Anti-Bullying Policy

Scoil Lorcáin aims to provide a friendly, well-ordered atmosphere where ‘each child is encouraged to achieve his full potential in a harmonious environment of mutual respect through co-operation between staff, pupils, parents and local community’.

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 (BOM) of Scoil Lorcáin BNS has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the framework of the school’s overall code of behaviour. The 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 BOM 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 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 whole 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
  • 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, investigating and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies); and
  • Ongoing 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:

  • Deliberate exclusion, malicious gossip and other forms of relational bullying
  • Cyber bullying
  • 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 will be dealt with as 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.

4.         The relevant teacher for investigating and dealing with bullying is the class teacher

  • All reports of bullying must be dealt with initially by the class teacher
  • The issue may be referred to the Principal, Mr. Harry Flynn, Deputy Principal, Mr. John Keegan or HSCL teacher, Mrs. Lisa Bouchier
  • Serious cases should be referred immediately to the Principal or Deputy Principal

5.         The Education and Prevention Strategies

(including strategies specifically aimed at cyber bullying and identity-based bullying) will be as follows:

      

  • Creation of a culture of “telling”.
  • Teachers should repeatedly reinforce the message that if anyone is the victim of bullying behaviour, they should not retaliate in any way, but they should tell an adult. Victims should be reassured that if they tell, something will be done about the bullying in a safe manner and all reported incidents will be dealt with.
  • Class lessons to be provided to enable pupils “how to tell” (telling protocol, language of telling, tips for children from website www.antibullying.ie)
  • Bystanders can be the key to resolving bullying and if anyone witnesses bullying behaviour, they should always tell a teacher. This is not telling tales but a means of protecting victims.
  • A “Worry Box” to be put in each class from 2nd class upwards

Raising the awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour by

  • Displaying school’s anti-bullying statement (Bullying is wrong and is not tolerated in Scoil Lorcáin) in school foyer and other prominent places around the school environment and going over aspects of bullying. (What is bullying? What is not bullying? What to do if you feel you are being bullied? What to do if you see somebody else being bullied?)
  • Display key respect messages in classrooms, GP Room and around the school. Involve pupils in the development of these messages.
  • Actively promote the right of every member of the school community to feel safe and secure in school.
  • Engaging in formal teaching within the class setting. The curriculum can be used to raise awareness, develop empathy and create positive values.
  • SPHE- specific provision for exploring bullying as well as inter-related areas of belonging and integrating.
  • RSE- exploring friendship and conflict resolution.
  • Drama- pupils can get into role and confront difficult emotions in a safe context.
  • Stay Safe- personal safety skills programme: recognize and cope with bullying.
  • Quality Circle Time- pupils learn to name and express their feelings, solve problems and create positive self esteem in a safe group setting.
  • Poetry, music, song literature and film- as a means of raising awareness.
  • Promoting self-esteem: focus on their success and learn positive self talk.
  • Pupils can express themselves through visual arts to create posters, write their own poems and stories, work collaboratively on the theme of bullying.
  • Creating an Anti-bullying Awareness Day for school community about bullying, once per term. This will involve discussion, anti – bullying games, poster/slogan competitions. Notify parents via text/ newsletter.
  • Invite parents and staff to talks to increase awareness and understanding of bullying.
  • Parental Support for Bullying: Tips for Parents will be available on the school website as an Appendix in the Anti-Bullying Policy. It will be available in the school’s homework journal from September 2014.
  • Pupil Supports for Bullying: Age appropriate strategies will be taught to pupils.

Other strategies

  • Formal programmes of work/ websites are a vital element in raising children’s self-esteem and equipping children to cope with bullying behaviour e.g. Walk Tall, Alive-O, Webwise, www.antibullying.ie, Roots of Empathy Programme (1st Class), Socially Speaking Programme, Social Skills Training Programme, Cool Schools Programme (N.E.H.B.), “The smarts” programme.
  • Teacher recognition of good behavior by pupils. Positive reinforcement by teachers in classroom setting (Class Dojo, Students of the Week, Golden Time, spot prizes, stars, stickers etc.).
  • Acknowledging incidents of good and improved behaviour and showing acts of kindness at class level and throughout the school e.g. Reward Jar
  • Encouraging students to look out for each other and to be responsible for their own behaviour.
  • Modelling of respectful behaviour and language by teachers and staff.    
  • Mindfulness for children: a quiet, reflective time for pupils.
  • All teachers are required to be vigilant on yard duty. Increase observation and supervision, if deemed necessary.
  • Risk analysis of ‘hot spots’ and ‘hot times’.
  • Immediate affirmation of children who report incidents of bullying which they have witnessed.    
  • Each class to have a set of class rules which compliment the school’s Code of Behaviour.      
  • Display signs around the school.
  • Prevention and awareness should take particular account of the needs of pupils with disability or SEN- improving inclusion, focusing on developing social skills, paying attention to key moments such as transfer to post primary school.
  • Prevention and awareness raising measures specifically related to Cyber-bullying- online appropriate behaviour, how to stay safe online, and developing a culture of reporting any concerns about online bullying. Ensure supervision at all times when pupils can access the internet.
  • Sanctions for unauthorised use of the internet/electronic devices in school will be imposed as per the Code of Behaviour and AUP.
  • Importance of Play in Infant yard: Parents are encouraged to play traditional games.
  • Playground Big Brother Buddies- 4th Class volunteers to help Senior Infants/ 2nd Class Volunteers to help Junior Infants

6.         Investigation and Intervention Strategies:

Incidents of Bullying will be dealt with in the following manner;

  • All reports of bullying must be dealt with initially by class teacher, with due regards to the rights of all pupils concerned.
  • When investigating the teacher should take calm, unemotional and sensitive problem-solving approach.
  • When a pupil tells a teacher he is being bullied, it is important to gather all of the facts from both sides (What, where, when, who, why?). This will involve speaking with the alleged bully and victim separately and notes are taken.
  • The school through the ‘Relevant Teacher’ reserves the right to ask any pupil to write an account of what happened, as part of an investigation. This does not necessarily imply that a pupil is guilty of misbehaviour.    
  • The teacher’s notes are brief, factual and should be void of emotional or judgemental language.
  • Instances are investigated, where practicable, outside the classroom and where possible, a witness is present.
  • In investigating and dealing with bullying, the teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best to resolve the situation.
  • Non teaching staff will be encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them to the relevant teacher.
  • Pupils who are not directly involved can also provide useful information.
  • The aim for the class teacher in investigating and dealing with bullying is to resolve any issues and to restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved (rather than to apportion blame).
  • When any form of bullying has occurred, the teacher will meet with the parents of both parties separately to inform them of the matter. The parents will be informed that the pupil’s behaviour is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy. The parents will be given an opportunity of discussing ways in which they can reinforce and support the actions being taken by the school.
  • Parents and pupils are required to co-operate with any investigations and assist the school in resolving any issues and restoring, as far is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved as quickly as possible.
  • Any sanctions imposed will follow the school’s Code of Behaviour Policy and is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, his parents and the school.
  • It is explained to the alleged bully how hurtful his behaviour is and attempts are made to encourage him to empathise with the alleged victim.
  • The child/ children involved will be asked to sign ‘Pupil Behaviour Agreement’
  • If a further incident occurs, it will be recorded on Appendix 1 and will be referred to the Principal or Deputy Principal.
  • At least once every school term the Principal will provide a report to the BOM setting out the overall number of bullying cases reported by means of this template and confirmation that all cases are being dealt with in accordance with procedure.

7.         The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:

            Pupils who have been bullied

  • Pupils are reassured from the outset that they are not to blame.
  • Strategies for restoring self-esteem are explored between teacher and parents/guardians.
  • Where deemed necessary, the child in consultation with parents may be referred for counseling.
  • Pupils may be chosen for Drama/ Art/ Gardening Therapy sessions.
  • The parents of the pupils concerned will be advised to contact the local Gardai if appropriate.

            Pupils involved in bullying behaviour

  • Pupils who follow the Pupil Behaviour Agreement are acknowledged and praised.
  • Where deemed necessary, the child in consultation with parents may be referred for counselling. They may need to learn other ways of meeting their needs without violating the rights of others. Empathy awareness needs to be developed.
  • Pupils may be chosen for Drama Therapy sessions and personal development groups.
  • Clinical referral and assessment may be necessary.

8.         Supervision and Monitoring of pupils:

        The BOM 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 BOM 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 10.03.14 .

11.       This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website and provided to the Parents’ Association (where one exists). 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 and published on the school website. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.

Signed ___________________                             Signed ___________________

(Chairperson of BOM)                                            (Principal)

Date ____________________                              Date ____________________