In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the code of behaviour guidelines issued by the National Education Welfare Board, the Board of Management of Divine Word 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 Schools which were published in September 2013. The Divine Word School is a Catholic primary school that fosters respect for all members of our diverse community and values the dignity of each individual. With over 480 children enrolled, our school community represents over 50 different countries. The spiritual and caring ethos of our school is fostered and sustained by the Board of Management, the Principal, the parents, the teachers and staff of our school. Our goal is to ensure the total welfare of every child who is educated in our school. Divine Word School seeks to promote personal dignity and safety so that all members of our community may work and learn together in peace, free from all forms of harassment, bullying or negative behaviour. We are committed to maintaining an effective learning environment where:
- The parents / guardians are the primary educators
- Our children are valued
- Our children can feel secure and safe
- Our children are supported to develop their intellectual, social and emotional skills
- Our children learn to appreciate and view positively differences in others whether arising from race, culture, gender, sexuality, physical appearance, ability or disability
- Our children learn to take responsibility for their actions and behaviours both in school and in the wider community
- All forms of bullying and harassment are challenged
2. KEY PRINCIPLES OF BEST PRACTICE
The Board of Management, teaching staff and parents recognise the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact that it can have on the lives of children. Our goal is to maintain a positive school culture in general and specifically in relation to repeated negative behaviour that impacts others. We are fully committed to the following key principles of best practice in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour:
- Effective leadership supporting a school culture and climate that celebrates diversity and welcomes difference and is based on inclusivity
- Promotion of respectful relationships across the school community
- Introduction of Restorative Practice, a programme which emphasises repairing harm and restoring friendship.
- Effective supervision and monitoring of children
- Encouraging the child to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour in a non-threatening environment
- Empowering the child as a potential witness of negative behaviour to “tell”
- Shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact.
- Shared commitment to approaches that seek to repair and restore interpersonal relationships
- Implementation of education and prevention strategies that build empathy, respect and resilience in children and explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying including homophobic and transphobic bullying in an age appropriate manner
- Support for class teachers in carrying out their duty of care
- Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour
- Evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy
3. THE DEFINITION OF BULLYING
In accordance with the Anti-Bullying Procedures for 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, such as persistent name calling or isolation.
- Identity-based bullying such as racist bullying, bullying of those with disabilities, physical differences or special educational needs, bullying based on a person’s membership of the Traveller community and homophobic bullying.
Isolated or once-off incidents of intentional negative behaviour, including a once-off offensive or hurtful text message or other online private (direct post) 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 private 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.
Additional information on different types of bullying is set out in Section 2.2 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary