Anti-Bullying

LORETO HIGH SCHOOL, BEAUFORT

Anti – Bullying Policy

1. In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the code of behaviour guidelines issued by the NEWB, the Board of Management of Loreto High School Beaufort, has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the framework of the school’s overall code of behaviour. This policy fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools which were published in September 2013.

2. The Board of Management recognises the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact that it can have on the lives of pupils and is therefore fully committed to the following key principles of best practice in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour:
• A positive school culture and climate which-
o is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity;
o encourages pupils to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour in a non-threatening environment; and
o promotes respectful relationships across the school community;
• Effective leadership;
• A school-wide approach;
• A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact;
• Implementation of education and prevention strategies (including awareness raising measures) that-
o build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils; and
o explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying.
• Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils;
• Supports for staff;
• Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies); and
• On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.

3. In accordance with the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools bullying is defined as follows:
Bullying is unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical conducted, by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time.
The following types of bullying behaviour are included in the definition of bullying:
• deliberate exclusion, malicious gossip and other forms of relational bullying,
• cyber-bullying and
• 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.

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.

Negative behaviour that does not meet this definition of bullying will be dealt with in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour.

Additional information on different types of bullying is set out in Section 2 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.

4. The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying are as follows:
Initial reporting of bullying can be made to any teacher. This teacher will record the incident on the Incident Report Form. This form will be passed on to the relevant Year Head. Procedures will then be followed in line with the school’s Anti – Bullying Policy.
5. The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber- bullying and identity based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying) that will be used by the school are as follows:
• At the beginning of each year, Student Handbooks are distributed to 1st and 2nd years by their form teachers. These handbooks contain a section on countering bullying and each class is encouraged to draw up a charter on bullying at the beginning of the school year.
• A Friendship week is organised and run by the Senior Prefects in the school. This is where the Prefects deliver lessons to the class groups on what bullying is, its effects on people and ways for a victim or a bystander to deal with bullying. The lessons are tailored to suit the needs of the different year groups. Throughout Friendship Week, there may also be speakers for students and/or parents, theatrical productions dealing with bullying, questionnaires and surveys.
• The whole school community including students, parents/guardians, staff and the Board of Management are involved in the formation and reviewing of the “Anti-Bullying Policy”.
• Bullying is comprehensively dealt with in the CSPE and SPHE curricula at Junior Cert.
• The “Anti-Bullying Policy” is made available on the school website (www.loretohighschool.com)
• Corridors, eating areas and sports areas are adequately supervised at all break times. All staff are regularly reminded of their duties around noting bullying behaviour and reporting it to the relevant Year Head for investigation.
• All first years are given peer buddies to help with the transition from primary school to secondary school. These peer buddies are trained in how to develop appropriate relationships with their peer group and how to deal with reports of bullying.
• The school has a highly active pastoral care team who intervene early in situations where any bullying is suspected.
• Students’ internet sessions are supervised by teachers and social networking sites are blocked so students have no access to them while on the school premises. All students are educated on “Netiquette”. Mobile phones, cameras and all electronic recording devices must be locked in the student’s locker for the duration of the school day.
• Students are reminded at assemblies of what bullying is, how it affects students and how students should deal with it.

We in Beaufort endeavour to provide a caring and supportive community which encourages each student to develop her full spiritual, intellectual, moral, creative, physical and social potential in an environment which recognises the primacy of social justice. (School Mission Statement) In this context, it is the policy of Loreto High School Beaufort that all staff members are at all times vigilant for the signs of bullying and proactive in addressing such incidents as may arise.

6. The school’s procedures for investigation, follow-up and recording of bullying behaviour and the established intervention strategies used by the school for dealing with cases of bullying behaviour are as follows:

Loreto High School Beaufort takes a three pronged approach to dealing with bullying. Initially, there is a preventative approach where students are educated on what bullying is and its effects on students. Secondly, there is a disciplinary approach where the school’s Code of Behaviour is used to deal with instances of bullying. Thirdly, support is provided to all students involved in bullying (bullies, victims and their peers).
1. Preventative Approach
The preventative strategies used are listed above (see section 5).

2. Disciplinary Approach
There is “zero acceptance” of all forms of bullying in Loreto High School Beaufort.
Students are strongly encouraged to report incidents of alleged bullying to any member of the school community. Issues or incidents that are not reported cannot be dealt with. The person to whom the report is made fills in the Incident Report Form and passes it on to the relevant Year Head. Practical ways of reporting bullying include:
• Directly approaching a staff member
• Parents contacting the school directly
• Getting a friend to report the bullying
• Leaving a note in a piece of homework to be given up to a teacher

All reports of bullying behaviour are noted, investigated and dealt with in a sensitive manner in line with the school’s Code of Behaviour. In this way, it is hoped that pupils will gain confidence in disclosing bullying behaviour.
3. Support
All students involved in bullying (bullies, victims and their peers) are given assistance/counselling through the pastoral care team within the school. This intervention strategy is important to identify both the underlying cause of the aggressive behaviour and the needs the student(s) are trying to fulfil. This Pastoral Care team includes:
o Form Teacher
o Year Head
o Guidance Counsellors
o Chaplain
o Deputy Principal
o Principal

Serious cases of bullying behaviour are referred immediately to the Principal or Deputy Principal who may if necessary refer them on to the Gardai.
We aim to create an environment where our pupils and staff feel safe and are free to seek help if they need it. Incidents of bullying are dealt with in line with the school’s Code of Behaviour and Dignity at Work policy. These are available on the school website and in the Student or Teacher Handbook. Where bullying behaviour has occurred, Parents/Guardians of those involved are informed of the situation and how it is being dealt with. Any unresolved matters can be referred to the Board of Management.
8. Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils
The Board of Management confirms that appropriate supervision and monitoring policies and practices are in place to both prevent and deal with bullying behaviour and to facilitate early intervention where possible.
9. Prevention of Harassment

The Board of Management confirms that the school will, in accordance with its obligations under equality legislation, take all such steps that are reasonably practicable to prevent the sexual harassment of pupils or staff or the harassment of pupils or staff on any of the nine grounds specified i.e. gender including transgender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community.
10. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on ________________ .

11. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website and provided to the Parents’ Association. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.

12. This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year. Written notification that the review has been completed will be made available to school personnel, published on the school website and provided to the Parents’ Association. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.

Signed: ____________________________________ Signed: ___________________________
(Chairperson of Board of Management) ​ (Principal)

Date: ______________ ​​​​ Date: __________________

Date of next review: _______________