1. In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the code of behaviour guidelines issued by the TUSLA, the Board of Management of St. Michael’s & St. Patrick’s National School has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the framework of the school’s overall code of behaviour. This policy fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools which were published in September 2013.
  2. The Board of Management recognises the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact that it can have on the lives of pupils and is therefore fully committed to the following key principles of best practice in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour:
  • A positive school culture and climate which:
  • is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity;
  • encourages pupils to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour in a non-threatening environment; and
  • promotes respectful relationships across the school community;
  • Effective leadership;
  • A school-wide approach;
  • A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact;
  • Implementation of education and prevention strategies that:
  • build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils; and
  • explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying.
  • Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils;
  • Supports for staff;
  • Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour including use of established intervention strategies
  • On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.
  1. In accordance with the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools bullying is defined as follows:

Bullying is unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical conducted, by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time.

The following types of bullying behaviour are included in the definition of bullying:

  • deliberate exclusion, malicious gossip and other forms of relational bullying,
  • cyber-bullying
  • Physical aggression and Intimidation:
  • Name calling:
  • Damage to property
  • Extortion
  • identity-based bullying such as homophobic bullying, racist bullying, bullying based on a person’s membership of the Traveller community and bullying of those with disabilities or special educational needs.

Isolated or once-off incidents of intentional negative behaviour, including a once-off offensive or hurtful text message or other private messaging, do not fall within the definition of bullying and should be dealt with, as appropriate, in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour.

However, in the context of this policy, placing a once-off offensive or hurtful public message, image or statement on a social network site or other public forum where that message, image or statement can be viewed and/or repeated by other people will be regarded as bullying behaviour.

Negative behaviour that does not meet this definition of bullying will be dealt with in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour.

  1. The relevant teacher for investigating and dealing with bullying will be the class teacher.

 

Class Teacher
Junior Infants Ms. Brennan
Senior Infants Ms. Conroy/ Ms. Kilkenny
1st &  2nd Class Mr. Conboy
3rd &  4th Class Mr. Duffy
5th & 6th Class Ms. Gilhooly

 

  1. The education and prevention strategies that will be used by the school are as follows:
  • Where opportunity presents itself within the teaching of all subjects we will foster an attitude of respect for all, promote the value of diversity, to address prejudice and stereotyping and to highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.
  • There are a number of curriculum components and programmes which are particularly relevant to the prevention of bullying and the promotion of respect for diversity and inclusiveness. Through the SPHE curriculum we will make specific provision to explore bullying as well as the inter-related areas of belonging and integrating, communication, conflict, friendship, personal safety and relationships. By implementing the Walk Tall, Stay Safe and Web Wise programmes at primary level, we will develop personal safety skills to enhance children’s ability to recognise and cope with bullying.
  • This school’s approach to tackling and preventing bullying will take particular account of the needs of pupils with disabilities or with SEN. Approaches to decreasing the likelihood of bullying for pupils with SEN will include improving inclusion, focusing on developing social skills, paying attention to key moments such as transitioning from primary to post-primary and cultivating a positive school culture where respect for all and helping one another as central tenets.
  1. The school’s procedures for investigation, follow-up and recording of bullying behaviour and the established intervention strategies used by the school for dealing with cases of bullying behaviour are as follows:
  • The primary aim for the relevant teacher in investigating and dealing with bullying will be to resolve any issues and to restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved rather than to apportion blame.
  • In investigating and dealing with bullying, the teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved
  • All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher. In that way pupils will gain confidence in ‘telling’. This confidence factor is of vital importance to our school. It will be made clear to all pupils that when they report incidents of bullying they will not be considered to be telling tales but assured they are behaving responsibly
  • Non-teaching staff will be encouraged to report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher.
  • All interviews will be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils concerned.
  • If a group is involved, each member will be interviewed individually at first. Thereafter, all those involved will be met as a group.
  • Written accounts of the incident from those involved will be sought
  • Where the relevant teacher has determined that a pupil has engaged in bullying behaviour, it will be made clear to the pupil that they are in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy and efforts will be made to try to get them to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied;
  • In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, the parents of the parties involved will be contacted.
  • Parents and pupils will be requested to co-operate with any investigation and assist the school in resolving any issues and restoring, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved as quickly as possible, supporting the actions being taken by the school (including disciplinary sanctions if required) in accordance with school policy.
  • Follow-up meetings with the relevant parties involved will be arranged separately with a view to bringing them together at a later date when the pupil who has been bullied is ready and agreeable. This can have a therapeutic effect.
  • In cases where the relevant teacher considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after they have determined that bullying behaviour has occurred, it will be recorded by the relevant teacher using the recording template. (see attached).
  • This record will be completed in full and retained by the relevant teacher and a copy will be provided to the Principal/Deputy Principal. It should also be noted that the timeline for recording bullying behaviour as listed above does not in any way preclude the relevant teacher from consulting the Principal or Deputy Principal at an earlier stage in relation to a case.
  • In determining whether a bullying case has been adequately and appropriately addressed the relevant teacher will as part of their professional judgement, take the following factors into account:
    • Whether the bullying behaviour has ceased;
    • Whether any issues between the parties have been resolved as far as is practicable;
    • Whether the relationships between the parties have been restored as far as is practicable; and
    • Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parents or the school Principal or Deputy Principal;
  • The recording template will be completed in full and retained by the teacher in question and a copy provided to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable.
  • The Board of Management will ensure that the school records of the formal noting and reporting of bullying behaviour will be maintained in accordance with relevant data protection legislation.

Where a parent is not satisfied that the school has dealt with a bullying case in accordance with these procedures, the parents will be made aware of the school’s complaints procedures.

In the event that a parent has exhausted the school’s complaints procedures and is still not satisfied, the school will advise the parents of their right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman for Children.

Bullying behaviour can be part of a continuum of behaviour rather than a stand-alone issue and in some cases behaviour may escalate beyond that which can be described as bullying to serious physical or sexual assault or harassment. The school’s Anti-Bullying Policy works hand in hand with the school’s Code of Behaviour and the school’s Child Protection Policy.

This provides for referral to be made to relevant external agencies and authorities where appropriate.

  • In cases where the school has serious concerns in relation to managing the behaviour of a pupil, the advice of the National Education Psychological Service (NEPS) will be sought.
  • In serious instances of bullying behaviour and where the behaviour is regarded as potentially abusive, this will be referred to the HSE Children and Family Services and/or Gardaí as appropriate in accordance with the Children First and the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools and the school’s Child Protection Policy.
  1. The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
  • Where opportunity presents itself within the teaching of all subjects we will foster an attitude of respect for all, promote the value of diversity, to address prejudice and stereotyping and to highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.
  • There are a number of curriculum components and programmes which are particularly relevant to the prevention of bullying and the promotion of respect for diversity and inclusiveness. Through the SPHE curriculum we will make specific provision to explore bullying as well as the inter-related areas of belonging and integrating, communication, conflict, friendship, personal safety and relationships. By implementing the Stay Safe, Walk Tall and Web Wise programmes at primary level, we will develop personal safety skills to enhance children’s ability to recognise and cope with bullying.
  • A programme of support for pupils who have been bullied is in place. Where pupils need counselling, opportunities to participate in activities designed to raise their self-esteem and /or develop friendship and social skills the school will facilitate the organisation of same.
  • A programme of support for those pupils involved in bullying behaviour will also be part of the school’s intervention process.
  • For those with low self-esteem, opportunities will be developed to increase feelings of self-worth. Pupils who engage in bullying behaviour who show a need for counselling to help them learn other ways of meeting their needs without violating the rights of others the school will facilitate the organisation of same.
  • Pupils who observe incidents of bullying behaviour will be encouraged to discuss them with their teachers.
  1. Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils

The Board of Management confirms that appropriate supervision and monitoring policies and practices are in place to both prevent and deal with bullying behaviour and to facilitate early intervention where possible.

  1. Prevention of Harassment

The Board of Management confirms that the school will, in accordance with its obligations under equality legislation, take all such steps that are reasonably practicable to prevent the sexual harassment of pupils or staff or the harassment of pupils or staff on any of the nine grounds specified i.e. gender including transgender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community.

This policy was adopted by the Board of Management of St. Michael’s and St. Patrick’s N.S. on 14th November 2013.

 This policy was reviewed by the Board of Management of St. Michael’s and St. Patrick’s N.S. on 9th December 2014.  

This policy was reviewed by the Board of Management of St. Michael’s and St. Patrick’s N.S. on 10th December 2015.

This policy was reviewed by the Board of Management of St. Michael’s and St. Patrick’s N.S. on 19th January 2017.  

This policy was reviewed by the Board of Management of St. Michael’s and St. Patrick’s N.S. on 13th December 2017.

This policy was reviewed by the Board of Management of St. Michael’s and St. Patrick’s N.S. on 6th February 2019.

This policy will be available to school personnel, Board of Management, parents and pupils on request and provided to the Parents’ Association. The policy will be published on the school website. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.

This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year. Written notification that the review has been completed will be made available to school personnel, Board of Management and parents on request, published on the school website and provided to the Parents’ Association.

A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, for the patron and the Department.