Bullying Prevention Policy

Date: March 2018

 

DEFINITION:

Bullying occurs when someone, or a group of people, deliberately and repeatedly upset, harass, intimidate, threaten or hurt another person or damage their property, reputation or social acceptance. There is an imbalance of power in incidents of bullying, where the bully or bullies have more power than the victim due to their age, size, status or other reasons.

Bullying may be direct or indirect, physical or verbal, and includes cyberbullying. Bullying is not a one-off disagreement between two or more people or a situation of mutual dislike.

Bullying can be:

1.     direct physical bullying ­­– e.g. hitting, tripping, and pushing or damaging property.

2.     direct verbal bullying – e.g. name calling, insults, homophobic or racist remarks, verbal abuse.

3.     indirect bullying – e.g. spreading rumours, playing nasty jokes to embarrass and humiliate, mimicking, encouraging others to socially exclude a person and/or damaging a person’s social reputation or social acceptance.

Cyberbullying is direct or indirect bullying behaviours using digital technology. For example via a mobile phone, tablets, computers, chat rooms, email, social media, etc. It can be verbal, written or include use of images, video and/or audio.

Mutual conflict involves an argument or disagreement between people with no imbalance of power. In incidents of mutual conflict, generally, both parties are upset and usually both want a resolution to the issue.

Unresolved mutual conflict can develop into bullying if one of the parties targets the other repeatedly in retaliation.

Social rejection or dislike is not bullying unless it involves deliberate and repeated attempts to cause distress, exclude or create dislike by others.

Single-episode acts of harassment, nastiness or physical aggression are not the same as bullying. If someone is verbally abused or pushed on one occasion, they are not being bullied. Harassment, nastiness or physical aggression that is directed towards many different people is not the same as bullying. However, single episodes of harassment, nastiness or physical aggression are not acceptable behaviours at our school.

Many distressing behaviours may not constitute bullying even though they are unpleasant. Students who are involved in or who witness any distressing behaviours of concern are encouraged to report their concerns to school staff.

 

 

 

Rationale:

Merriang SDS is committed to providing a safe and respectful learning environment where bullying will not be tolerated.

The purpose of this policy is to:

·         explain the definition of bullying

·         make clear that all forms of bullying at Merriang SDS will not be tolerated

·         ask that everyone in our school community be alert to signs and evidence of bullying behaviour, and accept responsibility to report bullying behaviour to school staff

·         ensure that all reported incidents of bullying are appropriately investigated and addressed

·         ensure that support is provided to students who may be affected by bullying behaviour (including victims, bystanders and perpetrators)

·         seek parental and peer group support in addressing and preventing bullying behaviour at Merriang SDS

When responding to bullying behaviour, Merriang SDS aims to:

·         be proportionate, consistent and responsive

·         find a constructive and positive solution for everyone

·         stop the bullying from happening again

·         restore the relationships between the students involved.

·         Merriang SDS acknowledges that school staff owe a duty of care to students to take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of reasonably foreseeable harm, which can include harm that may be caused by bullying behaviour.

·         This policy applies to all school activities, including camps and excursions.

·         This policy should be read in conjunction with our school’s Student Engagement Policy, Duty of Care Policy and Procedure; Statement of Values and School Philosophy Statement.

 

Aims:

·         To build a positive and inclusive school culture through the implementation of programs and strategies.

·         To foster a school culture that prevents bullying behaviour by modelling and encouraging behaviour that demonstrates acceptance, kindness and respect.  

  • To provide a positive school environment that provides safety, security and support for students and promotes positive relationships and wellbeing.
  • To build strong partnerships between the school, families and the broader community that means all members work together to ensure the safety of students.
  • To proactively prevent bullying which is supported by research that indicates that a whole school, multifaceted approach is the most effect way to prevent and address bullying
  • Teachers are encouraged and supported to incorporate classroom management strategies that discourage bullying and promote positive behaviour.
  • In the classroom, the School Wide Positive Behaviour Intervention Support program teaches students what constitutes bullying and how to respond to bullying behaviour assertively. This promotes resilience, life and social skills, assertiveness, conflict resolution and problem solving.

For further information about our engagement and wellbeing initiatives, please see our Student Engagement policy. 

 

Implementation:

  • Bullying complaints will be taken seriously and responded to sensitively.
  • Students who may be experiencing bullying behaviour, or students who have witnessed bullying behaviour, are encouraged to report their concerns to school staff as soon as possible.
  • Constructive strategies to deal with bullying and harassment will include: education in coping strategies; assertiveness training; problem solving and social skills; and behaviour management.
  • The school leadership team and the teachers will work together to ensure the safety of all school members in situations of bullying (including cyber bullying) and harassment by thoroughly investigating all complaints while respecting the need for confidentiality, notifying parents/carers and planning interventions.
  • If a teacher feels a student is at serious and imminent risk from bullying (including cyber bullying) and harassment then it is their duty of care responsibility to communicate any information to an appropriate person in order to ensure appropriate person in order to ensure appropriate support for the student.  Teachers are required to document fully their interaction with the student and to verify the actions taken.
  • The school will implement Positive Behaviour Intervention Strategies (PBIS) school wide to minimize the occurrence of bullying behaviours.  All staff will be encouraged to undertake the on line professional development – Preventing and Responding to Extreme Behaviours.
  • The Principal or Assistant Principal/Campus Head will provide disciplinary consequences. The suspension or expulsion of a student is at the decision of the Principal.

Resources:

Student Engagement policy

Statement of Values

References:

Bully Stoppers

Bully Stoppers General

Safe Schools

Bullying No Way!

School Wide Positive Behaviour Support

 

Evaluation:

  • This policy will be reviewed as part of the school’s three year cycle or as new guidelines are released.

 

Ratified School Council:         March 2018

Review date:                           March 2021