This policy should be read in conjunction with the Code of Behaviour and other related policies as outlined in section 5.4.
The following types of bullying behaviour are included in the definition of bullying. This list of examples is non-exhaustive.
3.2 Relational bullying (manipulating relationships as a means of bullying), for example:
3.3 Cyber-bullying, for example:
3.4 Identity-based bullying, such as homophobic bullying, racist bullying, bullying based on a person’s membership of the Traveller Community and bullying of those with disabilities or special educational needs. It may be based on any of the nine discriminatory grounds mentioned in equality legislation. For example:
Isolated or once-off incidents of intentional negative behaviour, including a once-off offensive or hurtful text message or other private messaging, 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.
The staff will endeavour to ensure there is clear understanding among pupils of the types of behaviour that count as bullying in our school.
The school is committed to excellent supervision practices as an essential strategy for the prevention of bullying.
The staff will consistently tackle the use of discriminatory and derogatory language in the school – this includes homophobic and racist language and language that is belittling of pupils with a disability or special educational needs.
The school will continue to actively involve parents and/or the Parents’ Association in awareness raising campaigns around social media.
The staff will be especially vigilant in supervising “hot spots” and “hot times” for bullying. Hot ‘spots’ tend to be in the school yard, the park and corridors at assembly and dispersal time. Hot ‘times’ tend to be times where there is less structured supervision such as when pupils are in the school yard, wet day breaks in the classrooms or moving between classrooms.
The teaching staff will address the Anti-Bullying policy at class meetings and will give parent(s)/guardians a brief outline of the responsibilities of children, parent(s)/guardian(s) and staff in ensuring the policy is followed.
Parent(s)/guardian(s) will be kept up to date about strategies being used to maintain awareness of bullying as unacceptable through the school newsletter.
Bullying will be a standing item on the agenda for monthly staff meetings.
The Anti-Bullying policy will be reviewed annually at a staff meeting.
The staff will ensure that the Anti-Bullying policy is reviewed with each class, in an age-appropriate manner, every school year.
Feedback sheets sent to parent(s)/guardian(s) at the end of the school year will encourage feedback about any involvement with the Anti-bullying policy.
The feedback from the staff meeting, the written feedback from parent(s)/guardian(s) and feedback from pupils will be presented to the Board.
Parent(s)/guardian(s) are encouraged to contribute to and support the school’s Anti-Bullying policy by encouraging positive behaviour both at home and at school, by being vigilant for signs and symptoms that their child is being bullied or is bullying others and by communicating any concerns to the school. See Appendix A for further information.
The school is committed to an active School Council.
5.3 Implementation of curricula
The school maintains awareness of bullying as unacceptable through the Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curriculum.
The Walk Tall and Stay Safe programmes are used throughout the school to support the Anti-Bullying policy.
Lessons are taught in all classes to all classes to help the children to better understand difference and diversity. See Core Curriculum and SPHE policy.
Lessons on cyber bullying will be taught in all classes. See SPHE policy.
The Arts curriculum will be used to promote the anti-bullying message in all classes, for example, visual arts activities such as poster displays, drama activities such as role play and cooperative games, English activities such as poetry and creative writing.
A list of useful resources for teachers and parents in developing these lessons is included at Appendix B.
Continuous professional development for all staff in delivering these programmes will be supported by the Board of Management.
The school will continue to support the delivery of the Garda SPHE Programmes .These lessons, delivered by Community Gardai, cover issues around personal safety and cyber-bullying
The school will specifically consider the additional needs of pupils with special educational needs with regard to programme implementation and the development of skills and strategies to enable all pupils to respond appropriately.
5.4 Links to other policies
6.2 Recording of bullying behaviour
The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour are as follows:All staff must make a brief written record of any incidents witnessed by them or concerns notified to them in the Anti-Bullying incident book in the principal’s office. This note should include the date the relevant teacher was informed of the concern/incident.The relevant teacher must record all allegations of bullying and actions taken using the School Template. See Appendix C. The completed template must then be placed in the anti-bullying folder in the principal’s office. A note referring the reader to this folder will be placed on the Aladdin database for each pupil named in the report by the relevant teacher.If it is established by the relevant teacher that bullying has occurred, the relevant teacher must keep appropriate written records which will assist his/her efforts to resolve the issues and restore, as far as is practicable, the relationship of the parties involved. All records should be kept in the anti-bullying folder in the principal’s office. A note referring the reader to this folder will be placed on the Aladdin database for each pupil named in the report by the relevant teacher.
The relevant teacher must use the 20 day Recording Template in cases where he/she considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour occurred. See Appendix D.
When the 20 day Recording Template is used, the original must be placed by the relevant teacher in the anti -bullying folder in the principal’s office. A copy must be given to the principal. A note that the 20 day recording template has been completed must be placed on the Aladdin database of any pupil named in the report.
All recording of bullying incidents must be done in an objective and factual manner. Access to individual files in the folder is limited to the relevant teacher, the current class teacher, the principal and the deputy principal.
6.3 Programme of support/intervention for pupils affected by bullying
No one intervention works in all situations and the school will select from a range of evidence based interventions in dealing with bullying behaviour. A resource list is attached at Appendix B. All resource materials are kept in the principal’s office.
Parent(s)/guardian(s) will be encouraged to support school interventions
Opportunities for pupils who have been affected by bullying to participate in activities designed to restore their self esteem, to develop their friendship and social skills and build resilience will be a key component of any programme of support. The school will make provision for the teaching of specific skills in this regard to individual pupils or groups of pupils affected by bullying.
A plan, similar in format to the Individual Behaviour Plan, may be drawn up for the pupil(s) in question. Review measures will be an integral part of this plan. A named teacher will have responsibility for the implementation of this plan.
Individual pupils who need specific support may be referred to outside services such as the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS). Advice may be sought from the Special Education Support Service (SESS).
Referral may be made to the HSE/Gardai, in serious cases, in line with the Children First (2011) Guidelines.
Other established intervention strategies are included in Appendix B.
This section will look at the possible signs that a child can exhibit if he/she is being subjected to bullying behaviour, or if he/she is engaging in bullying behaviour. It is important to state that any child can, given certain circumstances, be a victim of bullying behaviour and any child can also engage in bullying behaviour. The focus must be to help everyone change their behaviour in order to create a dynamic which contributes to the well being of all. This might involve trying to identify what need the ‘bully’ was trying to satisfy by their behaviour and to support them in having this need met in an appropriate fashion. It might also include looking at any behaviour that might contribute to the ‘victim’ being in that position again in the future and to support them in changing this behaviour, where appropriate.
Children who are being bullied may develop some of the following symptoms:
While it is understandable that it may be difficult to accept that your child may be engaging in bullying behaviour, the reality is that some children do engage in bullying behaviour. Below is a possible list of indicators that may suggest that your child is engaging in bullying behaviour:
It is important to state that any of the above signs of either being bullied or engaging in bullying behaviour may be due to other issues that are going on in the child’s life. There may be other types of stressors going on that can range from the child’s own physical health to other classroom stressors to other issues at home. With this in mind, it is important that co-operation between school staff and parents/guardians and where appropriate, with the child, is at a maximum and where all voices, concerns, and issues are noted and followed through.
Further information can be found at www.npc.ie and at www4.dcu.ie /abc/
Visit www.webwise.ie for resources for primary teachers on cyber bullying. For example there is an online game, Through the Wild Web Woods, suitable for 6-10year olds that could be used as a lesson on cyber bullying.
Let’s Fight it Together, This DVD, produced by Childnet for the Department for Children Schools and Families in the UK (DCSF) is designed to challenge people to think about how they behave when using the internet and mobile technologies, the potential impact of cyber bullying, and ultimately to address and change unacceptable online activities thus helping to prevent young people and adults becoming victims or perpetrators of this behaviour. See www.childnet.com, it is available online at digizen.org. Suitable for Rang 6 only.
Inclusion and diversity
The Equal Status Acts 2000 and 2004 provide protection against discrimination on nine grounds, one of which is sexual orientation. The Acts oblige those who manage schools to protect students and staff from discrimination or sexual harassment. An integral part of RSE is learning to respect others; this will include respect for families or individuals who are different from the norm. Schools can foster a culture that is accepting of difference.
For example, if children are using the word ‘gay’ in a negative fashion it is better not to ignore it in the hope that it will go away. The same advice would apply for any instance of bullying. Depending on the context and the age group of the children, the teacher could ask a child or a class group what they mean by the word ‘gay’. An appropriate response to this question might be: ‘The majority of people are attracted to people of the opposite sex. This is called being heterosexual. Some people are attracted to people of the same sex. This is called being homosexual or gay.’ To give factual information like this in an open and straightforward way may help to remove the secrecy which is necessary for any bullying to flourish. Homophobic insults should be treated in exactly the same way as racist or other insults– the teacher can calmly explain to the child that such insults are hurtful to the other person and are not acceptable.
Human Rights and the Rights of Lesbian and Gay People in the Primary school GBMDNS Fintan Walsh, 2008. See also www.milkfoundation.org.
This is a series of lessons based on the story of Harvey Milk, an American politician and gay rights activist who was assassinated in 1978. Suitable for Rang 6.
Out for Our Children Foundation Stage pack, Louise Davies, 2010.
This is a series of 15 lesson plans suitable for Junior Infants to Rang 2 with a focus on understanding that we are all different, we can all like different things, but we can still be friends. The lessons reflect the fact that there are different kinds of families and no one model is preferable. Many of the lessons are based on stories and the recommended stories have been purchased for the school.
This publication also includes a frequently asked questions section for teachers and staff - the authors note that some of the issues around LGBT inclusion can be challenging to explain to very young children. A glossary of useful terms is also provided.
This publication and other resources are available online at www.outforourchildren.co.uk
Challenging Homophobia in Primary Schools, created by Andrew Moffat.
This is a series of lessons suitable for pupils from junior Infants to Rang 5. There are approximately three lessons/books per year. The idea behind these lessons is to encourage teachers to use this resource as part of literacy lessons – they lend themselves to helping to create an ethos where difference is accepted and celebrated throughout the school. This resource points out that it is an attempt to teach children that LGBT people exist and that it is ok. The books recommended are available here in RMDS in the Core Curriculum library.
This publication and other resources are available online at www.ellybarnes.com.
Further lessons are available from http://the-classroom.org.uk.
Addressing LGBT issues in primary school, by Hilary McLoughlin, Kildare ETNS, published in ET teachers News January 2014. Copies are available in the resource box on bullying, available from the principal’s office.
The Yellow Flag programme is a progressive equality and diversity initiative for primary and secondary schools which promotes and supports an environment for interculturalism. See www.yellowflag.ie
www.kenrigby.net – Ken Rigby is an advisor to the Australian government who has written extensively on the issue and provided some strategies and interventions for schools to use. See also:
The Cool School Programme (www.hse.ie) is suitable for second level schools – however it has application for teachers dealing with incidents of bullying in primary schools as well.
Developing a Code of Behaviour: Guidelines for Schools, NEWB, 2008
Stay Safe and Walk Tall Programmes
Working Together for Positive Behaviour, Curriculum Development Unit, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, 2006.
Working Together, Procedures and Policies for Positive Staff Relations – INTO, 2000
Code of Practice on the Prevention of Workplace Bullying – HSA, 2002(www.hsa.ie)
Circular 22/20 Appeals Procedures under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998
Education Act, 1998 Section 15 (2(d))
Board of Management Members’ Handbook ( revised 2011), CPSMA
Bullying in the Workplace, Home and School: Questions and Answers Tony Byrne, Kathleen Maguire, Brendan Byrne- Blackhall Publishing 2004
Cotter, P. & McGilloway, S.(2011). Living in an “electronic age”: Cyber bullying among Irish adolescents. Irish Journal of Education, 39, 44-56.
Department of Children and Youth Affairs (2012) State of the Nation’s Children: Ireland 2012. Dublin: Government Publications.
Department of Education and Skills (2013). Action Plan on Bullying: Report of the Anti-Bullying Working Group to the Minister of Education and Skills.
Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 Section 23(1 – 5), 24(1 – 5)
Macintyre, Christine. (2009) Bullying and Young Children Routledge
Mayock, P. et al (2009). Supporting LGBT Lives: A Study of the Mental Health and Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual and Transgender People. Dublin: Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) and BeLonG To Youth Service.
Ombudsman for Children (2012). Dealing with bullying in schools. A consultation with children & young people. Dublin: Ombudsman for Children’s Office.
O Moore, M. (2010) Understanding School Bullying – A guide for Parents Veritas
O Moore, M. (2012) Cyber Bullying: the situation in Ireland. Pastoral Care in Education: and international journal of personal, social and emotional development.
O Moore, M. and Stevens (2013). Bullying in Irish Education. Cork University Press.
O’Neill B., Grehan S. & Olafson K. (2011). Risks and safety for children on the Internet: the Ireland report. LSE, London: EU Kids Online p.34. Livingstone S., Haddon L., Gorzig A, &
Olafson K. (2011). Risks and safety on the Internet. The perspectives of European Children. Full findings. LSE, London: EU Kids Online, p.61-71.
The Equality Authority, 2005. Schools and the Equal Status Act:
Williams et al (2009). Growing up in Ireland: National Longitudinal Study of Children – The lives of 9 Year Olds. Dublin: The Stationery Office.
Stories for use in the classroom: