Anti-Bullying Policy

This policy has been formulated in conformation with section 23 of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, Guidelines issued by the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) – Circular 7/88 of the Rules for National Schools. Circular 20/90 Guidelines towards a positive policy for school behaviour and discipline and Code of Behaviour and discipline for national schools and Des Circular 0065/2011.

A review has been undertaken as a result of the inclusion of bullying in Children First; National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2011.

In St. Peter’s we endeavour to create a school community in which mutual respect, co-operation and natural justice are integral features. We are committed to upholding the legitimate rights of students, teachers and parents. Any violation of rights will be viewed seriously. The schools aim in the event of a violation of rights is to support the victim and reinstate the violated right. The school is also concerned to help the perpetrator of socially unacceptable behaviours. On receiving a report of the violation of a right we will investigate and endeavour to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

In cases of adult bullying the procedures as outlined in INTO/Management Bodies publication “Working Together; Procedures and Policies for Positive Staff Relations” will be followed. The Board shall adopt the policy “Dignity at Work”.

Signs of Bullying

The following signs/symptoms may suggest that a pupil is being bullied:-

  • Anxiety about travelling to and from school – requesting parents to drive or collect them, changing route of travel, avoiding regular times for travelling to and from school.
  • Unwillingness to go to school, refusal to attend, mitching.
  • Deterioration in educational performance, loss of concentration and loss of enthusiasm and interest in school.
  • Pattern of physical illnesses (e.g. headaches, stomach aches).
  • Unexplained changes either in mood or behaviour; it may be particularly noticeable before returning to school after weekends or more especially after longer school holidays.
  • Visible signs of anxiety or distress – stammering, withdrawing, nightmares, difficulty in sleeping, crying, not eating, vomiting, bedwetting.
  • Possessions missing or damaged.
  • Increased requests for money or stealing money.
  • Unexplained bruising or cuts or damaged clothing.
  • Reluctance and/or refusal to say what is troubling him/her.

Those signs do not necessarily mean that a pupil is being bullied. If repeated or occurring in combination those signs do warrant investigation in order to establish what is affecting the pupil.

Primary Prevention of Bullying

It is hoped that the prevention of bullying will be facilitated by:

  • Developing a positive school ethos.
  • Code of behaviour.
  • Providing “stay safe” education within the broad context of Social, Personal and Health Education
  • Promoting Christian values in our religious education classes.

Procedures for Nothing and Reporting

  • All reports of bullying should be noted, investigated, dealt and recorded by the class teacher so that pupils will gain confidence in telling.
  • A special Incident Book will be kept in a secure place for repeated bullying offence.
  • Serious cases should be referred immediately to the Principal and DLP.
  • Parents should be informed by the Principal sooner rather than later.
  • Pupils must understand that reporting in not “telling tales”. This also applies to children telling on behalf of others who may be afraid.
  • Individual teachers should take appropriate measures in accordance with school policy.
  • Non-teaching staff should report incidents with discretion.

Procedures for Investigating and resolving Incidences of Bullying

  • Use a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach.
  • Discretion is important; incidents are best investigated outside the classroom situation, if possible.
  • Teacher should speak separately to pupils involved.
  • Answers should be sought to questions or What, Where, When, Who and Why.
  • Members of a group should be met individually initially.
  • Meet parents of parties involved if deemed necessary. It is vital that parents and teachers show a united front. There needs to be communication and co-operation between the parties.
  • Incidences are dealt with as considered appropriate at the time.
  • Follow-up checks need to be made to ensure that no further difficulties have arisen.

Conclusion

This policy shall be reviewed and changed in response to the needs of the school community.

Reviewed and ratified by the Board of Management on 25th February 2013