Anti-bullying Policy

 

St. Fergal’s College Anti-bullying policy

We believe that all students have the right to learn, and all adults have a right to work, in an environment which is free from intimidation and fear

Scope

This policy applies to all relationships within the whole school community: students, teachers, management, Board of Management, members of the VEC, parents, office, and all ancillary staff.

 

Rationale

  • Involving and encouraging all members of the school community to participate in formulating and reviewing this policy promotes partnership, ownership and implementation of the living policy
  • The Department of Education and Skills requires schools to have a written policy on bullying.
  • Co. Laois VEC has a statutory obligation to ensure that a policy is in place that reflects the principles, values and educational philosophy of the school.

 

 Links to Mission Statement and Ethos

St. Fergal’s College is a co-educational school which aims to provide a quality education for all our students in a caring and respectful environment. 

We enable students to develop fully a sense of their own unique worth by providing a broadly based curriculum which fosters intellectual, spiritual, moral, emotional and physical growth.

We are committed to promoting good relationships between students, staff, parents and our community.

We aim to create a safe, healthy, learning environment that nurtures self-discipline and encourages our students to take responsibility for their own learning.

 We aim to educate our students not only for now, but also for life.

 

  • Our School aims to provide a working, caring and happy environment in which the potential of every child can be realised.
  • We wish to promote in all our pupils such values as will make them caring, responsible citizens.
  • We believe in the dignity and worth of each individual and in the development of the whole person.
  • All members of staff share these values and work to ensure a pupil-centred approach in which caring is a shared responsibility of all staff.

These values underpin and shape all our school policies.

 

 Aims of our anti-bullying policy

 We will work to create an environment within which positive relationships will be fostered and aggressive behaviour of any sort will be unacceptable. Within such an environment, bullying behaviour will not be tolerated.

 

 Objectives of our anti-bullying policy

  • To clearly define Bullying behaviour.
  • To raise the awareness of the whole school community that bullying behaviour is unacceptable.
  • To foster an ethos which encourages students to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour.
  • To outline preventative measures taken by the school.
  • To explain our procedures for dealing with incidents of bullying behaviour including supports offered to those affected by bullying or involved in bullying.

 

Related school policies and documents

  • Pastoral Care policy
  • SPHE and RSE policies.
  • Child Protection Policy.
  • Code of Behaviour, including  the Discipline policy
  • Critical Incident Policy
  • Substance Mis-use Policy
  • Health & Safety Statement
  • Internet/Acceptable use Policy
  • Mobile phone policy
  • Guidelines on Countering Bullying Behaviour in Primary and Post Primary Schools (DES 1993)
  • Dealing with Bullying in schools: a Consultation with Children and Young People. (Ombudsman for Children, 2013)

 

 Agreed definition of bullying behaviour

Following consultation with Board of Management, teachers, students, parents and ancillary staff, the following definition of bullying behaviour has been agreed:

Bullying is a form of aggressive, hurtful behaviour which is persistent and unprovoked. It involves an abuse of power which has a serious negative effect on the well-being of the victim and there is a deliberate intention to hurt, humiliate or embarrass.

It may take various forms, including physical, verbal, emotional and psychological.

Examples of bullying behaviour include :

Physical: kicking, pushing, tripping, “shouldering”, crowding

Verbal: name-calling, teasing, spreading rumours, gender, sexual or racial innuendo or comment.

Emotional: exclusion and isolation, threatening, pulling faces or other offensive gestures.

Psychological: sending nasty, mean or threatening messages, emails, photos or video clips; silent phone calls; putting up nasty posts or pictures on a message board, website or chat room; saying hurtful things in a chat room; pretending to be someone else in a chat room or message board or text message and saying hurtful things; or accessing someone’s accounts to make trouble for them. (Cyber Bullying).

Cyber bullying most commonly occurs through social networking sites, for example Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Flickr, text/picture/instant messaging, chat rooms, gaming sites and email.  However, the ranges of web-based tools that can be used to cyber bully are constantly changing.

 

Preventive strategies

We believe that the implementation of preventive measures will help to reduce the incidence of bullying behaviour.

Ethos and pastoral care:

Students will be encouraged to treat everyone with respect.

We will seek to be a “listening school”, in which students are encouraged to express their feelings, fears and concerns.

We will promote and reward positive behaviour through measures such as awards for caring and friendliness.

Curriculum:

We will address the issue of bullying specifically in our SPHE programme. This programme will help children to develop a range of skills including assertiveness and communication skills.

The process of teaching and learning provides opportunities to discuss aspects of bullying and to explore appropriate ways of behaving towards one another.

Mentoring:

6th year prefects play a vital role in helping first years settle in to school and through their programmes enable students to speak out about bullying, should it occur. (This is then referred to the care team for action.)

Supervision and CCTV

All corridors and play areas are supervised at lunchtime and break. Supervisors are vigilant in discreetly observing student interactions and will intervene/report as appropriate.  Monitoring by CCTV is part of school policy.

 

Agreed Code of Conduct for the School Community

Students:

Students have an entitlement to be educated in an environment which is safe, caring and respectful of their individual needs.

Students have a responsibility to treat all other students, teachers and other staff with respect. They have a responsibility to refrain from engaging in bullying behaviour and to report it if they are aware of it occurring. This is responsible behaviour, not “telling tales”

Parents:

Parents have an entitlement to expect that their child will be educated in an environment which is safe, caring and respectful of their individual needs.

Parents have a responsibility to ensure that their child co-operates with teachers, other staff and other students. They have a responsibility to inform the school of any incidents of bullying of which they become aware.

Teachers and other staff:

Teachers and other adults in the school community have an entitlement to work in an environment which is characterised by respect and caring for all.

Teachers and other adults in the school community have a responsibility to contribute to the creation of such an environment by treating everyone fairly and with respect and to work for the wellbeing of all students.

 

 Procedures for dealing with incidences of bullying behaviour, including contact with parents and external agencies

Each case of bullying will be dealt with individually and follow-up action will be tailored to meet the individual needs of the students concerned.

The following steps will be followed 

  1.         Reporting of an incident

When a bullying incident is reported, the information will be passed on to the following people, verbally and on an incident report form:

  • The Year Head of any child involved
  • The Principal/ Deputy Principal

 2..        Investigation of an incident

  • The alleged victim and alleged perpetrator(s) will be interviewed and a record made of their responses.
  • Witnesses will be interviewed discreetly and a record made of their responses.
  • The CCTV system will be reviewed to confirm allegations, where possible.

 3.         Agreeing a plan for resolution

  • This school promotes a policy of restorative justice and so students will be encouraged to resolve their differences through supervised discussion.
  • Working with the people concerned, the Year Head/ Deputy Principal/ Principal will devise a plan for resolution of the conflict. This plan (usually verbal) will include targets for acceptable behaviour and will set out support measures which will be provided for the students concerned.
  • The Year head will monitor the progress of the students involved by liaising with class tutor, teachers and follow-up meetings with the students.
  • If deemed appropriate, parents may be contacted.
  • If the behaviour persists the parents/guardians of both the victim and the bully/bullies will be contacted by the Principal/Deputy Principal. They will be invited to attend a meeting in school where their assistance in supporting a resolution to the issue will be sought. Sanctions may be imposed in accordance with the Code of Behaviour.
  • The matter will be referred to the Board of Management if not satisfactorily resolved. Sanctions may be imposed in accordance with the Code of Behaviour.
  • Offenders and victims of bullying may be referred, with their parents’ permission for counselling to the school guidance counsellor. Parents may be advised to ask  their doctor for a referral to the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Service (HSE)
  • Sanctions which may apply, and not necessarily in this order:
    • Good Behaviour Contract
    • School community service
    • Detention
    • Suspension
    • Permanent exclusion

4.         Reviewing the situation

The situation will be monitored and formally reviewed within an agreed time by the Year Head.

 

 Implementation:

Once ratified by the Board of Management this policy will supersede and replace all previous policies and will be effective immediately. All members of the school community will be bound by this policy from the date of ratification.

 

Monitoring and review of the anti-bullying policy

Implementation of this policy will be monitored by the Principal and teachers. This policy will be formally evaluated and reviewed every three years by representatives of all sections of the school community.

Ratified by the Board of Management on 20th March 2013.