Bully Policy

Bedfordview Primary School adopts a zero tolerance approach to bullying and harassment. We aim to establish a learning environment in which everyone feels valued and safe and where individual differences are appreciated, understood and accepted. Each learner has a right to be happy at school.

Definition of Bullying

Bullying and harassment can take many forms, including -

  • Deliberately bumping, flicking, kicking, punching and hitting
  • Teasing, taunting, mocking, name calling
  • Spreading rumours
  • Picking on someone, tormenting
  • Repeatedly 'putting down' or humiliating
  • Deliberately ignoring, avoiding, excluding and isolating
  • Interfering with, taking or damaging another's property
  • Using threatening gestures
  • Writing offensive notes, sms's, emails or graffiti about or to someone
  • Making degrading comments about another's religion, culture, family
  • members, sexual orientation or social background

Goals of the Bullying Policy

  1. To aid, support and educate all staff, parents and learners in the maintenance of a safe and nurturing environment, which encourages the development of
    coping skills necessary for successful human interaction.
  2. To provide a process for discovery, evaluation, monitoring and remediation of
    hurtful behaviour.
  3. To provide an easily accessible process by which learners can report hurtful
    behaviour and receive adult support.
  4. To provide a process wherein the learner being hurtful receives:
  • support
  • education in the learning of alternative behaviours or discipline
  • consequences should the hurtful behaviour continues.

To the Learners

It is your right and responsibility to report bullying, whether it happens to you or to someone else. To remain silent is to condone (allow and accept) bullying. Speaking out is the greatest weapon we have against bullying.

Remember:

  • It is your right to be respected
  • It is your right to feel valued
  • It is your right to feel happy
  • It is your responsibility to respect others
  • It is your responsibility to value others
  • It is your responsibility not to destroy the happiness of others

Are you in a conflict situation (fighting) or are you being bullied?

There are three ways for you to check if a behaviour is bullying. Ask yourself:

  1. Is the behaviour malicious? (mean and unacceptable - see Definition of
    Bullying on the front page)
  2. Is it deliberate / intentional?                                                
  3. Is it persistent?  (happening over and over)

If this is the case, even if only one of these is true, then you can follow the bullying procedure.

If the above is NOT true, but you are fighting, unhappy or struggling to get

along with someone, try to remember the following three things:

  1. Remember that each person is unique (different from you) special and
    worthwhile.
  2. Be aware of yourself and your feelings and your reactions as well as being
    aware of the impact of your words and your actions on others.
  3. Show respect to yourself and others at all times.

Hopefully, if each of you have remembered these three points and are putting them into practice, the conflict will dissolve within a day or two. Remember you need to take responsibility for yourself.

Procedure to follow when you have established that you ARE being bullied:

  1. Remember it is your right and your responsibility to report bullying.
  2. Clarify all the details in your mind e.g. what has been happening, when, how often, etc.
  3. Report the bully (bully box, tell your teacher.)
  4. Go to your class teacher or the Deputy Principaland ask them to assist you in filling out a Hurtful Behaviour report.

If you feel you have followed the Bullying Procedure and are not happy with the outcome, please speak to the Deputy Principal

All reported cases of bullying will be taken very seriously.

 

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To the Teachers

  • Take it seriously - remember our approach is one of zero tolerance in regard to bullying.
  • Try to ascertain whether it is actually a case of bullying or more of a friendship issue - i.e. is it about natural changes in friendship groups and/or misunderstandings, or is it any of the following :
  1. Is the behaviour malicious (see Definition of Bullying)
  2. Is it deliberate / intentional
  3. Is it persistent

If the answer is yes to any one of the above (a to c), then please follow the Bullying Procedure.

If you feel that the behaviour has been hurtful, and yet this is more about someone who needs some support in coping generally with life at school, or perhaps a group of friends that need some guidance on handling differences, please offer them the support and counseling you can in order to assist them, or if you would prefer, you can refer them to the LO teacher or the Deputy Principal. Once you have had your discussion, please always check with the learner who has approached you if they want to follow the Bullying Procedure, and if they do, then please assist them to do so.

If the learner comes to you repeatedly with similar issues, please follow the Bullying Procedure, or refer them to the LO teacher or Deputy Principal

Whenever a learner comes to you with an issue of this nature, it is important to follow up with all the learners concerned after a few days to ensure that the behaviour has changed, the situation has improved and the learner is happier and coping.

Please remember that a key factor in changing an environment to be 'hurt free' is teaching and modeling RESPECT.   So it is vital that we respect the learners.  Their confidences and personal information needs to be kept private and, at all times, we need to respect their issues and struggles, whether we agree with them or not.

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BULLYING PROCEDURE

Phase 1

This procedure is to be followed once it has been established that this is a case of bullying / harassment, (see bullying criteria (a to c) in Procedure for teachers plus Definition of Bullying) or if a learner specifically requests it.

  1. Learner places a letter in the Bully box or reports the bully to the class teacher or the Deputy.          
  2. Fill in the Hurtful Behaviour Report together with the learner.
  3. Offer nurturing care and support to this learner during the process.
  4. Call in the learner who is behaving hurtfully and, with respect and care, make
    them aware of the report against them.
  5. Allow them an opportunity to present 'their side of the story', while listening in
    an unbiased way.
  6. Fill in the Behaviour Warning Form and assist the learner in understanding the
    consequences of hurtful behaviour. Explain the learner Response choice on
    this form.
  7. Offer some assistance in helping the learner find alternate, more socially
    acceptable behaviours that they can adopt.
  8. Instruct the learner to write a letter of apology to the learner who has been hurt
    and ensure that it is given.
  9. Send a copy of the Hurtful Behaviour Report and the Behaviour Warning
    Form, plus a copy of the apology letter to the Deputy Principal
  10. For a first warning a class 2 demerit will be issued, if it has happened before follow procedures below.
  11. Do a follow up check after 3 days with each learner concerned to ensure that
    the behaviour has changed. Continue to monitor the situation for the next two
    weeks.

NB. If a person reporting bullying behaviour experiences any increase in the bullying and/or any other related harassment as a result of reporting the bullying, this will be investigated immediately by the Deputy Principal anda consequence, as outlined in the Disciplinary Consequences (below) will be administered.

Phase 2

If the same learners are involved in a second incident of hurtful behaviour, please get the learner(s) concerned to fill in a second Hurtful Behaviour Report and refer them immediately to the Deputy Principal and he/she will do the following :

  1. Offer counselling and assistance to both parties.
  2. Give a second Behaviour Warning Form to the hurtful learner, which will need to be signed by the parents.
  3. Issue a class 1 demerit (instant detention)

Phase 3

If the same learner is again reported for a bullying incident, the Deputy Principal will repeat the steps 1. and 2. explained in Phase 2 and then refer the matter to the Principal. It will be at the Deputy Principals discretion as to which of the disciplinary consequences will be administered.

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Disciplinary Consequences

Bullying is categorized as a Major Offence in the Bedfordview Primary School Code of Conduct.

Disciplinary measures outlined in the Code of Conduct for such an offence will be instituted against the offender.

The consequences could be the following :

  • Verbal warning
  • Written warning (class 2 demerit)
  • Phone call to parents
  • School detention (Class 1 demerit)
  • Letter to parents requesting interview.
  • Removal of privileges
  • Community service at school
  • Suspension from school
  • Expulsion

Additional Measures to foster a Hurt Free School Class Room Interventions

During the course of the year, classes may be addressed by the LO Teachers on issues such as self esteem and friendships. These teachers will also be available for additional class room interventions as and when requested by the class teacher.

Counselling

At Bedfordview Primary School we have access to the qualified counsellors, which means that we have a counsellor available should a child need extra support. However, if a child needs ongoing support, they will be referred to a relevant professional outside of the school environment. The school counsellor is there for initial and backup support and for short-term assistance.

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