We at Roscommon Community College aim to provide a quality academic, practical, social and spiritual education for our students suited to their needs and abilities in a warm caring and friendly environment.
We also wish to foster mutual respect between students and staff and instill in our students a sense of self discipline and community.
Bullying behaviour, by its very nature, undermines and dilutes the quality of education and imposes psychological damage. As such it is an issue that must be positively and firmly addressed through a range of school-based measures and strategies through which all members of the school community are enabled to act effectively in dealing with this behaviour.
Guidelines on Countering Bullying Behaviour in Primary and Post-Primary Schools, DES, 1993
The purpose of this policy is:
- To raise awareness within our entire school community of the unacceptability of bullying
- To contribute to our school ethos and culture which encourages children to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying
- To devise and agree on measures to prevent bullying in our school community and to deal with incidents of bullying if they occur
- To create a school ethos which encourages children to disclose incidents of bullying behaviour.
- To raise awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour with school management, teachers, pupils, parents/guardians.
- To ensure comprehensive supervision and monitoring measures through which all areas of school activity are kept under observation.
- To develop procedures for noting and reporting incidents of bullying behaviour.
- To develop procedures for investigating and dealing with incidents of bullying behaviour.
- To work with and through the various local agencies in countering all forms of bullying and anti-social behaviour.
- To evaluate the effectiveness of school policy on anti-bullying behaviour.
Definition of Bullying
Bullying can be defined, as repeated aggression be it verbal, psychological or physical, which is conducted by an individual or a group against others. It is behaviour which is intentionally aggravating and intimidating. It includes behaviour such as teasing, taunting, threatening, hitting, exclusion or extortion by one or more pupils against a victim.
Bullying behaviour thrives in an atmosphere of uncertainty and secrecy in which the victim often feels a sense of hopelessness.Isolated incidents of aggressive behaviour, while not to be condoned, cannot be described as bullying.
Indications of Bullying
- Anxiety about attending school.
- Deterioration in educational performance.
- Pattern of physical illness.
- Unexplained changes in mood or behaviour.
- Visible signs of anxiety or distress.
- Possessions missing.
- Increased requests for money.
- Unexplained bruising.
- Reluctance to say what is troubling him/her.
These are all signs of a variety of problems as well as bullying.
TYPE OF BULLYING
- Harassment based on any of the nine grounds in the equality legislation e.g. sexual harassment, homophobic bullying, racist bullying etc.
- Physical aggression
- Damage to property
- Name calling
- The production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other materials aimed at intimidating another person.
- The "Look"
- Invasion of personal space
- A combination of any of the types listed.
- Silent telephone/mobile phone calls
- Abusive telephone/mobile phone calls
- Abusive text messages
- Abusive email
- Abusive website comments/Blogs/Pictures
- Abusive website comments on MSN
- Abusive website comments on Social Networks
- Spreading rumours about a persons sexual orientation
- Taunting a person of a different sexual orientation
- Name calling e.g. Gay, Queer, Lesbian
- Exclusion of someone because of sexual orientation
- Comments or insults about colour, nationality, culture, social class, religious beliefs, ethnic or traveller background.
This involves manipulating relationships as a means of bullying. Behaviors include:
- Malicious gossip
- Isolation and exclusion
- Excluding from the group
- Taking someone's friends away
- Spreading rumours
- Breaking confidence
- Talking loud enough so that the victim can hear
- The "Look"
- Making sounds intended to belittle or undermine a person
- Unwelcome sexual comments or touching
Dealing with Complaints of Bullying
Consistent action will be taken on all incidents of bullying behaviour. All incidents of bullying will be dealt with.
Policy should contain specific procedures for telling, investigating and resolving incidents.
- Students should approach any teacher with whom they feel comfortable
- Students may write a note and hand it in with homework, make a phone call, use the tutor/peer mentoring programme or get a parent/friend to tell on their behalf.
- The school offers a sensitive and confidential approach to investigating the incident.
- Students are assured of confidentiality insofar as it can be offered. Only the people who need to know will be told.
- All reports of bullying will be investigated and a standard report form completed.
All bullying incidents shall be recorded in a ‘Bullying Incident book’, under these headings:
- What happened?
- Why did it happen?
- Who was involved in the incident?
- Where did the incident take place?
- When did it occur?
- How can we resolve this problem?
It should be signed and dated by the investigating teacher and pupil/pupils involved.
All records will be kept for 1 year after students leave and then shredded.
- The members of the team will be rotated throughout the year. This will be posted on a noticeboard.
- All issues of bullying will be investigated by members of the investigating team
- Investigations will be carried out in an appropriate office.
- In cases where sanctions will be imposed, PARENTS WILL BE INFORMED
- Where possible all cases will be resolved in school with both parties concerned
- In unresolved cases, school management will be involved and may decide to involve outside agencies
Sanctions may vary according to the individual cases. Students are aware that if they are involved in bullying the following will happen,
- They will be warned to stop immediately
- Failing this the student will be referred to the Principal.
- Their parents will be informed
- The student will get serious talk, detention, work to do, student and parent sign agreement.
- They may be excluded from the School premises at break and/or lunch times.
- We may arrange for them to be escorted to and from the School premises.
- If they do not stop bullying they will be suspended for a minor fixed period
- More serious sanctions, for example exclusion or loss of privilege in taking part in extra-curricular activities, may apply to students who engage in continual serious bullying incidences.
- If bullying continues they will be recommended for suspension for a major fixed period (up to five days) or an indefinite period.
- If they do not end such behaviour, they will be requested to appear before the Board of Management of the school with their parents/guardians.
Initiatives to Counter Bullying Behaviour:
- Display of key points of Anti-Bullying policy in every classroom, in journals and in staff and parent handbooks.
- SPHE Programme (lessons on Anti-Bullying once a term)
- Anti-Bullying Week
- Whole School approach.
- Class contacts.
- Anonymous questionnaires/surveys.
- Curricular initiatives.
- Learning support where appropriate.
- Student Council mentoring.
- Anger management.
Suggestions from Anti-Bullying Committee
Parents and Bully
Where the bullying requires imposition of sanctions the co-operation of parents is crucial. The school code of discipline must come into play. Agreement should be sought from parents and the pupil responsible in relation to future behaviour.
- With a very resistant bully intervention may take a long time with ongoing management involvement.
- In rare cases complete denial may be vigorously supported by the parents of the bully. The school management should be involved in resolving the difficulty. If it remains unresolved at school level then it should be referred to the Board of Management.
- Students who are repeatedly bullied or those who persistently bully others may need to be referred to either the Educational or Child Psychological services
The Anti – Bullying Policy and its link to other Policies.
- SPHE (Social Personal &Health Education) - Bullying is addressed under the strand Myself and Others, Strand Unit – My friends and other people
- Other examples include lessons on self-esteem, building good relationships, good and bad secrets, being a ‘telling school’
- PE curriculum: Sporting activities can provide excellent opportunities for channeling and learning how to control aggression.
- Code of behaviour – promotion of positive behaviour, positive atmosphere, and good relationships ensure a reduction in bullying.
- Home-school Links: Parents understand the term bullying, feel confident to tell the teacher or principal about their concerns.
Roscommon Community College will have an Anti-Bullying Charter to be displayed in all classrooms and other prominent areas of the school. Both the staff and students will be involved in the writing of this charter.
Rights and Responsibilities
- I have the right to be safe in school
- Physically safe
- Expect my property to be safe in school
- Free from all forms of verbal bullying
- Free from extortion
- Free from emotional bullying
- Free from any hurtful remarks regarding person, ethnicity, religion and culture
- I have a responsibility to make our school a safe and secure place for others.
- Others are physically safe
- The property of others is safe
- Others are free from verbal bullying
- Others are free from extortion
- Others are free from emotional bullying
- Others are free from any hurtful remarks regarding person, ethnicity, religion and culture.
- Relevant teachers will be made aware of the situation by the Care Team and asked to monitor the students.
- A member of the Care Team will meet with both the victim and the bully, individually at first and then together if appropriate, within one week of the initial resolution of the issue.
- The students involved will continue to be monitored by the Care Team and relevant teachers. Further meetings will be scheduled if deemed necessary.
The final resolution of the problem should not end with the punishment of the guilty party. Both sides may be in need of healing, rehabilitation and reconciliation. Victims may need counselling and opportunities to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem and to develop their friendship and social skills whenever this is needed.
Students who engage in bullying behaviour may need counselling to help them learn other ways of meeting their needs without violating the rights of others.
Evaluation and Review
The school’s anti-bullying code will be subject to regular review in order to ensure that it is being adhered to and that it continues to meet the needs of the school as these change and develop.
Bullying Policy – Students
Bullying is a major source of stress and unhappiness for teenagers. Even many who have never been bullied fear that one day it might be their turn. The staff of the College are very sensitive to this matter and all reasonable efforts are made to eradicate this pernicious activity. However, our efforts in this regard depend very much on the co-operation of both parents and students.
There is a widespread misconception that bullying refers only to physical mistreatment but such is not the case. Bullying most often manifests itself in the following forms: hurtful slagging, name-calling, persistent teasing, silent treatment, mocking & harassment, sneering, verbal threats, loss of or damage to a student’s property (clothing, books, equipment etc.), trying to influence other students against some particular boy or girl, etc. The bully also tends to act in a manner that makes it very difficult to prove anything against him or her.
If you are being bullied, don’t keep it to yourself. Tell your parents, tell your friends, tell a member of staff. While we won’t act on anything you say to us without your permission, we will make things better. Wherever bullying has been reported to us in the past, the situation has been improved dramatically - but we understand that you may be fearful that reporting the matter could make things worse.
Where the College authorities conclude that bullying is occurring, the parents/guardians of both the bully and the bullied will be contacted and their co-operation sought to resolve the matter. Where such co-operation is not forthcoming, the uncooperative parents/guardians may be asked to remove their son/daughter from the college.
Remember; bullies thrive on the silence of victims and onlookers. If you really want to stop someone being bullied (yourself or others), you must tell an older student, a parent/guardian or a member of staff. Bullying does not stop; it has to be stopped by you.
School Policy Statement on Cyberbullying
Neither the school’s network nor the broader Internet (whether accessed on or off campus during or after school hours) may be used for the purpose of harassment. All forms of harassment in cyberspace, often called cyberbullying, are unacceptable.
Cyberbullying includes, but is not limited to, the following misuses of technology: harassing, teasing, intimidating, threatening, or terrorising another person by sending or posting inappropriate and hurtful e-mail messages, instant messages, text messages, digital pictures or images, or Website postings (including blogs). Often the author (sender or poster) of the inappropriate material is disguised (logged on) as someone else.
Community members who believe that they have been the victims of such misuses of technology should not erase the offending material from the system. They should print a copy of the material and immediately report the incident to a school official (principal, assistant principal, counsellor, teacher, or director of technology). All reports of harassment in cyberspace will be investigated fully. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, the loss of computer privileges, detention, suspension, separation, or expulsion from school.
Types of Cyberbullying
- Flaming: Online fights using electronic messages with angry and vulgar language
- Harassment: Repeatedly sending malicious and insulting messages
- Denigration: ‘Dissing’ someone online. Sending or posting gossip or rumours about a person to damage his or her friendships or reputation
- Masquerading: The bully pretends to be the target and sends offensive messages that appear to come from the target
- Outing: Sharing someone’s secrets or embarrassing information or images online
- Trickery: Talking someone into revealing secrets or embarrassing information, then sharing it online
- Exclusion: Intentionally and cruelly excluding someone from an online group
- Cyberthreats: Aare either direct threats or “distressing material” general statements that make it sound like the writer is emotionally upset and may be considering harming someone else, harming himself or herself or committing suicide
- Cyberstalking: Repeated, intense harassment and denigration that includes threats or creates significant fear
Bullying Record Form
Date _______________________________ Time ____________________
Teacher ____________________________ Class ____________________
Names of students involved
Details of incident
Action Taken (Warning, Sanction, Referral, Mediation, Other)
Suggestions for follow up
Roscommon Community College Our School Code
- Every student has the right to enjoy learning and leisure time in school.
- Unkind actions or remarks are unacceptable even if these were not meant to hurt.
- We should support each other by asking for help when we know someone has a problem.
- Listen and learn from the views of others.
- Respect other people’s property.
- We are all responsible for our school environment.
Roscommon Community College Anti-Bullying Charter
- We want Roscommon Community College to be free from bullying.
- Every student is expected to make a positive contribution to the life of the school.
- The school culture should be one of mutual support, especially when in difficulty.
- There should be no name calling.
- There should be no physical abuse.
- There should be no ganging up on people.
- There should be no hurtful “slagging”.
- Every student should respect others’ When one of us makes a mistake they should not be laughed at
- Right to be themselves
- Right to self expression.
- Right to participate fully in school life.
- Right to personal property
- Problems should be shared
- We all share responsibility to ensure that bullying is not tolerated.
- All school staff, the student council, the parent council and the board of management are united in their opposition to all forms of bullying.
- Verbal, psychological or physical bullying will not be tolerated.