Behaviour by an individual or group, usually repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally (DCFS 2007).
Acceptance by a school that bullying can and does occur is a sign of strength, not of weakness. The strong school encourages children and adults to bring any problems out into the open, and then takes action.
The first hurdles to overcome in tackling bullying are recognising that there is, or maybe, the problem of bullying in the school, whether this be adult towards adult, adult towards pupil or pupil towards pupil, and indeed the perception of what constitutes bullying. Bullying is a school discipline issue, and a shared responsibility of school, parents, carers, and pupils. Bullying can and must always be stopped.
Aims of our policy
Pupils and staff have all agreed that St. Giles School should be a caring, secure and supporting environment that encourages everybody to be friendly and feel safe.
Our anti-bullying policy aims to:-
- recognise that bullying exists
- prevent bullying by working in partnership with pupils, parents and carers and encouraging them to be actively involved in supporting the school in our efforts to stamp out bullying
- deal with bullying when it occurs
- reinforce our policy through the St. Giles School Code, Pastoral Care System and the P.H.S.E. Curriculum.
Types of bullying
taunting, name calling, threats of violence, intimidation and exclusion of the victim.
obvious assault, e.g. kicking, hitting, demanding money with menaces also deliberate damage to possessions.
isolation from the group and ‘ganging’ up on someone.
any of the above carried through the use of email or text messaging.
Racial, sexual or homophobic bullying:-
any of the above carried out because of a person’s ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation
The Victim:- Some possibilities
- May look different
- New to the class or school
- Suffers from low self esteem
- They react to bullying/demonstrate entertaining reactions to abuse.
Remember, vulnerability is not always visible. A victim may look like anyone else.
For the victim of bullying the school will provide protection, support and reassurance to develop and re-establish self-esteem and self confidence as well as developing a more effective range of social skills aimed at enabling victims to avoid future experiences of bullying.
Possible signs of bullying in a pupil
Parents, carers, peers and school staff are in an ideal position to be able to observe changes in a child’s behaviour which may well indicate that they are the subject of bullying.
So, look out for:-
Frequent injuries to the child (bruises, cuts, etc.)
The child who becomes withdrawn and is reluctant to say why.
Those who spend a lot of time in their rooms, possibly crying; who finds it difficult to sleep, wet the bed or who have nightmares. School may become aware that the child always appears to be tired.
Reluctance to go to school. Parents may not even be aware of this as the child could be playing truant. It may only be noticed by the school through absenteeism showing up in the register.
Requests to be accompanied going to and from school or to go by a different route. If this is longer than the previous one it could well indicate that bullying has been occurring.
Money in the house or school going missing.
Depression in the child. Reluctance to eat or play normally. General unhappiness.
Taken individually the above may not be due to bullying, but a combination of even some of these signs could be a good reason to suspect it.
Responses to bullying
Any person who is being bullied, or who suspects bullying is encouraged to tell any adult or friend of their concerns. Equally the school relies on parents or carers to report any concerns they may have to them.
Pupils, parents, carers and colleagues can be assured that incidents will be handled discreetly and sensitively.
The bully will be dealt with in a direct and non-aggressive manner.
The bully will be given the opportunity to make amends and show a change in behaviour.
If you come across bullying, what should you do?
Remain calm, you are in charge. Reacting emotionally may make matters worse and give the bully control of the situation.
Take the incident or report seriously.
Speak to and possibly record statements from bystanders a.s.a.p.
Take action speedily.
Think about whether your action should be public or private.
Reassure the victim, don’t make them feel inadequate or foolish.
Offer concrete support.
Make it clear to the bully that you disapprove.
Encourage the bully to see the victim’s point of view.
Punish the bully if you have to, but with care, reacting aggressively reinforces to the bully that it’s o.k. to bully, that it gives you power.
Explain the punishment and why it’s being given.
Inform S.M.T. and the class teacher/ mention in whole school meeting.
Inform colleagues so that they can be vigilant.
Ensure that parents/carers are informed.
Make sure that the incident does not live on through reminders from you.
Try to think ahead to avoid reoccurrence.
If you have to deal with bullying, what to avoid:-
Be over protective and refuse to allow the victim to help himself
Assume that the bully is bad through and through
Keep the matter secret
Call in the parents without a constructive plan
Actions and sanctions
School staff should at all times be alert to the practice of bullying and endeavour through all their school activities to promote positive attitudes.
School staff should provide supportive and impartial responses to pupil’s accounts of bullying, giving them the confidence to report future instances.
The school should keep written records of instances of bullying in the Incident Book and maintain effective communication between home and school.
The victim will be offered immediate support.
Provide a safe haven for victims so that they can talk in confidence.
In certain situations a meeting between bully and victim may be sought in order to affect a reconciliation.
Parents/carers of both the bully and the victim will be informed. The police may also be informed.
All incidents will be recorded in the Incident Book and monitored regularly.
Bullies will be dealt with according to the seriousness and nature of the incident.
There cannot be one standard response to bullying. Isolation from preferred social groups, favoured extra-curricular activities and leisure/free time are all examples of sanctions that can be used.
Depending on the frequency and severity of involvement by an individual the Exclusion Procedures may be invoked.
We should all work in partnership to eradicate bullying.
Reviewed March 2014