Anti-Bullying Policy - OLSS Belmullet

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Anti-Bullying Policy


Anti-Bullying Policy


The following policy was developed through a collaborative approach involving an Anti-Bullying Committee, the Principal, the Staff, the Parent Association, the Student Council and the Board of Management.

Scope of Policy

It is a whole school policy, which addresses issues related to bullying of students. The policy applies to the staff and the wider school community in terms of implementation.  When dealing with staff to staff relation, other policies and legislation, such as Dignity in the Workplace and the Employment Equality Acts 1998 and 2004 apply.

When will the Policy Apply?

The policy will apply:

• During school time
• On official school outings/trips/tours
• During all extra-curricular activities

Note:  This policy recognises that the school is not responsible for monitoring/investigation/resolving bullying incidents, which occur outside of the times outlined above.  It is the parent(s)/guardian(s) who is/are responsible.


The principle of the school is, ‘To promote Christian values of justice, mercy and respect for each other in keeping with the message of the Gospel’.  Bullying undermines this principle and therefore a policy to deal with bullying is essential.

The policy is also consistent with the Department of Education and Science Guidelines for Countering Bullying in Primary and Post-Primary Schools (1993) as outlined below:

‘Bullying behaviour, by its very nature, undermines and dilutes the quality of education and imposes psychological damage.  As such, it is an issue which must be positively and firmly addressed through a range of school-based measures and strategies through which all members of the school community are enabled to act effectively in dealing with this behaviour.’

Involving and encouraging all members of the school community in developing, formulating and reviewing this policy on bullying promotes partnership, ownership and implementation of a living policy.

Links to Mission Statement

Mission Statement:

Our Lady’s Secondary School is a co-educational voluntary Catholic secondary school under the trusteeship of CEIST.  Our aim is to promote the development of the total person, by creating a climate where the spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social and cultural development of all its students is a priority.

This response to bullying is linked directly to our mission statement, in particular in the following sections:

• To promote Christian Values of justice, mercy and respect for each other in keeping with The Message of the Gospel.

• To uphold an agreed code of behaviour

• To ensure the provision of a choice of leisure and recreational activities.

• To develop each student’s sense of self-worth and self-esteem by respecting each student for what he/she is – not for what they achieved.

• To encourage the active involvement of parents and the local community as partners in the educational process

Definition of Bullying

The Department of Education & Science definition is:

Bullying is repeated aggression conducted by an individual or a group against others - such aggressive behaviour may be verbal, psychological or physical (Department of Education & Science, Guidelines on countering bullying behaviour in Primary and Post Primary school).

Bullying can occur through several types of anti-social behaviour.  It can be:

• Physical - Where a person is physically kicked, punched, hit spat at etc.
• Verbal - Verbal abuse can take the form of name-calling.  It may be directed towards physical/social disability or personality, sexuality, hurtful jeering of mothers/fathers or other family members, academic performance etc.
• Exclusion/Isolation - A person can be bullied by being excluded from discussions or activities with those they believe to be their friends
• Damage to Property or Theft - A person’s property may be damaged or stolen.  Physical threats may be used by the bully in order that property is handed over to them
• Extortion - Demands for money, possessions or equipment, often accompanied by threats or daring/forcing others to steal
• E-Bullying - Using the web pages, anonymous phone calls, e-mails and test messaging to abuse, intimidate and attach others, either directly or indirectly i.e. rumour mongering
• Racism - Discrimination against a person’s ethnic background, skin colour etc.

Bullying is not an isolated incident of aggression between people.  Disputes will take place and will be dealt with accordingly.  Unpleasant as these incidents are, they are not bullying and should not be reported as such.


• To raise awareness of bullying as an unacceptable form of behaviour
• To create a safe environment for all members of our school community
• To promote a culture of openness
• To resolve bullying issues as they arise.
• To support each other b y reporting instances of bullying
• To promote respect and courtesy for everyone in the school community


• Pupils, staff and parents will treat one another and their belongings fairly and with respect
• Bullying behaviour will not be tolerated in Our Lady’s Secondary School
• People feel safe and are able to report bullying without being afraid
• People stand up for and support each other
• To put in place a procedure for noting, reporting and responding to incidents of bullying

The following symptoms may indicate that a pupil is being bullied:

• Anxiety about travelling to and from school
• Unwillingness to go to school
• Patten of unexplained absenteeism or lateness
• Pattern of illness
• Unexplained changes in mood or behaviour
• Out of character comments about pupils or teachers
• Possessions missing oar damaged
• Increased requests for money or stealing
• Unexplained bruising or damaged clothing

These signs do not necessarily mean that a pupil is being bullied.  If they are repeated they require investigation.

Raising Awareness of Bullying as a form of Unacceptable Behaviour:

• This will be achieved by displaying key points from the policy in every classroom
• Anti-bullying lessons will be run through the SPHE programme and by raising awareness in CSPE and Religion classes
• A Mentoring system  - 5th Year matched with 1st Year student
• Class tutor meets class each morning
• Carry out regular surveys and respond to information gathered

Identifying target areas - How to discover bullying

How can you tell and who to tell if you are being bullied:

• Tell your Tutor, Year Head, Special Needs Assistant (SNA), Caretaker, Chaplain or any teacher or a member of the Student Council
• Tell the teacher after class or at another time
• Write a note and hand it up with homework
• Telephone the school or write to the school: Josephine Moran, Acting Principal, on 097-81157

Procedures for noting and reporting incidents of bullying:

1. All reports of bullying will be noted, investigates and dealt with by teachers
2. It will be made clear to pupils that reporting is the right option, that they will receive help and that they will be kept informed
3. When a teacher received a report of bullying a report must be competed in the Bullying Book
4. The Bullying Report will be passed on to the Year Head
5. Serious cases of bullying will be referred immediately to the Deputy Principal & Principal
6. In cases where it has been determined that bullying has occurred, parents/guardians will be informed so that they are given the opportunity of discussing the matter and expressing their concerns
7. Parents/guardians should report a suspected incident of bullying to the Class Tutor, Year Head or Principal
8. Non-teaching staff such as special needs assistants, caretakers, secretaries, cleaning staff and supervisors will be encouraged to report any incident of bullying witnessed by them
9. In the case of a complaint regarding a staff member, this will normally be dealt with by the Principal
10. In the case of a complaint regarding the Principal, the matter will be dealt with by the Board of Management through the agreed complaints procedure
11. Where cases remain unresolved at school level, the matter will be referred to the Board of Management

Procedures for investigating and dealing with bullying:

1. The investigating teachers(s) will be calm and objective.  The matter will be dealt with outside the classroom to avoid humiliation to any party involved
2. The teacher(s) will speak separately to the pupils involved in an attempt to get both sides of the story.  Interviews will be conducted with due regard to the rights of all involved
3. The teacher(s) will investigate the incident by seeking answers to questions of what, when, who and why.  Factual notes will be kept of each stage in investigation
4. Pupils may be asked to write down their account of the incident
5. If a group is involved, each member will be interviewed separately
6. If it is concluded that a pupil has been involved in bullying behaviour, it will be made clear to him/her that he/she is in breach of the school’s Code of Behaviour.  The teacher will also try to get him/her to see the victim’s position and the sanctions will be those agreed upon in the discipline code, ratified by the whole school community

Roles & Responsibilities

The school management team are responsible for ensuring that the policy is implemented.

Success Criteria

Well-being and happiness of the whole school community in the light of incidents of bullying behaviour encountered and resolved.

Monitoring Implementation

Parent(s)/guardian(s) and all members of staff; include on agenda for teaching staff meetings at least once a year.

Review & Evaluation

Full review every three years; annual evaluation through random surveys drawn up by any of the three education partners to ascertain the level and type of bullying behaviour in the school carried out on an ongoing basis by tutors and year heads.

Legislation Equality Proofing

This policy is drawn up in line with current legislation.

Sanctioned by Board: 12 January 2010

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