Procedures for Addressing Bullying

We believe our students have the right to learn in a supportive, caring and safe environment without the fear of being bullied.

A safe and supportive school is described in the following way:

“In a safe and supportive school…….. diversity is valued and all members of the school community feel respected and included and can be confident that they will receive support in the face of any threats to their safety and wellbeing”. (NSSF)

A Definition of Bullying:

Our school defines bullying as:

"A person is bullied or victimised when he or she is exposed repeatedly, and over time, to negative action on the part of one or more other persons" (Olweus, 1984). Bullying is repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological behaviour that is harmful and involves the misuse of power by an individual or group towards one or more persons.

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

PHYSICAL: A child can be repeatedly punched, kicked or hit.

VERBAL: Verbal abuse can take the form of name-calling and teasing. It may be directed towards gender, ethnic origin, physical / social disability, or personality.

EXCLUSION: A child can be bullied simply by being excluded from games / discussions / activities, with those they believe to be their friends.

DAMAGE TO PROPERTY OR THEFT: Pupils may have their property damaged or stolen. The bully may use physical threats in order that the pupil will hand over property to them.

Should a case of alleged bullying occur, the Principal or Assistant Principal will be informed immediately and a thorough investigation will take place to establish the facts. If what has happened proves to be bullying an incident report will be completed and the parents of the student who was bullying will be informed. The parents of the student who was bullied will also be informed.

Procedural steps in responding to bullying incidents:

St Joachim's School adopts procedural steps for responding to bullying incidents to:

  • prevent, de-escalate and/or stop any continuation of harmful behaviour
  • React to incidents in a reasonable, proportionate and consistent manner
  • Protect the student who has experienced the bullying behaviour and provide appropriate support for the student
  • Apply the appropriate Student Behaviour Support procedure for the student/s who has engaged in bullying behaviour and ensure that there is a positive outcome, adequate follow up and that relationships are restored for all involved.

Responsibilities:

Prin​cipal:

  • Assists in the creation of a positive school climate of respectful relationships where bullying behaviours are not tolerated and cannot flourish
  • Consults with other school ​staff (and if required, School Services and Student Wellbeing personnel) and uses professional judgment to determine the appropriate response strategy for a specific behavioural issue. The BCE Student Behaviour Support Guidelines, Regulations and Procedures provide a set of factors to consider in determining the appropriate level of response.
  • Takes responsibility for the implementation of the school’s anti-bullying procedures
  • Identifies patterns of bullying behaviour and initiates school action to address them
  • Embeds anti-bullying messages into each curriculum area and in every year
  • Ensures the development, implementation and evaluation of education and prevention strategies to promote student safety and wellbeing
  • Responds to incidents of bullying that have been reported to the school quickly and effectively
  • Ensures that support will be given to any student who has been affected by, engaged in or witnessed bullying behaviour

School staff:

  • Support the school in maintaining a safe and supportive learning environment.
  • Model and promote appropriate right relationships and behaviours
  • Respond in a timely manner to incidents of bullying according to the school’s student behaviour support plan
  • Support students to be effective bystanders while maintaining their own safety
  • Know the school's student behaviour support plan and anti-bullying procedures and reporting structures
  • Promote a school culture where bullying is not acceptable
  • Teach students to identify, react, report and respond to bullying at school and online

In addition, teachers have a responsibility to:

  • Provide curriculum and pedagogy that supports students to develop an understanding of bullying and its impact on individuals and the broader community.

Parents/Caregivers:

  • Keep the school informed of concerns around behaviour, their child’s health and wellbeing issues or other matters of relevance
  • Communicate in a respectful manner with school staff about issues of concern
  • Support their children to become responsible citizens and to develop responsible online behaviours
  • Support their children in developing supportive bystander behaviours
  • Work collaboratively with the school to resolve incidents when they happen.
Students:
  • Are respectful towards other students, staff and members of the school community
  • Understand what bullying is, what is not bullying and how to report bullying
  • Behave as responsible digital citizens
  • Communicate with an appropriate adult if bullied or harassed or if they are aware someone else is being bullied or harassed
  • Learn to be an effective bystander, so that bullying and harassment are discouraged through peer influence​

Support for students and appropriate responses:

Our school supports victims of bullying in the following ways:

  • Offering an immediate opportunity to talk about the experience with their class teacher, another teacher or member of administration if they choose.
  • Informing the parents/guardians of the student who was bullied.
  • Offering continuing support.

Students who are bystanders - it is important that all students be taught to recognise bullying, report bullying and have the opportunity to practice safe ways to effectively intervene, maintaining personal safety, when bullying occurs. Students who witness bullying as a bystander may be called upon to contribute to investigations of alleged bullying.​

Although our school disciplines students who may have bullied, we also try to help these students in the following ways:

  • Talking about what happened, to discover why they became involved.
  • Informing the parents of the student who is bullying.
  • Continuing to work with the students in order to eliminate prejudiced attitudes as much as possible.

Disciplinary steps when a bullying incident occurs:

  • Students who bully are officially warned to stop offending.
  • The parents/guardians/carers of the student who is being bullied, and the student who is bullying, are informed.
  • The student demonstrating bullying behaviour may be excluded from the playground at break and/or play times for a period of time deemed appropriate.
  • Students may be placed on an individual behaviour management plan and are required to 'check in' with an appropriate member of staff.
  • If a student does not stop bullying, after been officially warned, an “in school” or “out of school” suspension is considered.

Definitions:

National definitions have been developed by the MCEETYA ‘Safe and Supportive School Communities’ management group and used in the National Safe Schools’ Framework (2011)

Aggression:

Aggression is words or actions (both overt and covert) that are directed towards another and intended to harm, distress, coerce or cause fear.

Bullying:

Definition for Teachers, Parents and Carers:

Bullying is repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological behaviour that is harmful and involves the misuse of power by an individual or group towards one or more persons.

  • Cyber bullying refers to bullying through information and communication technologies.
  • Conflict or fights between equals and single incidents are not defined as bullying.
  • Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved including bystanders.

For use with younger students: Bullying is when someone targets another child again and again and tries to make them feel bad. They say or do many mean and hurtful things, make fun of them a lot, try to stop them from joining in or make others not like them. Although it isn’t nice if someone says or does something mean to someone else, we don’t necessarily call that bullying. It also isn’t bullying if children of the same age have a one-off argument.

For use with older students: Bullying is when one student (or a group) targets another student again and again to upset or hurt them. They might hurt them physically, try to socially isolate them or say and do many mean or humiliating things to them. Although it’s neither respectful nor acceptable if someone behaves in a mean or aggressive way on one occasion, it isn’t considered bullying. A fight or disagreement between students of equal power or status isn’t considered bullying.

What is NOT Bullying?

There are also some behaviours, which, although they might be unpleasant or distressing, are not bullying:\

  • Mutual conflict - which involves a disagreement, but not an imbalance of power. Unresolved mutual conflict can develop into bullying if one of the parties targets the other repeatedly in retaliation.
  • Single-episode acts of nastiness or physical aggression, or aggression directed towards many different people, is not bullying unless it becomes a pattern of behaviours.
  • Social rejection or dislike is not bullying unless it involves deliberate and repeated attempts to cause distress, exclude or create dislike by others.

Conflict:

Conflict is a mutual disagreement, argument or dispute between people where no one has a significant power advantage and both feel equally aggrieved.

  • Conflict is different to bullying because there is always an imbalance of power in bullying. However, poorly resolved conflict situations, especially those involving friendship break-ups or romantic break-ups sometimes lead to either aggression or bullying.
  • Conflict can be a precursor to bullying where there are instances of repeated conflict and where the balance of power changes.

Covert bullying:

Covert bullying is a subtle type of non-physical bullying which usually isn't easily seen by others and is conducted out of sight of, and often unacknowledged by, adults. Covert bullying behaviours mostly inflict harm by damaging another's social reputation, peer relationships and self-esteem. Covert bullying can be carried out in a range of ways (e.g. spreading rumours, encouraging a third party to engage in bullying behaviour, conducting a malicious social exclusion campaign and/or through the use of internet or mobile phone technologies).

Cyber bullying:

Cyber bullying is a term used to describe bullying that is carried out through internet or mobile phone technologies. It is often combined with offline bullying. It may include a combination of behaviours such as pranking (i.e. hang-up calls), sending insulting text messages, publishing someone's private information, creating hate sites or implementing social exclusion campaigns in social networking sites. It is also cyber bullying when a student uses technology to run a multi-step campaign to bully another student (e.g. setting another student up to be assaulted, video recording their humiliation, posting the video-recording online and then sending the website address to others).

It is important to recognize that cyberbullying is a form of bullying, and as such schools should already be equipped to deal with the majority of cyberbullying cases through their existing Whole School Student Behaviour Support Plan.

Cyber safe behaviours:

Cyber-safe behaviours are defined as the safe, respectful and responsible use of internet and mobile phone technology.

Cyber harassment:

Cyber harassment is a single episode of aggression (e.g. an insult, threat, nasty denigrating comment) against a specific student carried out through internet or mobile phone technologies.

Discrimination:

Discrimination occurs when people are treated less favourably than others because of their race, culture or ethnic origin; religion; physical characteristics; gender; sexual orientation; marital, parenting or economic status; age; ability or disability. Discrimination is often ongoing and commonly involves exclusion or rejection.

Harassment:

Harassment is behaviour that targets an individual or group due to their identity, race, culture or ethnic origin; religion; physical characteristics; gender; sexual orientation; marital, parenting or economic status; age; ability or disability and that offends, humiliates, intimidates or creates a hostile environment. Harassment may be an ongoing pattern of behaviour, or it may be a single act. It may be directed randomly or towards the same person/s. It may be intentional or unintentional (i.e. words or actions that offend and distress one person may be genuinely regarded by the person doing them as minor or harmless). Harassment is unacceptable and needs to be addressed as part of creating a safe school but it would not be considered bullying if any one or more of the following three features were present.

  • It occurred only once and was not part of a repeated pattern
  • It (genuinely) was not intended to offend, demean, annoy, alarm or abuse.
  • It was not directed towards the same person/s each time.

Supportive Bystander Behaviour:

Supportive Bystander Behaviour is when the actions of a supportive bystander can stop or diminish a specific bullying incident or help another student to recover from it. A bystander is someone who sees or knows about child maltreatment, harassment, aggression, violence or bullying that is happening to someone else. Supportive bystander behaviours are actions and/or words that are intended to support someone who is being attacked, abused or bullied.

Violence:

Violence is the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against another person(s) that results in psychological harm, injury or in some cases death. Violence may involve provoked or unprovoked acts and can be a single incident, a random act or can occur over time.

 

Aggressors and their victims: Bullying at school In N. Freude and H. Gault (Eds.), Disruptive behaviour in schools. Chichester: John Wiley.