Policies - Preventing and Managing Bullying

To be read in conjunction with the school Behaviour Management Policy

Rationale

"All members of our school community are committed to ensuring a safe and supportive environment where all members have the right to be respected and have a responsibility to respect each other."

Whole-school Community Rights and Responsibilities in Relation to Bullying

Students, staff, parents, caregivers and the wider community have the right to a safe and supportive learning environment in schools.  For this to occur all school community members have a responsibility to prevent and respond to reports and observations of bullying.

Rights and Responsibilities of School Community Members

All students, teachers, parents, wider school community - Rights

  • Are safe and supported in the school environment; and
  • are treated with respect.

 All students, teachers, parents, wider school community - Responsibilities

  • Establish positive relationships; and
  • respect and accept individual differences.

Administrators - Rights

  • Are supported in developing and implementing the school's plan to prevent and effectively manage bullying.

Administrators - Responsibilities

  •  Provide leadership in resourcing the school's prevention and effective management of bullying;
  • implement the school plan;
  • ensure parents are informed of the school plan; and
  • support staff to implement the school's plan.

Staff - Rights

  • Feel safe and supported in the workplace;
  • access to curriculum resources suitable for supporting students in building positive relationships, resiliency, safety and bullying prevention;
  • are informed of the school's plan on bullying;
  • are treated with respect in the workplace; and
  • access to professional learning in preventing and effectively managing bullying.

 Staff - Responsibilities

  • Promote and model positive relationships;
  • participate in implementing the school plan to counter bullying;
  • identify and respond to bullying incidents;
  • teach students how to treat other with care and respect;
  • teach students how to respond effectively to bullying;
  • promote social problem solving with students; and
  • respect and accept individual differences.

Students - Rights

  • Access to curriculum that supports the building of resiliency and problem solving strategies;
  • are informed of the school's plan on bullying; and
  • if involved, are provided with support to stop bullying.

Students - Responsibilities

  • Treat others with care and
  • respect; and
  • identify and respond effectively to bullying.

Parents - Rights

  • Expect children to be safe and provided with a supportive school environment and treated with respect; and
  • are provided with access to information on the prevention and response strategies related to bullying.Support and encourage children to treat others with respect and act in accordance with the school plan if they observe bullying;

Parents - Responsibilities

  • encourage children to report bullying incidents; and
  • are aware of school plans and support school in effectively managing bullying.

Wider community: including other professionals - Rights

  • Strategic inclusion in prevention and bullying incident management. 

Wider community: including other professionals - Responsibilities

  • Provide support and input into the school's approach to preventing and managing bullying.

Common Understandings About Bullying

Definition of Bullying

Bullying is when an individual or group misuses power to target another individual or group to intentionally threaten or harm them on more than one occasion. This may involve verbal, physical, relational and psychological forms of bullying. 

Types of Bullying

Bullying takes many forms and can include:

  •  Verbal Bullying: The repeated use of words to hurt or humiliate another individual or group. Verbal bullying includes using put-downs, insulting language, name-calling, swearing, nasty notes and homophobic, racist or sexist comments.
  • Psychological Bullying: Includes repeated stalking, threats or implied threats, unwanted email or text messaging, abusive websites, threatening gestures, manipulation, emotional blackmail, and threats to an individual's reputation and sense of safety.
  • Relational Bullying: Usually involves repeatedly ostracising others by leaving them out or convincing others to exclude or reject another individual or group from their social connections, making up or spreading rumours and sharing or threatening to share another's personal information.
  • Physical Bullying: Includes repetitive low level hitting, kicking, pinching, pushing, tripping, "ganging up", unwanted physical or sexual touching, and damage to personal property.
  • Cyber Bullying: Involves the use of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, text messages, instant messaging and websites to engage in the bullying of other individuals or groups. This technology provides an alternative means for verbal, relational and psychological forms of bullying.
  • Bystanders to Bullying:  Bullying also involves the concept of "bystanders".  A bystander may be someone who sees bullying or knows about it but he or she is not usually directly involved.  Everyone at the school can have a role in supporting those who are being bullied.  All members of the whole school community at Manning Primary School need to be aware of their role in supporting those who are being bullied and their responsibility to discourage bullying behaviours when they observe them.  Any member of the school community can be a bystander and can act successfully to prevent or stop bullying.  Sometimes it is difficult to act at the time of the bullying incident but reporting bullying behaviour is also important.  Bystanders are encouraged to report to someone who can help, such as a member of the school staff. 

School Strategies to Prevent and Manage Bullying

Whole-School Prevention Strategies

  • a school culture that seeks to be proactive and restore relationships damaged through conflict;
  • awareness-raising and planning to deal with specific forms of bullying in particular cyber-bullying and racism;
  • close collaboration with parents and the wider community on bullying;
  • professional development for staff on identifying the signs of a student being bullied;
  • positive staff role modelling;
  • Provision of parent information to raise parent awareness of bullying - Bullying Brochures.
  • Implementation of school wide social skills program - PATHs and Aussie Optimism
  • School based youth worker to liaise with at risk students;
  • providing incentives for respectful behaviour;
  • long term, whole school prevention curriculum which starts in the early years and includes:
    • understanding what behaviours constitute bullying;
    • why bullying is unacceptable;
    • the development of effective bystander behaviour;
    • understanding the school's processes for preventing and managing bullying; and
    • awareness raising of cyber-bullying and strategies to deal with it.
  • a coordinated, highly visible (orange jackets) and active approach to playground supervision;
  • identification of and supervision adjustments to high-risk situations;
  • recognising and reinforcing positive playground behaviour and positive social relationships;
  • recording and managing playground bullying incidents on INTEGRIS.

Investigation of Bullying Incident.

Each Bullying incident will require careful and thorough investigation.

  1. Staff informed of incident by child or parent
  2. No Blame approach implemented. Parents notified.
  3. Bullying re-occurs - Sanctions to apply. These may include specific play area, detention or suspension.
  4. Ongoing monitoring of students involved.

Appendix A

No blame approach

The no blame approach provides teachers with a way of encouraging empathy and dealing with individual bullying or harassment behaviours. The teacher acts both as facilitator and intermediary between the parties. Here is the no blame approach sequence:

Step 1 - Talk with the victim 
Teacher talks to the victim to establish the impact that the bullying has had on them. It is not designed to gather "facts" about who said or did what to who. The victim will be encouraged to suggest the names of people to form a group who should help solve the problem. These will include those involved, colluders and perhaps friends of the victim.

Step 2 - Convene a meeting of the group
Teacher gathers the group together ensuring that there is a balance between helpful and reliable students and those whose behaviour has been causing a problem.

Step 3 - Explain the problem
Teacher explains that there is a problem and that "Sarah" is experiencing certain difficulties. Without discussing specific incidents or accusations the facilitator explains how "Sarah" is feeling.

Step 4 - Share responsibility
Teacher points out that no one is going to be punished and that the group has been convened to help solve the problem because there is a shared responsibility for "Sarah's" happiness.

Step 5 - Ask for ideas
Teacher asks the group to suggest ways that they may be able to alleviate the suffering felt by the victim. Members of the group are encouraged to use "I" language (I will sit next to her in lessons, I will walk to school with her etc) so that they take ownership of the solutions. These ideas are not imposed on the group by the facilitator.

Step 6 - Leave it up to them
Teacher ends the meeting by passing responsibility for the problem over to the group, thanks them for their support and arranges a meeting to see how things are going.

Step 7 - Meet them again
Teacher meets each of the group individually a week later to see how things are going.