ST. PATRICK’S NATIONAL SCHOOL
St. Patrick’s NS thanks you for reading this very important policy. We want to prevent and tackle bullying behaviour. We encourage everyone to become very familiar with this policy.
This policy has been devised by the teaching staff in order to raise awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour. It is for the information of school management, teaching and non-teaching staff, pupils and parents/guardians. We endeavour to create a school ethos which encourages children to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour.
To make it easier for you to quickly read this policy, the Contents includes links to whatever part you are most interested in.
1. Full Compliance
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. Patrick’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.
2. Key Principles of Best Practice
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:
3. The Definition of Bullying
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:
Isolated or once-off incidents of intentional negative behaviour 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 our 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.
This policy applies to activities and events that take place:
St. Patrick’s NS reserves the right to take action against bullying perpetrated outside the school which spills over into the school.
4. Who Is Responsible For Doing What
The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying are as follows:
Those Responsible For Implementing This Policy:
Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) will assist teachers in monitoring pupils and activities on yard
Note: The “relevant” teacher is normally the class teacher.
5. Our Education and Prevention Strategies
The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber bullying, homophobic and transphobic bullying) that will be used by the school are as follows:
St. Patrick’s NS, January 20th 2014
ANTI BULLYING POLICY – Review
Department of Education and Science Initiatives
(1) Task force on bullying report to Minister Jan 2013
(2) New guidelines issued by DES in Sept 2013
(3) DES advise that new policy must be in place by Easter 2014
St. Patrick’s NS Action Plan
10. Student Council to organise Positive Play strategy for Junior Yard (February 2nd)
11. Staff meeting February 3rd :
Review of Pupil survey results;
Review and examination of education & prevention strategies.
Examination of DES reporting template for teachers.
Read draft policy
12. Student council review pupil survey results (February 10th )
Discuss possibilities for Anti-bullying Campaign
13. Safer Internet Day February 11th & launch of IT Pupils Committee Cyber-bullying Campaign
14. Parents Association: review draft template of policy (February 14th – 21st )
15. Staff meeting March 3rd– staff discuss draft policy
16. Parents vote their approval of final draft: March 5th -10th
17. BOM approves final draft March 11th
18. Policy posted on school website: Week of March 17th
19. Student Council Anti-bullying Campaign to begin
20. Termly Assemblies focusing on aspect of bullying prevention & positive play
Our Child-Friendly Version of the ISPCC Shield Statements
1. Bullying can happen, anywhere.
2. We at St. Patrick’s NS have thought about this. We have a plan to limit and stop bullying. Our plan is on our website.
3. We do what we say in our plan. We work together to stop bullying. We make a record of bullying events. Every now and again we try to improve our plan.
4. St. Patrick’s students, parents, staff, and community shared ideas to create the plan, and will keep talking together to make sure the plan works.
5. We at St. Patrick’s NS love and appreciate that we’re all different and equal.
6. We all – staff and students – keep our eyes and ears open for bullying and we take action to stop it.
7. We all – staff and students – keep learning how best to respond to bullying. We must keep trying to improve.
8. In class we talk about bullying with the whole class at least once a term. We also learn about how to deal with situations through SPHE. We look for the good in everyone. We aim to build each other up and never knock anyone down.
9. Any child at St. Patrick’s NS can talk to a trusted adult at our school about their feelings and worries. Adults will listen to and support every child.
10. All children including bystanders can report any bullying behaviour to any adult at St. Patrick’s NS.
Note: These Shield statements are taught to all pupils. Once a month, the Student Council will go to each class and discuss them with the students. They will be discussed at assembly once a term. They will be displayed on posters throughout the school.
6. Our Procedures Re Bullying Behaviour
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:
Children should understand there are no innocent bystanders if they remain passive where bullying is concerned—All bystanders must report bullying. The issue of Bystanders will be a teaching focus in class and at assembly.
7. The School’s Programme of Support
The school’s Programme of Support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
8. Cyber Bullying
Cyber bullying includes (but is not limited to) communicating via electronic means with the objective of causing hurt, fear, embarrassment, humiliation, alarm and/or distress to one or more persons.
Cyber bullying includes the use of mobile phones and the internet with the objective of upsetting someone.
It may take the form of general insults or impersonation, defamation or prejudice‑based bullying.
Unlike other forms of bullying a once-off posting can constitute bullying.
While this policy addresses issues related to cyber bullying of students (i.e. situations in which one or more students are the victim[s]
of bullying), the policy also applies to teaching and other school staff.
Key Measures re Cyber Bullying
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. Date This Policy Was Adopted
This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on:
12. Availability of This Policy
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 given to all parents on ratification and from there forth, on enrolment every year. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.
13. Review of This Policy
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.
A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.
Signed: ____________________ Signed: ___________________________
(Chairperson of Board of Management) (Principal)
Date: ______________________ Date: ____________________________
Appendix (1): Template for Recording Bullying Behaviour
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)
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 (additional notes can be attached)
9. Details of action taken (additional notes can be attached)
Signed: _________________________ (Relevant Teacher) Date: ___________________
Date Submitted to Principal/ Deputy Principal: _____________________________
Appendix (2): How You Can Support Your Child
(A) Support Re Cyber Bullying
(B) Support Re Other Types of Bullying
(A) Support Re Cyber Bullying
We endorse the advice given from the Irish ‘Sticks and Stones’ Anti-Bullying Programme. A representative, Patricia Kennedy, wrote the following words in the Irish Daily Mail on October 31, 2012:
“Cyberbullying is NOT 24/7; it’s only 24/7 if a child is allowed access to their phone or the internet. Don’t let your own ignorance get in the way of common sense. A simple rule is ‘no phones after bedtime.’ Have a drawer in the kitchen that all phones are left in.
… Try turning off the wifi when you are going to bed to make sure there are no 3am online arguments. The anti-bullying initiative I represent, Sticks and Stones, work with children from all backgrounds, from designated disadvantaged schools to fee-paying schools, and we are constantly surprised at the level of innocence that most children have in relation to the ‘friends’ they make online.
They don’t think there are any dangers involved in chatting with strangers online, and they don’t think there are any repercussions involved for them regarding what they post.
… In our anti-bullying workshops, children tell us one of the reasons they don’t ‘tell’ about bullying is that parents ‘overreact’. Don’t be that parent.
If your child tells you that they are being bullied — don’t lose your temper; above all don’t threaten to take their phone or internet access away — you’re just guaranteeing they’ll never tell you anything again.
Remain calm and ask questions — who, what, why, where, when. Get the facts, write it down, keep the text/phone messages or take a screen shot from the computer so you are informed when you approach the school, internet or phone provider, or gardaí.
Talk to your children; let them know they can talk to you; keep the channels of communication open.”
And we endorse the advice given by the USA’s Federal Department of Health:
“Be Aware of What Your Kids are Doing Online
Talk with your kids about cyberbullying and other online issues regularly.
Know the sites your kids visit and their online activities. Ask where they’re going, what they’re doing, and who they’re doing it with.
Tell your kids that as a responsible parent you may review their online communications if you think there is reason for concern. Installing parental control filtering software or monitoring programs are one option for monitoring your child’s online behaviour, but do not rely solely on these tools.
Have a sense of what they do online and in texts. Learn about the sites they like. Try out the devices they use.
Ask for their passwords, but tell them you’ll only use them in case of emergency.
Ask to “friend” or “follow” your kids on social media sites or ask another trusted adult to do so.
Encourage your kids to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know, is being cyberbullied. Explain that you will not take away their computers or mobile phones if they confide in you about a problem they are having.
Establish Rules about Technology Use
Establish rules about appropriate use of computers, mobile phones, and other technology. For example, be clear about what sites they can visit and what they are permitted to do when they’re online. Show them how to be safe online.
Help them be smart about what they post or say. Tell them not to share anything that could hurt or embarrass themselves or others. Once something is posted, it is out of their control whether someone else will forward it.
Encourage kids to think about who they want to see the information and pictures they post online. Should complete strangers see it? Real friends only? Friends of friends? Think about how people who aren’t friends could use it.
Tell kids to keep their passwords safe and not share them with friends. Sharing passwords can compromise their control over their online identities and activities.”
(B) Support Re Other Types of Bullying
Teaching a child to say “NO” in a good assertive tone of voice will help deal with many situations. A child’s self image and body language may send out messages to potential bullies.
Parents should approach their child’s teacher by appointment if the bullying is school related. It is important for you to understand that bullying in school can be difficult for teachers to detect because of the large numbers of children involved. Teachers will appreciate bullying being brought to light. School bullying requires that parents and teachers work together for a resolution.
Sometimes parental advice to a child is to “hit back” at the bully if the abuse is physical. This is not always realistic as it requires a huge amount of courage and indeed sometimes makes the situation worse.
Children should not be encouraged to engage in violent behaviour. Teaching children to be more assertive and to tell is far more positive and effective.
It is important to be realistic; it will not be possible for a single child to assert his/her rights if attacked by a group. Children should be advised to get away and tell in situations such as this.
Keep an account of incidents to help you assess how serious the problem is. Many children with a little help overcome this problem very quickly.
What If Your Child Is Bullying?
1. Don’t panic. This may be a temporary response to something else in the child’s life e.g. a new baby, a death in the family, a difficult home problem etc. Give your child an opportunity to talk about anything that could be upsetting him/her.
2. Don’t punish bullying by being a bully yourself. Hitting and verbal attack will make the situation worse. Talk to your child and try to find out if there is a problem. Explain how the victim felt. Try to get the child to understand the victim’s point of view. This would need to be done over time.
3. Bullies often suffer low self esteem. Use every opportunity you can to praise good, considerate, helpful behaviour. Don’t only look for negatives.
4. Talk to your child’s teacher and find out more about your child’s school behaviour. Enlist the teacher’s help in dealing with this. It is important that you both take the same approach.
5. If the situation is serious you may need to ask the school or G.P. to refer your child to the child guidance clinic for help.
APPENDIX (3): Types of Behaviour Involved in Cyber Bullying
These guidelines provide assistance in identifying and describing the types of behaviour involved in cyber bullying. The means of cyber bullying are constantly changing, and the following list of types of bullying behaviour can be expanded in light of the experience of the school community:
Types of Behaviour in Cyber Bullying…
personal details or linking to their social network page.
APPENDIX (4): Procedures for Investigating and Dealing with Bullying.
Teachers are advised to take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach. Some incidents are best investigated outside the classroom situation.
Teacher/Principal Teacher should speak separately to the children involved in an attempt to get all sides of the story.
All interviews with the children should be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils involved.
(1) Seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why in a non-aggressive, calm manner.
(2) If a gang is involved, each member shall be interviewed separately
(3) The gang should then be met as a group. Each member should be asked for his/her account of what happened to ensure that everyone is clear about what everyone else has said.
(4) Teachers/Principal who are investigating cases of bullying behaviour should keep a written record of their discussions with those involved. It may be helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident.
(5) If it is concluded that a pupil has been engaged in bullying behaviour, it should be made clear to him/her how he/she is in breach of the Code of Behaviour.
(6) In cases where it has been determined that bullying behaviour has occurred, it may be necessary to meet with the parents / guardians of one or more parties to the incident.
(7) In meetings with parents, teachers / principal should explain the actions being taken and the reasons for them. Concrete measures by which parents can reinforce or support the actions taken by the school should be agreed upon.
(8) Follow-up meetings with the two parties involved may be arranged separately with a view to bringing them together at a later date if appropriate.
APPENDIX 5: Rule 130 Rules for National Schools
(As amended by Circular 7/88)
(1) The Board of Management has ultimate responsibility for
discipline in the school under its management and a duty to ensure a fair code of discipline applies therein. This code should be formulated by the principal and the teaching staff in consultation with parents and be approved by the Board.
(2) Teachers should have a lively regard for the improvement
and general welfare of their pupils, treat them with kindness combined with firmness and should aim at governing them through their affections and reason and not by harshness and severity. Ridicule, sarcasm or remarks likely to undermine a pupil’s self-confidence should not be used in any circumstances.
(3) The use of corporal punishment is forbidden.
(4) Any teacher who contravenes sections (2) and (3) of this rule will be regarded as guilty of conduct unbefitting a teacher and will be subject to severe disciplinary action.
(5) Where the Board of Management deems it necessary to make provision in the code of discipline to deal with continuously disruptive pupils or with a serious breach of discipline, by authorizing the Chairperson or Principal to exclude a pupil or pupils from school, the maximum initial period of such exclusion shall be three school days. A special decision of the Board of Management is necessary to authorize a further period of exclusion up to a maximum of ten school days – to allow for consultation with the pupils or pupil’s parents or guardians. In exceptional circumstances, the Board of Management may authorize a further period of exclusion in order to enable the matter to be reviewed.
(6) No pupil shall be struck off the rolls for breaches of discipline without the prior consent of the patron and unless alternative arrangements are made for the enrolment of the pupil at another suitable school.
See Education Act 1998, Education Welfare Act 2000 & Education Amendment Act 2012