Introduction

This Policy deals with bullying in Kilkenny City Vocational School (KCVS).  The policy was formulated by the principal, members of the teaching staff, parents and students.  It deals with bullying behaviour which may arise within the school and which can affect the process of students attending the school.  This policy addresses issues related to bullying of students (i.e. situations in which one or more students are the victims of bullying), the policy applies to teaching staff, other school staff and parents/guardians in so far as measures under the policy relate to them.

When will the policy apply

This policy applies at all time including……

  • During school time (including break times)
  • At school or at any other location where staff or students represent the school
  • At social functions, sporting events, field trips, or school trips where staff or students represent the school
  • Any form of communication (writing, telephone, texting, e-mail, social networking etc) in any school related activity

Rationale

  1. To create a safe and happy social environment for everyone in KCVS.
  2. To create a school ethos, which encourages children to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour.
  3. To further the development of KCVS to meet the needs of the school’s staff and students.
  4. To meet the requirements of the Department of Education and Skills, Child Protection guidelines and procedures for Post Primary schools as they state the importance of having a written policy in place to deal with bullying behaviour and issues.
  5. To promote ownership, partnership and implementation of the policy by involving and encouraging all members of the school community in developing, formulating and reviewing this policy.

How Anti-Bullying relates to our Mission Statement

Our Mission Statement

KCVS aims:

  • To provide our students with the best possible education in a caring, disciplined and affirming environment
  • To develop the personal, academic and spiritual potential of each student.
  • To foster a sense of self-esteem, honesty and respect among all the members of our school community.
  • To create on-going opportunities for staff and parents; which will enable them to understand their role as educators.
  • To provide a welcoming environment for parents where they are partners in the education of their children.
  • Our anti-bullying policy is linked to our; Mission Statement, Code of Behaviour Policy, Child Protection Policy, Special Education Needs Policy, Care Policy, Health and Safety Policy and Enrolment Policy
  • The policy relates to the school’s mission statement as it promotes respect for the diversity of values, beliefs, traditions, languages and ways of life of everyone in our society.

Goals and Objectives

The objectives may include those listed in the guidelines and other particular to the school e.g.

  1. To create a school ethos which encourages students to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour.
  2. To raise awareness of bullying as an unacceptable form of behaviour with school management, teachers, students and parents/guardians.
  3. To ensure there is a cross-curricular approach to raising awareness of the factors associated with bullying behaviour and developing the appropriate knowledge, skills and behaviour to prevent and combat this behaviour.
  4. To take practical actions to prevent incidents of bullying behaviour e.g. to ensure comprehensive supervision and monitoring measures through which all areas of school activity are kept under observation.
  5. To develop procedure for reporting and recording incidents of bullying behaviour.
  6. To develop procedure for investigating and dealing with incidents of bullying behaviour.
  7. To develop a programme of support for those affected by bullying behaviour and those involved in bullying behaviour.
  8. To work with, and through, the various local agencies in countering all forms of bullying and anti-social behaviour.
  9. To create a caring and disciplined environment; which fosters mutual respect within the community.
  10. To offer support to both students and their families in a caring and non-judgemental manner by encouraging active involvement of the family in the student’s education.
  11. To nurture and enhance the self-esteem of each individual within the community.
  12. To foster values and attitudes that will lead to positive and responsible citizenship.

Definition of Bullying

The Department of Education and Skills procedures 2013 on countering bullying behaviour in primary and post-primary school, define bullying as ‘repeated aggression, verbal, psychological or physical, conducted by an individual or group against others.’

We in KCVS define bullying as ‘any form of harassment or inappropriate behaviour.  This includes physical, emotional, psychological, and racial or sexual harassment of any kind, or any threat of such abuse.’

Bullying takes many forms.  Bullying can be short-term, or continue over long periods, even years.  Bullying can quickly cause pain and distress in the ‘Victim’.  The main weapons of bullying are threat and fear.

 

Types of Bullying Behaviour

Types of Bullying Behaviour

 

 

 

                                              

Examples of Behaviour

 These may be Physical, Verbal, or Psychological in nature

General ·         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

· Slagging

· The production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other materials aimed at intimidating another person

· Graffiti

· Extortion

· Intimidation

·  Gestures

·  The ‘Look’

· Invasion of personal space

· A combination of any of the types listed.

 

Cyber

 

·         See Anti Cyber-Bullying Policy – appended

· Silent telephone/mobile phone call

·  Abusive telephone/mobile phone calls

· Abusive text messages/Messenger

·  Abusive email

· Abusive website comments

· Blogs

· Photos/pictures

 

Homophobic  ·  Spreading rumours about a person’s sexual orientation

·  Taunting a person of a different sexual orientation

·  Name calling e.g. Gay, Queer, Lesbian etc                                   

Racial  · Discrimination, prejudice, comments or insults about colour, nationality, culture, social class, religious beliefs, ethnic or traveller background.
Disability/Special Educational Needs  · Bullying those with disabilities or special education needs.
Relational  This involves manipulating relationships as a means of bullying.

Behaviours include:

· Malicious gossip

· Isolation & Exclusion

· Ignoring

·  Excluding from the group

·Taking someone’s friends away

· ‘Bitching’

· Spreading rumours

· Breaking confidence

· Talking loud enough so that the victim can hear

· The ‘look’

 

Sexual  ·Unwelcome sexual comments or touching

·Harassment

 

Actions to Prevent Bullying Behaviour

Kilkenny City Vocational School strives to raise awareness of bullying in a proactive manner.  The school’s pro-active approach will include the following steps:

At School level:

  • Year Head and Tutor.
  • Care Team.
  • NCSE Support Service; first year transition programme, Belonging Plus.
  • Well-Being workshops.
  • CPD – (for staff and students particularly in relation to cyber-bullying).
  • All staff members aware of the policy and the procedures to follow should an incident occur.
  • Student Council.
  • Corridor behaviour routines, SMILE, whole school classroom routines including the Everyday Board, group-work, assessment for learning AFL, differentiation and homework.
  • Parent – coffee mornings / talks.
  • New students / parents are made aware of school policy and procedures on bullying.
  • Supervision / monitoring of students by staff members during break times, events and trips etc.
  • Anti-Bullying print rich environment.
  • Positive Behaviour Programme (token economy).
  • Innovative anti-bullying strategies including quizzes, workshops and competitions.
  • KCVS Internet Acceptable Use Policy will be implemented by all of the school community to help create awareness of, prevent and combat cyber-bullying among students and staff of KCVS.

At School Level:

  • Class rules related to bullying and respect for everyone.
  • NCSE support services including; Belonging Plus, Alert Programme, Why Try?, Tough issues, Tough choices, Lego Therapy, Friends for Life, Anger Management Programme, Check and Connect, Talkabout for Teenagers, The Big Book of Blob Feelings, Football Mad for the ‘inner player’ and re-tracking.
  • Cross-curricular approach to creating awareness about bullying, developing skills and approaches to prevent and combat bullying, particularly SPHE, CSPE, PE and Guidance.
  • Strong anti-bullying culture in school.

Our Anti-Bullying Policy

  • We want our school to be a place where everyone can feel safe and secure.
  • We want everyone involved in our school community to understand and follow our policy.
  • No one in the KCVS community should feel victimised in any way.
  • Everyone is encouraged to speak out and share any worries or problems they are experiencing.
  • Everyone in our school community is responsible to ensure bullying is not tolerated.

Procedure for dealing with Incidents of Bullying Behaviour

  • All reports of bullying, no matter how trivial, should be noted, investigated and dealt with. In that way persons will gain confidence in ‘telling’.
  • All cases will be treated seriously, investigated with care, and with all possible confidentiality.
  • Sensitivity and respect will be made to resolve a complaint, and to the subject of the complaint.
  • Serious cases of bullying must be reported immediately to the principal.
  • Students will report their concerns to class teachers or any of their teachers.
  • Non-teaching staff will report incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them to the appropriate teaching member of staff.
  • A Complaint against a staff member should first be raised by the staff member in question and with the principal. Thereafter the complaint and disciplinary procedures will be followed as appropriate.

Formal procedure:

  • In our anti-bullying policy it has been laid down by our school that, bullying is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. The aim of the school is to resolve bullying issues.
  • Five basic questions must be investigated. Who? What? When? Where? Why?
  • In dealing with bullying, the school will take a calm, problem solving approach.
  • Appropriate personnel (principal / year head) will interview all of the students involved individually in a bullying incident.
  • Bullying behaviour is recorded in the KCVS recording template appendix 1.
  • In cases where it is considered that the bullying has not been adequately/appropriately addressed, it must be recorded in the DES procedures 2013 template appendix 3 as directed in circular 045/2013 within 20 school days.
  • The year head will be kept informed of all incidents and have access to relevant written reports.
  • Actions being taken by the school and the reasons for them will be clearly explained to the students involved and their parents / guardians.
  • If the incident is deemed to be minor, a verbal warning will be given to the student to stop the inappropriate behaviour, pointing out how he / she is in breach of the code of behaviour and trying to get her / him to see the situation from the victim’s point of view. The student will be given a formal warning.
  • If deemed appropriate, parents may be contacted. A meeting will be arranged with the parents, student and school management.  Student may be suspended for an appropriate period of time.  The Education Welfare Officer will be informed and sanctions taken.  The incident will be recorded on the student’s file while the victim will be supported in every way with the possibility of counselling.
  • In cases of cyber-bullying, the KCVS Internet Acceptable Use Policy will also work in conjunction with the Anti-Bullying Policy and the same procedures and sanctions will follow.
  • KCVS has adopted a specific Anti Cyber-Bullying Policy to address this form of bullying.