St. Laurence’s N.S.
Bullying behaviour, by its very nature, undermines and dilutes the quality of education and imposes psychological damage. As such it is an issue that must be positively and firmly addressed through a range of school based measures and strategies through which all members of the school community are enabled to act effectively in dealing with this behaviour. (Guidelines on Countering Bullying Behaviour in Primary and Post Primary Schools, DES, 1993, also –“Action Plan on Bullying “ – Minister for Education and Skills – DES, January 2013).
Relationship to characteristic Spirit of the School
St. Laurence’s N.S. is a Roman Catholic school and aims to promote the full and harmonious development of the pupil. The mission statement of the school states that we are concerned with the intellectual, physical, cultural, moral, aesthetic and social development of our students in close cooperation with home, church and civic community. The inalienable rights and responsibilities of each student are acknowledged in the mission statement of St. Laurence’s N.S. The school is committed to Gospel values in its daily living. Central to this is the maxim: always treat others as you would like them to treat you.
This anti-bullying policy operates in conjunction with the Code of Behaviour, which is used to address isolated instances of anti social behaviour.
The school has a central role in the children’s social 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. 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.
- 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. Laurence’s National School 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 main aims of our Anti-Bullying Policy are as follows:
- To create a positive school culture and climate that is inclusive and welcoming to difference
- To create a school climate which is open, supportive and encourages pupils to disclose and discuss bullying behaviour.
- To raise awareness amongst the entire school community (including school management, teachers, pupils, parents, volunteers etc.) that bullying is unacceptable behaviour.
- To ensure comprehensive supervision and monitoring through which all aspects of school activity are kept under observation.
- To provide procedures for investigating and dealing with bullying behaviour.
- To provide procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour.
- To develop a programme of support for those affected by bullying behaviour and for those involved in bullying behaviour.
- To work with and through the various local agencies in countering all forms of bullying and anti-social behaviour.
- To facilitate ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of the school`s anti-bullying policy.
- 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 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.
Key elements of a positive school culture and climate and culture
- The school acknowledges the right of each member of the school community to enjoy school in a secure environment.
- The school acknowledges the uniqueness of each individual and his / her worth as a human being.
- The school promotes positive habits of self respect, self-discipline and responsibility among all its members.
- The school prohibits vulgar, offensive, sectarian or other aggressive behaviour or language by any of its members.
- The school has a clear commitment to promoting equity in general and gender equity in particular in all aspects of it’s functioning.
- The school has the capacity to change in response to pupils needs.
- The school identifies aspects of curriculum through which positive and lasting influences can be exerted towards forming pupil’s attitudes and values.
- The school takes particular care of “at risk” pupils and uses its monitoring systems to facilitate early intervention where necessary and it responds to the needs, fears or anxieties of individual members in a sensitive manner.
- The school recognises the need to work in partnership with and keep parents informed on procedures to improve relationships on a school wide basis.
- The school recognises the role of parents in equipping the pupil with a range of life skills.
- The school recognises the role of other community agencies in preventing and dealing with bullying.
- The school promotes habits of mutual respect, courtesy and an awareness of the interdependence of people in groups and communities.
- The school promotes qualities of social responsibility, tolerance and understanding among all its members both in school and out of school.
- Staff members share a collegiate responsibility, under the direction of the Principal, to act in preventing bullying/aggressive behaviour by any member of the school community.
3. 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, and is laid out here for reference
- Physical aggression: This behaviour includes pushing, shoving, punching, kicking, poking and tripping people. It may also take the form of severe physical assault. While pupils often engage in ‘mess fights’, they can sometimes be used as a disguise for physical harassment or inflicting pain.
- Intimidation: Some bullying behaviour takes the form of intimidation: it may be based on the use of very aggressive body language with the voice being used as a weapon. Particularly upsetting can be a facial expression which conveys aggression and/or dislike.
- Isolation/exclusion and other relational bullying: This occurs where a certain person is deliberately isolated, excluded or ignored by some or all of the class group. This practice is usually initiated by the person engaged in bullying behaviour and can be difficult to detect. It may be accompanied by writing insulting remarks about the pupil in public places, by passing around notes about or drawings of the pupil or by whispering insults about them loud enough to be heard. Relational bullying occurs when a person’s attempts to socialise and form relationships with peers are repeatedly rejected or undermined. One of the most common forms includes control: “Do this or I won’t be your friend anymore” (implied or stated); a group ganging up against one person (girl or boy); non-verbal gesturing; malicious gossip; spreading rumours about a person or giving them the “silent treatment”.
- Cyber-bullying: This type of bullying is increasingly common and is continuously evolving. It is bullying carried out through the use of information and communication technologies such as text, social network sites, e-mail, instant messaging (IM), apps, gaming sites, chat-rooms and other online technologies. Being the target of inappropriate or hurtful messages is the most common form of online bullying. As cyber-bullying uses technology to perpetrate bullying behaviour and does not require face to face contact, cyber-bullying can occur at any time (day or night). Many forms of bullying can be facilitated through cyber-bullying. For example, a target may be sent homophobic text messages or pictures may be posted with negative comments about a person’s sexuality, appearance etc.
- Name calling: Persistent name-calling directed at the same individual(s) which hurts, insults or humiliates should be regarded as a form of bullying behaviour. Often name-calling of this type refers to physical appearance, e.g., size or clothes worn. Accent or distinctive voice characteristics may attract negative attention. Academic ability can also provoke name calling. This tends to operate at two extremes. There are those who are singled out for attention because they are perceived to be weak academically. At the other extreme there are those who, because they are perceived as high achievers, are also targeted.
- Damage to property: Personal property can be the focus of attention for bullying behaviour. This may result in damage to clothing, mobile phone or other devices, school books and other learning material or interference with a pupil’s locker or bicycle. The contents of school bags and pencil cases may be scattered on the floor. Items of personal property may be defaced, broken, stolen or hidden.
- Extortion: Demands for money may be made, often accompanied by threats (sometimes carried out in the event of the targeted pupil not delivering on the demand). A pupil may also be forced into theft of property for delivery to another who is engaged in bullying behaviour.
4. The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying is (are) as follows: (see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post- Primary Schools):
The “relevant teacher” at primary level, will normally be the classroom teacher but All teaching staff in St. Laurence’s N.S. share responsibility for investigating and dealing with bullying. The “relevant teacher” then reports to the Principal / Deputy Principal.
Non teaching staff contribute and are part of the process to counter bullying behaviour in our school.
In certain cases, however, it may be necessary for the school to seek the assistance of other local persons and formal agencies such as NEPS, HSE social workers, community workers, Gardai etc.
5. The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber- bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying) that will be used by the school are as follows (see Section 6.5 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools):
Board of Management
The Board of Management is responsible for ensuring that all members of the school community are enabled to deal effectively with bullying. The Board is committed to providing time and purchasing resources for the implementation of the policy. The Board will ensure that proper supervisory and monitoring measures are in place to minimise bullying and to deal with incidents appropriately as they arise.
The school staff will foster an atmosphere of friendship, respect and tolerance. Children’s self esteem will be developed through celebrating individual difference, achievements, acknowledging and rewarding good behaviour and manners, providing opportunities for success throughout the curriculum and school. Teachers will help pupils to develop empathy by discussing feelings and try to put themselves in the place of others. Relationships with pupils will be based on mutual respect and trust so that pupils will have confidence in the school staff. Teachers will be vigilant, respond sensitively and caringly to pupils who disclose incidence of bullying and investigate all disclosed incidence of bullying behaviour.
Teachers will discuss the schools anti-bullying policy with the pupils and use behavioural management strategies which focus on problem solving and enable pupils to take an active role in finding a solution to problems.
The formal curriculum of the school will also be used to educate all pupils against bullying behaviour. Anti-bullying issues may be raised through the schools Alive-O programme and the SPHE programme which includes Stay safe, Walk Tall and the RSE programme.
Workshops will be organised for different class groupings using outside agencies.
Pupils are expected to be tolerant and to have mutual respect for each other. Pupils should report incidents of aggressive behaviour of bullying to their parents and teachers.
- Say “No”.
- Get Away.
- Get an adult.
- Keep on telling until somebody helps you.
Encourage positive behaviour and discourage negative behaviour both at home and at school.
Encourage children to share, to be kind, to be caring, and to be understanding towards others.
Discuss the schools anti-bullying policy with him/her.
Support the school in its effort to prevent and treat bullying. (see advice for Parents, Appendix 1). The Parents Association will arrange Parent workshops for Parents.
How the school fosters a positive school ethos among pupils, staff and parents.
There is a strong sense of community and cooperation between Board of Management, staff, pupils and parents and each has a clear role in the prevention of bullying:
- Through a programme of positive action, the school promotes an atmosphere of friendship, respect and tolerance.
- The SPHE curriculum, including the Walk Tall and Stay Safe programmes, is used throughout the school to support the anti bullying policy.
- Positive self esteem is fostered among the pupils by celebrating individual difference / achievements, by acknowledging and rewarding good behaviour and by providing opportunities for success.
- Pupils are helped to develop empathy by discussing feelings and by trying to put themselves in the place of others.
- Teachers respond sensitively to pupils who disclose incidents of bullying.
- The school anti bullying policy is discussed regularly with the pupils.
- Members of Staff are particularly vigilant in monitoring pupils who are considered at risk of bullying / being bullied.
- All disclosed incidents of bullying are investigated.
- Members of the Board of Management are familiar with the schools policy on bullying and actively promote it on a repeated basis among staff, pupils and parents.
- Parents contribute to and support the schools policy on bullying by encouraging positive behaviour both at home and at school, by being vigilant for signs and symptoms that their child is being bullied or is bullying others, by communicating concerns to the school.
- All sections of the playground are supervised at break times.
- Both Curricular and Extra Curricular Programmes provide pupils with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self worth.
- Educating pupils on appropriate online behaviour, how to stay safe while online and also on developing a culture of reporting any concerns about cyber bullying.
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 (see Section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary School and attached to this Policy Document):
6. Procedures for Reporting and investigating Bullying Incidents
Incidents of bullying should be reported to the class teacher and / or the supervising teacher or Principal for investigation. This reporting may be done by the pupil, parent or a friend. All reported incidents will be noted, investigated and treated as circumstances require. The written notes (template) made will establish whether the behaviour is an isolated case or forms a pattern of repeated behaviour. If the aggressive behaviour is repeated it is considered to be bullying. All cases of bullying will be reported to the Principal. The Principal will then investigate the reported incidents. The Principal will speak with witnesses, bystanders as well as those pupils directly involved. As bullying is regarded as very serious misbehaviour it will be treated as such using the schools code of behaviour. The parent s of both the bullies and victims will be contacted by the Principal. Under no circumstances should parents approach a suspected bully.
7. The schools programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows (see section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools):
Responding to Bullying
Support will be provided for anyone who is bullied by offering him/her an immediate opportunity to talk about their experience with their teacher or Principal along with continuing support when they feel they may need it. A victim will be assured that the school community will help them and put monitoring procedures in place to safeguard them. They are advised that they have made the correct decision in reporting the bullying.
The school will inform the victim’s parents of what has happened and of the measures being taken to help them. The parents will be encouraged to report further incidents if they occur.
Help and support will be sought for a bully. This will include speaking with them to discover why they became involved, informing their parents and continuing to work with them in order to modify their behaviour. The school code of behaviour applies to bullying. The bully will be helped to see things from the victim’s point of view. Bullies may be excluded from the playground at lunch break or subject to special monitoring procedures and if bullying continues they may be suspended in accordance with procedure.
Any pupil who is involved in retaliation against a pupil who reports bullying will be subject to the school Code of Behaviour. Incidents of bullying will be used as opportunities for re-enforcing the Anti-Bullying policy of the school. Follow up meetings may be arranged to assess progress and/or restore relationships. A “check back” procedure between the parents of a victim and the Principal takes place two weeks after the incident.
Form of Action
Our interaction with students has important consequences for the level of bullying in our school
As teachers, we can express our disapproval of bullying whenever it occurs, not only in the classroom but also in the playground.
We can listen sympathetically to children who need support.
In addition we can talk to groups about bullying and encourage them to include victimised children in their activities.
At St. Laurence’s N.S. we encourage any child who is being bullied to:
Go straight to a teacher or tell an adult that he / she trusts.
- Remember that he/she does not deserve to be bullied and that it is wrong.
- Be proud of who he/she is. It is good to be an individual.
- Stay with a group of friends / children.
- Be assertive, shout “No” and walk away confidentially.
- The children are regularly reminded that silence is the bullies’ greatest weapon.
When a bully is identified the school will take the following disciplinary steps.
- Warn the individual to stop offending.
- Inform his/her parents/guardian.
- Inform him/her that they may be excluded from the school grounds at lunch times.
- Inform him/her that they may have to be escorted to and from the school premises.
- Inform him/her they may be suspended for a short period of time and should anti-social behaviour continue the suspension may be lengthened to a longer period.
When a victim is identified the school will support him/her in the following ways by
- Offering him/her an opportunity to talk about the experience.
- Informing the victim’s parents/guardians.
- Offering continued support if it is needed.
- Taking action to prevent a repeat of the incident.
Support for Pupils involved in Bullying Behaviour
As a staff we not only need to discipline offenders, but also to offer them help in the following ways by:
- Talking about the incident.
- Informing the offender’s parents/guardians.
- Working with the offender in order to get rid of prejudiced attitudes as far as possible.
- Taking one or more of the above steps to prevent him/her re-offending.
As a school we strive to promote among students, cooperative and pro-social ways of thinking and behaving. Then all students will benefit in the process of bringing about a happier and more constructive school climate.
When children know that all teachers are actively working to make their school a safe one, and that bullying is not tolerated, they can relax and divert more of their attention to learning.
In conclusion it is stated by the U.N. Charter for Children that:
Every child has a right to an education.
Every child has a right to be safe.
By enforcing our above policy the staff of St. Laurence’s N.S. hopes to recognise, respect and protect those rights.
A positive atmosphere is cultivated within the school, between all staff and pupils where parents are welcomed as partners in the educational process. We wish to develop a sense of community within the school where a sense of belonging to class and school is encouraged and nourished. This is done by developing a caring attitude where each has a responsibility to the others wellbeing.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on 12/11/13 [date].
11. 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.
12. 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 website and provided to the Parents’ Association (where one exists). A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.
Signed:David O`Grady Signed: Nuala Costello
(Chairperson of Board of Management) (Principal)
Date:12/11/13 Date: 12/11/13
Date of next review: February 2017
This Policy should be read in Conjunction with “The Code of Behaviour” of St. Laurence’s National School.