ANTI- BULLYING POLICY
This school policy should be read in conjunction with the Code of Behaviour and Discipline for St. Oliver Plunkett School.
Objectives and Aims
In devising this policy consideration has been given to the particular needs and circumstances of St. Oliver Plunkett special school. The aim is to ensure that the individuality of each child is accommodated while acknowledging the right of each child to education in a relatively disruption free environment.
The school recognises the variety of differences that exist between children and the need to accommodate these differences. It is agreed that a high standard of behaviour in St Oliver Plunkett School requires a strong sense of community within the school and a high level of co operation among staff and between staff pupils and parents.
All pupils are made aware that bullying or aggressive behaviour towards another child or group of children is unacceptable and that ‘bullying’ behaviour is considered a serious misbehaviour and will be dealt with accordingly.
Pupils are encouraged to see the school as a caring environment and that they too have a combined responsibility to other pupils to maintain the school as a safe place. This may involve reporting incidents of aggressive behaviour to teacher or adult in charge.
Teachers will take reports of bullying seriously and investigate incidents where it is considered necessary. A teacher will report instances of serious misbehaviour to the Principal while at the same time keeping a written record of all such instances.
Pupils should be informed when instances of serious misbehaviour on their part are being recorded. Parents should be kept fully informed from the outset.
Agreed definition of bullying
Bullying is destructive behaviour It is repeated aggression, verbal, psychological or physical, conducted by an individual or group against others. Isolated incidents of aggressive behaviour, while not to be tolerated, should not be described as bullying. Only inappropriate aggressive behaviour which is systematic and ongoing is regarded as bullying.
Mona O ‘Moore 1998
St. Oliver Plunkett School is guided by the following principles when dealing with reported instances of bullying.
- Teachers will keep a written record of all instances of serious misbehaviour as well as a record of the improvements in the behaviour of disruptive pupils.
- Before resorting to serious sanctions e.g. suspension, the normal channels of communication between school and parents will be utilised (see also Code of Behaviour and Discipline).
- Parents will be involved at an early stage rather than as a last resort.
- Communication with parents will be verbal or by letter depending on circumstances
- In the case of repeated aggressive behaviour or bullying, the parents of both parties involved will be invited to come to the school to discuss their child’s case.
- For gross misbehaviour or repeated instances of serious misbehaviour suspension will be considered
- In this situation the parents will be requested in writing to attend the school to meet the Chairperson and Principal teacher. If the parents do not give an undertaking that the pupil will behave in and acceptable manner in the future the pupil may have to be suspended for a temporary period.
Suspension will be in accordance with the terms of Rule 130(5) of the Rules for National schools.
Reporting and Recording incidents of Bullying in St. Oliver Plunkett School
- If parents have concerns about their child being bullied they should inform the class teacher
- All reports of bullying either from parents or Staff members should be recorded. The teacher will investigate and act appropriately. If the teacher suspects that bullying occurred the Principal/Deputy Principal should be informed.
- All instances of bullying which have been reported to the Principal are recorded in a designated book kept in the office. This record includes dates, details of the incident(s) and action taken.
- Parents of those involved should be notified and given an opportunity to discuss the matter by the Teacher
- It will be made clear that children reporting incidents of bullying are acting responsibly.
A record will be kept of how the matter was handled and the outcome. When the children move to their second year in the school, the succeeding teacher will be informed of any problems that existed.
Procedures for investigating and dealing with bullying in St. Oliver Plunkett school
- Incidents will be investigated outside of the classroom situation
- Teachers will speak separately to the children involved
- A calm unemotional problem solving approach will be used at all times
- Members of a group will be met separately and as a group
- Parents will be informed where it has been determined that bullying has occurred
- Teacher will check with the child/parents of the child bullied later to check that no further difficulties have arisen
Bullying by Adults
In the case of intra-staff bullying, St Oliver Plunkett National School will adopt the procedures outlined in Section C (c2) of the INTO booklet: ‘Working Together: Procedures and Policies for Positive Staff Relations’. A copy of this document is available for free download on the INTO website.
In the case of Teacher – Child bullying, a complaint should in the first instance be raised with the teacher in question by the parent/guardian of the child if possible and then if necessary referred to the Principal. Where it has not been possible to agree a framework for resolution, the matter should be referred in writing by both parties to the Board of Management for investigation.
In the case of Parent – Teacher bullying, the Principal should be informed in the first instance, and if deemed necessary the Board of Management should subsequently be informed in writing.
In the case of Parent/Visitor to the school – Child bullying, the complaint should be referred in the first instance to the child’s class teacher and subsequently to the Principal if unresolved.
In the case of Principal – Parent/ Child bullying, the matter should be raised with the Principal if possible, or referred to the Chairperson of the Board of Management.