcils, often  sent using a pseudonym or somebody else’s name
  5. Chat  room  bullying –  menacing or upsetting  responses to  children  or young people when they  are  in a web-based chat room
  6. Instant    messaging  (IM)   –  unpleasant messages sent  while  children   conduct  real-time   conversations online using MSM (Microsoft   Messenger), Yahoo Chat or similar tools
  7. Bullying  via  websites  – use of  defamatory   blogs (web logs), personal websites  and online personal ‘own web space’ sites such as You Tube, Facebook, Ask.fm.  Bebo, Myspace – and others.

 

Explanation of slang terms used when referring to cyber-bullying activity:

  1.  ‘Flaming’: Online fights  using electronic  messages with angry and vulgar language
  2. ‘Harassment’:   Repeatedly sending offensive,  rude, and insulting messages
  3. ‘Cyber  Stalking’:   Repeatedly sending messages that  include threats   of  harm or are highly intimidating or engaging in other  on-line activities   that  make a person afraid  for  his or her own safety
  4. ‘Denigration’:   ‘Dissing’ someone online. Sending or  posting  cruel  gossip or  rumors  about  a person to damage his or her reputation  or friendships
  5. ‘Impersonation’:    Pretending  to  be someone else   and sending or  posting  material  online that   makes someone look bad, gets her/him  in trouble  or danger, or damages her/his  reputation  or friendships
  6. ‘Outing  and Trickery’:   Tricking  someone into revealing secret  or embarrassing information  which is then shared online
  7. ‘Exclusion’: Intentionally   excluding someone from  an on-line group, like a ‘buddy list’. This list  is not exhaustive and the terms  used continue to change.
  8. Frape:  Impersonation  of one on Facebook.

 

PROCEDURES TO PREVENT CYBER-BULLYING:

  • Staff,  pupils, parents  and Board of  Management (BoM) will be made aware of  issues surrounding  cyber bullying through  the use of appropriate  awareness-raising exercises
  • Pupils will learn about cyber  bullying through  Social, Personal and Health  Education (SPHE), assemblies, friendship  week activities  and other  curriculum projects
  • The school will engage a speaker  to  facilitate    a workshop  on cyber  bullying  for    3rd,4th,5th  and 6th classes.
  • Staff  CPD (Continuous Professional Development) will assist in learning about current  technologies
  • Parents will be provided with information  and advice on how to combat cyber bullying
  • Pupils and parents will be urged to report all incidents of cyber bullying to the school
  • All reports of cyber bullying will be investigated,  recorded,  stored  in the Principal’s office  and monitored  regularly
  • Procedures in our school Anti-bullying Policy/ Code of  Behaviour shall apply
  • The police will be contacted in cases of actual or suspected illegal content
  • This policy  will  be reviewed  regularly.   Staff,    Parents  and  Board  of  Management will  be  involved  in reviewing and revising this  policy and any related  school procedure.
  • Pupils are not  allowed multimedia  devices  in school. Teachers  should not  use their   phones in view of children.

INFORMATION  FOR PUPILS:

If  you are being bullied by phone or on the Internet:

  • Remember, bullying is never your fault. It  can be stopped and it can usually be traced.
  • Don’t ignore the bullying. Tell someone you trust, such as a teacher  or parent/adult   or call an advice line.
  • Try to  keep calm. If you are frightened,   try  to show it as little  as possible. Don’t get angry, it  will only make the person bullying you more likely to continue.
  • Don’t give out your personal details  online –  if  you are  in a chat  room, do not say where you live, the school you go to, your email address  etc.  All these  things  can help someone who wants to  harm you to build up a picture  about you.
  • Keep and save any bullying emails, text   messages or  images. Then you can show them  to  a parent  or teacher  as evidence.
  • If you can, make a note of the time and date bullying messages or images were sent, and note any details about the sender

 

Text/video messaging

  • You can easily stop receiving text messages for  a while by turning-off    incoming messages for  a couple of days. This might stop the person texting  you by making them believe you’ve changed your phone number
  • If the bullying persists, you can change your phone number. Ask your mobile service provider about this.
  • Don’t reply to abusive or worrying text  or video messages.
  • Your mobile service provider  will have a number for  you to  ring or text   to  report  phone bullying. Visit their  website for  details.
  • Don’t delete messages from  cyber  bullies. You don’t  have to  read  them,  but you should keep them as evidence.