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
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.
- Reasoning with pupils.
- Reprimanding (including advice on how to improve behaviour)
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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 “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 behavior’:
WHAT IS CYBER-BULLYING?
There are many types of cyber-bullying. The more common types are:
- 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)
- Picture/video-clips via mobile phone cameras or any multimedia device – images sent to others to make the victim feel threatened or embarrassed
- 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
- Emails – threatening or bullying emails, often sent using a pseudonym or somebody else’s name
- Chat room bullying – menacing or upsetting responses to children or young people when they are in a web-based chat room
- Instant messaging (IM) – unpleasant messages sent while children conduct real-time conversations online using MSM (Microsoft Messenger), Yahoo Chat or similar tools
- 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:
- ‘Flaming’: Online fights using electronic messages with angry and vulgar language
- ‘Harassment’: Repeatedly sending offensive, rude, and insulting messages
- ‘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
- ‘Denigration’: ‘Dissing’ someone online. Sending or posting cruel gossip or rumors about a person to damage his or her reputation or friendships
- ‘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
- ‘Outing and Trickery’: Tricking someone into revealing secret or embarrassing information which is then shared online
- ‘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.
- 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 speake 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
- 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.