Anti-Bullying Policy

We Are a Listening School
1.      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 Presentation Secondary School, Wexford 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.

2.      The Board of Management recognises the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact that it can have on the lives of students 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-
o   is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity;
o   encourages students to seek help from an adult to resolve friendship or relationship issues
o   encourages students to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour in a non-threatening environment;
o   promotes respectful relationships across the school community;
·         Implementation of education and prevention strategies (including awareness raising measures) that-
o   build empathy, respect and resilience in students; and
o   explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying
·         Effective leadership;
·         A school-wide approach;
·         A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact;
·         Effective supervision and monitoring of students;
·         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.

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:
o   deliberate exclusion, malicious gossip and other forms of relational bullying,
o   cyber-bullying and
o   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, which is available online on the school website.

(See Appendix 2 for examples of bullying behaviour)

4.      The Relevant Teachers for investigating and dealing with bullying are as follows:
o   Year Heads, Deputy Principal, Principal.
o   Any teacher may act as a relevant teacher if circumstances warrant it.
(see section 6.8 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools, as above)

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:
a)      SPHE/RSE Programme: Anti-Bullying curricular requirements are met within these classes. These classes aim to help students to build empathy, respect and resilience and enable students to develop a sense of self-worth. These classes provide initiatives and programmes focused on developing understanding and awareness of bullying and address identity-based bullying. Bystanders or “Silent Witnesses”, are encouraged and supported through the programme to report incidents of bullying.
b)      Digital Citizenship Programme: First year students are taught “Netiquette” which focuses on responsibility and safety when using the internet. Students are given the skills to protect themselves from cyber-bullying, and are taught how to manage themselves if they are a victim of cyber-bullying.
c)      The “Meitheal” Mentoring Programme and the Prefect System: help to foster mutual respect among students.  Students who are successful in gaining a place on either of these programs will typically model respect in their dealings with fellow students.
d)      Anti-Bullying workshops: workshops delivered by Wexford Local Development (WLD) and other outside agencies are dependent on funding being available. When possible, the school avails of any opportunity and assigns workshops to relevant year groups.
e)    Anti-Bullying Week: an assigned week dedicated to the promotion of our Anti-Bullying policy and the promotion of good friendships.  The expectation is that this is a cross-curricular initiative and involves all students and all teachers. Typically, awareness around the issue of bullying is raised, and the message that “We Are a Listening School” is reinforced throughout the week. The aim is that students will be more aware of what bullying is and that it is not acceptable.
f)       The iPad management company: the management company attached to the school provides talks and information for parents regarding safety protocols for their children on the internet.  They also provide guidance in using and sourcing appropriate sites.
g)      Garda Liaison Officer:  On occasion the G.L.O. is invited into the school to give talks on cyber-bullying including its effects and consequences.  The focus of these talks is on the legal implications of bullying.
h)      The Parents’ Council: Parents’ Council organises information talks from time to time for parents on Anti-Bullying and Internet Safety.
i)        Anti-Bullying Policy: our policy is published on our website and includes links to appropriate websites for information on bullying. Attention is drawn to this section of our website at Parent Information nights. The Anti-Bullying Policy is included on the agenda for start of year staff meetings. Time is allowed to discuss any specific aspects of bullying if and when needed or in the course of the annual review.
j)        Year Head Assemblies:  at the start of each school year and during the year the Year Head emphasises the need for mutual respect at student assemblies. The attention of students is drawn to the school’s Anti-Bullying Policy.  This message is reinforced by Management, Year Head, Tutor, and Class Teachers throughout the year.
k)      Promoting Self Esteem: all teachers endeavor to build up the self-esteem of each student in their care.  A student with high self-esteem is less likely to be bullied and if bullied will be better equipped to deal appropriately with the issue.
l)        Agreed Classroom Rules: discussion and agreement of the Classroom Rules involving teachers and students in the classroom at the beginning of the school year reinforces the importance of mutual respect between all members of the school community.
m)    Promoting wellness and good friendship: Ideas and initiatives to promote wellness and good friendships are promoted and encouraged throughout the year.
n)      Students with Special Education Needs: with reference to students identified with Special Needs, it is the responsibility of each teacher to differentiate and to make information on Anti-Bullying accessible. If a teacher is concerned that a student with a diagnosed SEN needs further help in accessing such information, they must make a referral in writing to the Resource Dept, briefly outlining the areas of difficulty for the student.

  1. 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:
    a)      Students or other individuals shall report incidents to any teacher.  This teacher will use his/her professional judgement to determine where it is potentially a bullying incident in which case he/she will pass the concern to the relevant teacher.
    b)      All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher.
    c)      The relevant teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved.
    d)      The primary aim for the relevant teacher in investigating and dealing with bullying will be to resolve any issues and to restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved (rather than to apportion blame).  This will be done using the School’s Restorative Practices Process – (see Appendix 1).
    e)      During and following the Restorative Practices Process, the relevant teacher will take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach when dealing with incidents of alleged bullying behaviour reported by students, staff or Parent(s)/Guardian(s).
    f)       Parent(s)/Guardian(s) and students are required to co-operate with any investigation and assist the school in resolving any issues and restoring, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved as quickly as possible.
    g)      Where the relevant teacher has determined that a student has been engaged in bullying behaviour, it will be made clear to her how she is in breach of the school’s Anti-Bullying Policy and efforts will be made to try to get her to see the situation from the perspective of the student being bullied.
    h)      In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, the Parent(s)/Guardian(s) of the parties involved will be contacted as soon as is practicable, to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken. If required, the school will give Parent(s)/Guardian(s) an opportunity of discussing ways in which they can reinforce and support the actions being taken by the school and inform them of the supports available for their daughters.
    i)        It will be made clear to all involved (each set of students and Parent(s)/Guardian(s)) that in any situation where disciplinary sanctions are required, this is a private matter between the student being disciplined, his or her Parent(s)/Guardian(s) and the school.
    j)        In cases where the relevant teacher considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed by the parties involved within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour has occurred, it must be recorded by the relevant teacher in the school’s official recording sheet.
    k)      The relevant teacher needs to make a professional judgement whether the bullying case has been adequately and appropriately addressed.In determining whether a bullying case has been adequately and appropriately addressed the relevant teacher will, 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 Parent(s)/Guardian(s) or the school Principal or Deputy Principal.

 

l.) Bullying behaviour which is deemed to be very serious or bullying behaviour which persists will be referred to the Principal who will take any necessary action which may include suspension and/or referral to the Board of Management as per the school’s Code of Behaviour.  The Board may impose further sanctions up to and including expulsion.
m)    In certain circumstances where it is deemed appropriate referral will be made to relevant external agencies and authorities.
n)      Where a parent is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the Parent(s)/Guardian(s) will be referred, as appropriate, to the school’s complaints procedures.
o)      In the event that a parent has exhausted the school’s complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school will advise the Parent(s)/Guardian(s) of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.

Procedures for recording bullying behaviour:
While all reports including anonymous reports of bullying will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher, the relevant teacher will use his/her professional judgement in relation to the records to be kept of these reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same.
·         If it is established by the relevant teacher that bullying has occurred, the relevant teacher will keep appropriate written records which will assist his/her efforts to resolve the issues and restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved.
·         The relevant teacher will use the school’s official recording sheet (Appendix 3) to record the bullying behaviour in the following circumstances:
i.            in cases where he/she considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed by the parties involved within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour occurred; and

ii.            where an incident is deemed by the teacher to be significantly serious to warrant immediate recording and reporting to the Principal or Deputy Principal.

In each of the circumstances at (i) and (ii) above, the school’s official recording sheet must be completed in full and retained by the teacher in question and a copy provided to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable.
It should also be noted that the timeline for recording bullying behaviour in the school’s official recording sheet does not in any way preclude the relevant teacher from consulting the Principal or Deputy Principal at an earlier stage in relation to a case.
·         All records will be maintained in accordance with relevant data protection legislation.

7.      The school’s programme of support for working with students affected by bullying is as follows:
•          Restorative Practice Model: the relevant teacher will engage with those involved using this support structure (See Appendix 1).
•          Year Head/ Tutor may engage with students involved in bullying incidents in a supportive role and also encourage students who observe bullying behaviour to report it. The relevant teacher will also check that the bullying behaviour has discontinued.
•          SPHE programme: gives students an opportunity to discuss and reflect on the topic of bullying through several SPHE modules including Belonging and Integrating, Communication Skills, Friendship, Emotional Health and  Influences and Decisions. These topics help students to learn coping strategies for dealing      with bullying. The coping strategies applied give students an opportunity to develop their self-esteem, friendship and social skills along with feelings of self-worth. A student involved in bullying behaviour has an opportunity to reflect on their communication skills and how her behaviour impacts on other students.
•          Meitheal leaders/ Prefect system: the Meitheal programme offers peer support by older to younger students. Meitheal leaders check in regularly with their assigned classes giving younger students an opportunity to seek advice or help. The prefect acts as a class representative. If students are unhappy with a class situation they can report this to the prefect, who in turn can discuss the situation with a teacher.
•          Guidance Counsellor/ School Counsellor: the relevant teacher, student or parent can refer to the Guidance Counsellor or School Counsellor. It is recognised that students affected by bullying or who engage in bullying behaviour may need counselling to raise their self-esteem, to develop their friendship and social skills and thereby build resilience whenever this is needed. Students who engage in bullying behaviour may also need counselling to help them learn other ways of meeting their needs without violating the rights of others. These students may need ongoing assistance and may be referred to outside agencies/services as appropriate.
•          Outside referrals may be made to relevant professionals, when deemed appropriate, in consultation with parents.
•          The Parents’ Council may also be a means of support by running workshops for parents to offer support and advice.
•          Websites: links for support documentation are available on the school website www.preswex.ie

For students

http://www.barnardos.ie/resources-advice/young-people/teen-help/bullying.html

https://www.childline.ie/index.php/support/bullying/1395

http://www.letsomeoneknow.ie/common_problems/bullying/

http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/Publications/services/Children/Cool%20School%20Bullying%20Project%20Tips%20for%20Teens.pdf

For parents

http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/Publications/services/Children/whatparentsneedtoknow.pdf

8.      Supervision and Monitoring of Students
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 students or staff or the harassment of students 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 has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website and is also readily accessible to parents and students on request and provided to the Parents’ Association.  A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the Trustees if requested.

11.  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 readily accessible to parents and students on request and provided to the Parents’ Association. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the Trustees and the Department of Education and Skills.

Note:
a)      The school reserves the right to apply its anti-bullying policy in respect of bullying that occurs at a location, activity, function or program that is not school related if in the opinion of the Principal and /or the Board of Management the alleged bullying has created a hostile environment at school for the victim, has infringed on the rights of the victim at the school and/or has materially or substantially disrupted the education process or the orderly operation of the school.
b)      This document should be read in conjunction with the school’s Code of Behaviour.

This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on ________________ .

Signed: _________________________________      Signed: ___________________________

(Chairperson of Board of Management)                                  (Principal)

Date: ______________                                                                               Date: __________________

Appendix 1:

Restorative Practice Process:

Restorative Practices is a process to restore and build relationships. The Restorative Practices (RP) concept focuses on repairing the harm done to people and relationships. RP involves bringing parties together in a circle with the aim of resolving any issues and restoring, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved rather than apportioning blame (although restorative practices does not preclude the applying of sanctions when and where appropriate). Restorative Practices makes use of two sets of restorative questions: one for addressing challenging behaviour, the other for addressing someone who has been harmed by another. Where two parties have mutually hurt each other, both sets of questions may be drawn on interchangeably. Restorative questions separate people’s behaviour from their intrinsic worth as a person, allowing them to admit their mistakes, take responsibility for righting their wrongs and be given an opportunity to change.

The use of restorative practices to address bullying behaviour serves the function of restoring and building relationships. It helps an offender to come to an understanding of the effect of the bullying behaviour and in promoting the expression of positive emotions, encourages her to make positive changes and to make up for any harm done. Similarly, RP gives the person harmed an opportunity to express her feelings and to indicate her desire for bullying behaviour to stop. It supports the one harmed to express positive emotions and to request that bullying behaviour be stopped, thus empowering her and building self-esteem.

Restorative Practices makes a crucial distinction between punishment and natural consequences. A punishment is a response to wrongdoing which is intended to inflict some kind of suffering or inconvenience and is done to someone in the hope of changing behaviour. A natural consequence, on the other hand, is a response to wrongdoing that follows logically from what has occurred and works with students who may come up with the natural consequence themselves. Natural consequences may also come from teachers or management. The difference is that students are helped to understand why it follows logically from the behaviour to which it is a response.

Appendix 2:

Examples of bullying behaviours
Additional information on different types of bullying is set out in Section 2 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-primary Schools.

General  behaviours which apply to all
·            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”
·            Invasion of personal space
·            A combination of any of the types listed.

 

Cyber
·            Denigration: Spreading rumors, lies or gossip to hurt a person’s reputation
·            Harassment: Continually sending vicious, mean or disturbing messages to an individual
·            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 telephone/mobile phone calls
·            Abusive text messages
·            Abusive email
·            Abusive communication on social networks e.g. Facebook/Ask.fm/ Twitter/You Tube or on games consoles
·            Abusive website comments/Blogs/Pictures
·            Abusive posts on any form of communication technology

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).

 

Homophobic and Transgender
·            Spreading rumours about a person’s sexual orientation
·            Taunting a person of a different sexual orientation
·            Name calling e.g. Gay, queer, lesbian…used in a derogatory manner
·            Physical intimidation or attacks
·            Threats

 

Race, nationality, ethnic background 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

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”

Sexual
·            Unwelcome or inappropriate  sexual comments or touching
·            Harassment

Special Educational Needs, Disability

  • Name calling
  • Taunting others because of their disability or learning needs
  • Taking advantage of some pupils’ vulnerabilities and limited capacity to recognise and defend themselves against bullying
  • Taking advantage of some pupils’ vulnerabilities and limited capacity to understand social situations and social cues.
  • Mimicking a person’s disability
  • Setting others up for ridicule

Appendix 3:

OFFICIAL SCHOOL RECORD OF BULLYING BEHAVIOUR

PRESENTATION SECONDARY SCHOOL WEXFORD

1. Name of pupil being bullied and class group

Name:  ________________________________       Class:  __________

2. Name(s) and class(es) of pupil(s) engaged in bullying behaviour

3. Source of bullying concern/report                                        4. Location of incidents                                               (tick relevant box(es))                                                                  (tick relevant box(es))

Pupil concerned

School Grounds

Other Pupil

Classroom

Parent

Corridor

Teacher

Toilets

Other

School Bus

Social/Digital Media

Other

5. Name of person(s) who reported the bullying concern

6.  Type of bullying behaviour (tick relevant box(es))

Physical Aggression

Cyber-bullying

Damage to Property

Intimidation

Isolation/ Exclusion

Malicious Gossip

Name Calling

Other (Specify)

7. Where behaviour is regarded as identity-based bullying, indicate the relevant category:

Homophobic

Disability / SEN related

Racist

Membership of Traveller community

Other (specify)

8. Brief description of bullying behaviour and its impact

9. Details of actions taken

Signed:            __________________________                    Date:  ___________

(Relevant Teacher)

Date Submitted to Principal / Deputy Principal:  ___________

Signed:            ____________________________                Date:   __________

(Principal / Deputy Principal)