Anti- Bullying Policy
- Bullying is defined as repeated physical, verbal or psychological aggression conducted by an individual or group against others.
- Bullying behaviour may undermine the quality of a pupil’s education and impose psychological damage.
- Bullying behaviour affects not only those immediately involved but also other members of the community.
- Pupils who are bullied may develop feelings of insecurity and extreme anxiety.
Indications of Bullying Behaviour – Signs and Symtoms:
- Anxiety about travelling to or from school.
- Unwillingness to go to school.
- Deterioration in educational performance.
- Patterns of physical illness.
- Unexplained changes either in mood or behaviour.
- Visible signs of anxiety or distress, stammering, nightmares, crying and not eating.
- Possessions missing or damaged.
- Increased requests for money or stealing money.
- Unexplained bruising, cuts or damaged clothing.
- Reluctance to say what is troubling him/her.
The aims of this statement are to prevent and deal with bullying behaviour by:
- developing a school ethos which encourages children to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour.
- raising awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour with school management, teachers, pupils, parents/guardians.
- ensuring comprehensive supervision and monitoring measures through which all areas of school activity are kept under supervision.
- developing procedures for noting and reporting incidents of bullying behaviour.
- developing procedures for investigating and dealing with incidents of bullying behaviour.
- evaluating the effectiveness of school policy on anti-bullying behaviour.
Bullying May Take Many Forms
- Physical Aggression:
- This behaviour is more common among boys than girls. It includes pushing, shoving, punching, kicking, poking and tripping people up. It may also take the form of severe physical assault. While boys commonly engage in ‘mess fights’ they can often be used as a disguise for physical harassment or inflicting pain.
- Damage to Property:
Personal property can be the focus of attention for the bully; this may result in damage to clothing, school books and other learning material or interference with a pupil’s locker or bicycle. Items of personal property may be defaced, broken, stolen or hidden.
Demands for money may be made, often accompanied by threats (sometimes carried out) in the event of the victim not promptly “paying up”. Victims’ lunches, lunch vouchers or lunch money may be taken. Victims may also be forced into theft of property for delivery to the bully. Sometimes this tactic is used with the sole purpose of incriminating the victim.
Some bullying behaviour takes the form of intimidation. It is based on the use of very aggressive body language with the voice being used as a weapon. Particularly upsetting to victims can be the so-called ’look’ – a facial expression which conveys aggression and/or dislike.
- Abusive Telephone Calls:
The abusive anonymous telephone call is a form of verbal intimidation or bullying.
This form of bullying seems to be more prevalent among girls. 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. It may be accompanied by writing insulting remarks about the victim on blackboards or in public places, by circulating notes about or drawing of the victim or by whispering insults about them loud enough to be heard.
- 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, most name-calling of this type refers to physical appearance, e.g. ‘big ears’, size or clothes worn.
Accent or distinctive voice characteristics may attract negative attention.
Academic ability can also provoke name calling. At one extreme there are those who are singled out for attention because they are perceived to be slow or weak academically. These pupils are often referred to as ‘dummies’, ‘dopes’, or ‘donkeys’.
At the other extreme are those who, because they are perceived as high achievers, are labelled ‘swots’, ‘brain-boxes’, ‘licks’, ‘teacher’s pets’. Etc.
This behaviour usually refers to the good natured banter which goes on as part of the normal social interchange between people. However, when this slagging extends to very personal remarks aimed again and again at the one individual about appearance, clothing, personal hygiene or involves references of an uncomplimentary nature to members of one’s family, particularly if couched in sexual innuendo, then it assumes the form of bullying. It may also take the form of suggestive remarks about a pupil’s sexual orientation.
- Prevention of Bullying:
- Pupils are encouraged to develop tolerance and to have mutual respect for one another.
- Pupils are encouraged to report incidents of bullying to parents and teachers.
- Pupils are encouraged to accept differences in other pupils.
- Pupils are advised that it is wrong to hurt others physically or psychologically.
- Pupils are advised that participation in bullying behaviour may result in sanctions being imposed.
- Teachers in classrooms and in the playground will monitor pupils who are considered to be prone to bullying and pupils who display aggressive attitudes and a low level of self-discipline.
- Procedures for Noting and Reporting Incidents of Bullying Behaviour:
- Sorts of bullying by pupils are investigated by teachers.
- Serious cases of bullying by pupils will be referred to the Principal or Deputy Principal.
- Serious cases of bullying should be brought to the attention of parents.
- Serious cases of bullying should be recorded.
- Procedures For Investigating and Dealing with Bullying:
- The victim and bully are interviewed and where necessary those involved may be required to write down their account of the incident.
- Depending on the gravity of the bullying behaviour parents may be requested to attend the school to give an assurance that there will be no repetition of such behaviour.
- Every effort will be made to ensure that the bully and the victim are reconciled and that the bully comes to appreciate the right of other pupils.
- Reports of bullying behaviour on the way to and from school will be investigated and dealt with by the Principal.
- A pupil involved in bullying behaviour may be detained, isolated from peers or receive a written punishment exercise.
- Where a pupil repeats bullying behaviour or where a pupil is involved in a single serious bullying incident suspension may be considered.