1. School Philosophy

We strive that all our pupils at St Patrick’s Senior National School will reach their full potential cognitively, physically, spiritually, emotionally and socially, in an atmosphere and environment in which they feel safe, valued and secure and in which respect for self and others is the norm.
The Teaching Staff, conscious of the need for a positive working environment, will encourage the involvement of the wider school community in the achievement of these ends through a ‘whole school’ approach whereby every individual is involved in the development of a school environment where each person is respected and valued.

2. Consultation

In keeping with the above, parents and the Board of Management will have an on-going input into the formulation and implementation of this policy. The Board of Management is responsible for ensuring that all members of the school community are enabled to deal effectively with bullying. The Board is committed to providing time and resources for the implementation of the policy. The Board will ensure that proper supervisory and monitoring measures are in place to aim to prevent and to deal with incidents appropriately as they arise.

3. Definition of Bullying

Bullying is repeated aggression, verbal, psychological, or physical, conducted by an individual or group against others. (Department of Education Document on countering bullying behaviour in primary and post-primary schools; September 1993).

Types of Bullying:

– Physical Aggression: includes pushing, punching, kicking and other forms of physical assault.

– Damage to Property: results in damage to clothing, school books and other learning material, interference with or pilfering of contents of schoolbags etc.

– Extortion: Demands being made for money often accompanied by threats. Children may also be forced into theft on behalf of the bully.

– Intimidation: Children may be intimidated by use of aggressive body language and tone of voice.

– Abusive Telephone Calls: The abusive telephone call, anonymous or otherwise, is a form of intimidation and bullying, as is the use of any other media to that end.

– Isolation: The isolation, exclusion, and/or ignoring of a child by a group or individual, often accompanied by a campaign of writing insulting remarks either in the form of notes, graffiti, or text messages.

– Name Calling: Persistent name calling of a hurtful, insulting or humiliating nature, or an extreme “once off” name calling incident, often referring to physical appearance, race, religion, sexual orientation, family circumstances, or academic ability, and repeatedly directed at one individual.

– Teasing: When good-natured banter extends to personal remarks about appearance, clothing, personal hygiene or involves references of an uncomplimentary nature to members of one’s family, it assumes the form of bullying.

– Cyber-bullying: The use of the internet and related technologies to harm other people in a deliberate, repeated and hostile manner.

4. Effects of Bullying

Children who are being bullied may develop feelings of insecurity and anxiety resulting in greater vulnerability accompanied by a reluctance to talk about what is happening to them leading to behavioural changes and lowering of academic performance. The following are typical examples:

– Reduced ability to concentrate

– Poor or deteriorating school work

– Fear of going to or returning from school

– Loss of confidence and self-esteem

– Aggressive behaviour

– Depression

5. Policy Aims
In keeping with the philosophy of St. Patrick’s Senior National School, as stated above, the policy on countering bullying behaviour seeks to raise a greater awareness of bullying among the school community, including teaching staff, ancillary staff, management, parents and children. It aims to help create an ethos and atmosphere within the school whereby bullying of any type is seen as unacceptable behaviour by all. It also aims to create a situation whereby bullying behaviour is dealt with effectively, fairly, and in a manner which will benefit the child who has been the recipient through the acquisition of skills to counter bullying behaviour and which will benefit the child who has been involved in inappropriate behaviour, by helping him/her through guidance and discussion, to see the anti-social, counter-productive nature of this type of behaviour.

6. Preventative Measures

– Supervision: School activities will be supervised and monitored at all times, with particular emphasis on those occasions when situations of bullying are more likely to occur, such as assembly time, play time and dismissal time at the end   of the school day.

– The Stay Safe Programme: The Stay Safe Programme will be taught in third and fifth classes.

– Lessons: Time will be devoted to discussion on bullying at each class level, with particular emphasis being placed on re-affirming the children’s sense of self-esteem. These lessons will be revised at least once each term and will be       sourced from the Stay Safe Programme and the Social Personal & Health Education Programme.

– Disclosure: Children will be encouraged to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour. The difference between ‘telling tales’ about incidents of a minor nature and telling to ‘stay safe’ will be thoroughly explained.

7. Procedures for Dealing with Instances of Bullying Behaviour

a) All incidents of bullying will be recorded in an incident book/file, which will be retained in the school.
b) Pupils will be informed that when they report incidents of bullying, they are acting responsibly.
c) Incidents of bullying will initially be dealt with by the class teacher. Incidents which are of a serious nature, or which involve pupils from a number of classes may be referred to the principal.
d) On being informed of an incident of bullying, the teacher dealing with it will speak separately to the parties involved. A follow-up meeting, involving all parties, will take place in order to resolve the matter. Having discussed the negative impact which bullying has on both the child/children being bullied and the child/children who is/are bullying, responsibility will be placed on all individuals within the group to resolve the difficulty and to take appropriate steps to ensure that it is not repeated.
e) Subsequent meetings will take place as at (d) above in order to monitor the situation as deemed necessary.
f) If the meetings at (e) above fail to achieve an end to bullying behaviour, separate meetings between the teacher dealing with the problem and the parent/s of child being bullied/child who is bullying will take place to inform them of what has transpired, update them on the steps taken by the school, and to seek their support in arriving at a solution. The Principal Teacher may also be in attendance at these meetings.
g) In cases where individual pupils are repeatedly involved in incidents of bullying, either as a child being bullied or as a child who is bullying another/others or in cases where serious incidents of bullying occur, parents will be informed and their support sought.
h) When dealing with instances of bullying, teachers will seek to avoid the use of the terms ‘bully’ or ‘bullying’.

8. Policy Monitoring

The effectiveness of this policy will be monitored on an on-going basis and adjustments made as deemed necessary.

9. St. Patrick’s Senior National School Anti-bullying Code

– Everyone in St. Patrick’s Senior National School has the right to enjoy his or her time in school free from intimidation or harassment

– Our School Community will not tolerate unkind, hurtful or insulting remarks

– Pupils will support each other by reporting all instances of bullying

– All incidents of bullying will be treated seriously.

We are a ‘Telling’ School –
Bullying is Too Important not to Report.

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Click Anti-bullying policy – PDF for printable version

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Reviewed by Staff: February 2013

Sanctioned by the Board of Management: February 2013

Policy due for Review: February 2018*
(*or sooner if legislation dictates)