Preventing and Controlling Bullying Policy
Bullying is a global term that describes a range of unacceptable behaviours ranging from name calling to violent physical assault. Bullying in schools is not a new phenomenon and has been identified as an issue of concern for students, teachers, parents and the wider community. In recent times, digital technologies have also become a forum for these actions, and cyberbullying is also a pertinent issue to these stakeholders.
Bullying is an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that causes physical and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power over one or more persons. Bullying can happen in person or online, and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert). Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long term effects on those involved, including bystanders. Single incidents and conflict or fights between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying.
Bullying can take many forms including:
- Verbal (name calling, put downs, threats)
- Physical (hitting, punching, kicking, scratching, tripping, spitting)
- Social (ignoring, excluding, ostracising, alienating)
- Psychological (spreading rumours, stalking, dirty looks, hiding or damaging possessions or acts that instil a sense of fear or anxiety)
- Cyberbullying, where the above behaviours are enacted in an online forum. Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumours sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.
School and Classroom Programs & Practices
Teachers actively promote the positive resolution of conflicts and appropriate responses to bullying behaviour through the provision of classroom programs, such as C.A.R.E.restorative practise and circle time, which the development of:
- positive relationships
- social skills
- communication and problem solving skills, conflict resolution skills and processes
- education regarding appropriate behaviours when using online forums and social media.
- accepting and celebrating individual differences
To establish a caring and cooperative classroom climate, teachers are encouraged to focus on cooperative group work and other teaching strategies that encourage participation and peer connectedness.
Strategies can include:
- engaging students in their learning through inclusive teaching and learning practices
- teaching and modelling appropriate problem solving skills and related non-bullying behaviours
- encouraging students to feel comfortable in discussing issues and concerns
- valuing and promoting classroom discussions on student related issues
- focusing on a problem solving approach to student issues to ensure that the problems are better addressed in the future
- providing specific classroom activities that ensure students have the necessary knowledge and skills to respond positively and creatively to conflicts
- being consistent in the application of class rules
- valuing and promoting partnerships between staff members, parents and the broader community
Responding to Bullying Incidents
The school has clear guidelines to responding to bullying incidents. Should repeated incidences (bullying or cyberbullying) occur, the following actions will be taken:
- the Principal and Assistant Principal will be informed
- incident to be logged using the school tracking processing and recognising the privacy of all parties
- parents of all students involved to be notified
- restorative practise carried out with victims and students carrying out the bullying-a consequence will be given in accordance with the whole school behaviour management plan.
- in grave instances, an Individual Behaviour Management plan will be created and further action, e.g. suspension, may be enacted. The intervention of School Support Services will be used as necessary.
Individual Behaviour Management Plan
An Individual Behaviour Management Plan drawn up by the Assistant Principal, class teacher, the student and parents. The Plan will be simple, measurable, reliable and set within a time frame and will state:
- What is the behaviour goal for that student
- How to achieve the plan
- When to start the plan
- When the plan will be reviewed
A further meeting will be held at the end of the period to review progress. The intervention of School Support Services will be used as necessary.