Anti-Bullying Policy

Loughmore N.S. Anti-Bullying Policy

Bullying can be defined as repeated aggression, whether it is verbal, psychological or physical, which is conducted by an individual or a group against others. It is behaviour which is deliberately aggravating and intimidating. It includes behaviour such as teasing, taunting, threatening, hitting, exclusion or extortion by one or more pupils against a victim.

Bullying behaviour thrives in an atmosphere of uncertainty and secrecy in which the victim often feels a sense of hopelessness. Isolated incidents of aggressive behaviour, while not to be condoned, cannot be described as bullying. Bullying manifests itself in a number of different forms including; physical, verbal and indirect.

Physical: hitting, kicking, taking or damaging belongings.

Verbal: name-calling, insulting, belittling or repeated teasing.

Indirect: spreading rumours, excluding someone from social groups.

Loughmore N.S. is a bully-free zone. Bullying, in any form, will not be tolerated!

Loughmore N.S. acknowledges the right of each child to enjoy school in a secure environment. It promotes positive habits of self-respect, self-discipline and responsibility among it’s pupils and staff. It also promotes habits of mutual courtesy and an awareness of the interdependence of children in group and community.

A. Indications of Bullying:

a. Anxiety about travelling to or from school.

b. Unwillingness to go to school.

c. Deterioration in educational performance.

d. Pattern of physical illnesses.

e. Unexplained changes in either mood or behavior.

f. Possessions missing.

g. Increased requests for money.

h. Unexplained bruising.

i. Reluctance and/or refusal to say what is troubling him/her.

 These may be the signs of a variety of problems as well as bullying.

B. Procedures for noting and reporting incidents in Loughmore NS:

a. All reports of bullying are noted, investigated and dealt with by the class teacher so that pupils will gain confidence in telling. A special Yard Incident Book will be kept in the office for this purpose.

b. Serious cases should be referred immediately to the Deputy Principal and Principal.

c. Parents of those involved should be notified and given an opportunity to discuss the matter with the class teacher.

d. It should be made clear that children reporting incidents of bullying are acting responsibly and are not “telling tales”.

e. A record should be kept of how the matter was handled and the outcome. When the class moves on, the succeeding teacher should be informed of any problems that existed.

f. Non-teaching staff should be encouraged to report incidents. Discretion is important.

C. Procedures for investigating and dealing with bullying in Loughmore NS:

a. A calm, unemotional and problem-solving approach is aimed for at all times.

b. It is considered that incidents are best investigated outside the classroom situation.

c. Teachers should speak separately to the children involved.

d. Members of a gang should be met separately and as a group.

e. Parents should be informed where it has been determined that bullying has occurred.

f. Parents of the child bullied should be consulted at a later stage to ensure that no further difficulties have arisen.

D. Programme for work with pupils:

Learning strategies should allow for the enhancement of each pupil’s self-worth e.g. Stay Safe Lessons, RSE (Relationship and Sexuality Education), circle time, regular whole school assemblies – as part of our overall SPHE (Social, Personal and Health Education) School Plan.

Bullying – Notes for Parents

Bullying is a problem which many children encounter and one which is of great concern to parents and teachers. It is a problem which requires co-operation between schools and parents in seeking solutions. It can be physical, verbal or emotional and may be carried out by groups or by an individual. It is important to build independence and confidence in the child. The importance of talking to and listening to children must also be stressed. These are important factors in helping the child to deal with early approaches from a bully. Children need to have the confidence to say “No” in a good assertive tone of voice if they are approached for lunch or possessions. Children who are confident of their abilities and of their appearance are also more likely to shrug off a taunt or a jibe. They also need to know that they have the right to tell an adult about a problem. Bullies will select children whom they feel can be kept quiet. Building self-esteem and a quiet sense of confidence is as equally important for the child who is a bully, as it is for the potential victim.

 Why do some children become bullies?

This can happen for many reasons.

· They may have been victims of bullying themselves.

· They may feel inadequate and lack confidence in themselves.

· They may feel under pressure to succeed at all costs.

· They may find it difficult to socialise with their peers and so pick on younger, more vulnerable children.

· They may be very spoilt and go totally unchallenged at home.

· Some children become involved in bullying by acting as bystanders or supporters of a bully. If this is the case it must be pointed out that they are equally guilty of bullying.

 If your child is a bully:

It is important to acknowledge that fact and help him/her to overcome this. One of the most difficult tasks schools face in tackling bullying is getting the child and parents to acknowledge the fact they are involved in such behaviour.

What to do:

1. Ty to find out if this is a temporary response to something else in the child’s life e.g. a new baby, a bereavement, stress in the home

2. Talk to your child- try to get your child to understand how the victim feels, help your child to socialise by inviting other children to play, to go on outings with your family etc. Don’t respond by being a bully yourself. Hitting and verbal attack will make the situation worse. You will need to deal with the problem over time.

3. Talk to the child’s teacher- you will find teachers willing to help. It is important that you and the teacher take the same approach to the problem.

4. Bullies often suffer from a lack of confidence. Don’t compare your child’s achievement with others. Praise helpful, kind behaviour at every opportunity.

5. Children should be taught to accept differences in others. If your child always seems overly critical of others you can help by making positive remarks about other children.

6. You may need help if your child has a serious behavioural problem- the school or your G.P. can refer him/her to the Child Guidance Clinic if necessary.

 If your child tells you she/he is being bullied:

1. Stay calm – don’t over-react no matter what you are feeling. Your reaction may convey a sense of anger or disappointment to the child and could be counter-productive. Children who are bullied often feel a sense of failure and guilt. Your response should convey that they are not at fault and that it is a problem which can be overcome

2. Teaching the child that she/he has the right to say “No!” and to carry him/herself in a confident way will deal with many situations. Establish the right to tell and talk about the problem.

3. Talk to the teacher. Bullying is a covert activity and with large and multi-grade classes it can be difficult for teachers to detect. Teachers need the support of parents in tackling this problem

4. If the bullying is physical – don’t tell your child to hit back. Schools cannot encourage children to engage in violent behaviour and conflicting advice will only confuse the child. Also, telling a vulnerable child to hit back is asking the impossible of them and will only add to their sense of failure when they find they cannot do so.

5. Children who are loners can be more vulnerable and need help to socialise. You can facilitate this by inviting children to play and by enlisting the help of other parents.

6. It is important to tell children that some situations are impossible and that safety must come first. In a situation where a gang attacks for money or possessions the child should be advised that it would be better to give the money, get away and tell. It would be important in a situation like this that the child be praised for using commonsense.

7. Some children attract bullies because of poor personal hygiene or habits. If this is the case it can be easily overcome with help from you.

 Anti- bullying strategies in Loughmore NS:

Staff:

  • Will be vigilant within the classroom, when moving about the school and during supervision of pupils at break times.
  • Incidents which may involve bullying will be investigated immediately and followed up appropriately. This includes record keeping, recording what happened, who was involved and what action was taken.
  • At the beginning of the school year teachers, children and parents will read, discuss and sign the school’s code of conduct.
  • Staff will always find time to listen to pupil’s concerns.
  • Interventions will be calm and effective.
  • Behaviour management strategies which might humiliate or intimidate pupils will be avoided, rather a direct, firm and clear approach will be adopted by staff, which focuses on problem solving and enables the pupils to take an active role in finding a solution to the conflict. Similarly staff will interact with one another in a way which demonstrates respect and models positive relationship building skills.
  • The school’s SPHE programme will explicitly address the issue of bullying and strategies for dealing with bullying.
  • Persistent bullying will be addressed by:

      Parental involvement.

      Referral to the school’s Board of Management.

      Referral to the Local Inspectorate.

Pupils:

  • May reject bullying in a fairly passive way by excluding peers when they behave aggressively, by making room in their social group for a pupil being bullied, by refusing to join in with bullying behaviour, by reporting bullying to school staff and their parents. Pupils will be taught relevant anti-bullying strategies through the school’s SPHE programme – Say No, Walk Away, Tell Someone!

Parents:

  • Will be clear about the school’s approach to bullying, including being familiar with this policy.
  • If their child is found to be bullying others, they will be proactive and co-operate with the school to help their child to change his/her behaviour. They will firmly discourage aggressive ways of resolving difficulties, and respect the school’s code of conduct.
  • They will immediately inform the school if they suspect their child is being bullied or bullying.
  • Please note our school’s Discipline Policy also.

 Ratification/Communication

This policy was ratified by the Board of Management on the 29th of February 2012 and will be communicated to parents through the school website. Hard copies are available on request.

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