Table of Contents
- A Biblical Rationale
- Attachments and References
- What is Bullying?
- Why Respond to Bullying?
- Common Characteristics of Bullying
- Common Signs and Symptoms that a Student is the Victim of Cyberbullying Behaviour
- Helping a Student Who is Being Distressed by Another Student
- Dealing with a Student Who Causes Distress to Others
- Consequences of Bullying Behaviour
17 March 2015
9 June 2020
Senior Leadership Team
Board, staff, students, parents
National Principles 1-10
- We are committed to providing a caring, friendly, and safe environment for all of our students so they can learn in a relaxed and secure atmosphere. Bullying of any kind is therefore unacceptable at our school. If bullying does occur, all students should be able to tell the school authorities and have confidence that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively.
- We are committed to being pro-active against bullying. This means that staff will actively watch out for students who are bullying or being bullied, and will take measures in accord with this policy when such behaviour is observed. It also means that all students and parents will be supplied with information making clear the College’s expectations about bullying (see section What is Bullying? for examples). This is so that students and parents are aware of the processes available to them should bullying occur.
- Students, parents and staff are to be pro-active against bullying. We are a reporting school. This means that anyone who knows that bullying is happening is expected to tell a member of staff. Students who see that bullying is occurring but do not tell a staff member about it are taking part in passive bullying.
- All members of the College Board, teaching and non-teaching staff, students and parents should understand what bullying is and how to counter it.
- All students and parents should know what the College’s policy is on bullying, and what they should do if bullying arises.
- We take bullying seriously. Students and parents should be assured that they will be supported when bullying is reported.
- Bullying will not be tolerated. Students who engage in bullying will be given the opportunity to change their behaviour, but they may be required to leave the school if they do not do so.
- The instruction of Jesus about the way people should treat each other: ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you’ (Lk 6:31).
- The apostle Paul tells us, ‘…encourage one another and build each other up…’ (1 Thess 5:11).
- We are called to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all our mind’ and to ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Matt 22:34-40). In order to love our neighbour as ourselves, we cannot accept that bullying is alright.
- God’s intention is for each person in the community of His people to consider the needs of other people, and try to make the lives of other people happier and more fulfilling.
- There are three broad categories of bullying:
- Direct physical bullying: For example, hitting, tripping, pushing, taking or damaging property.
- Direct verbal bullying: For example, name-calling, insults, homophobic or fascist remarks and verbal abuse.
- Indirect bullying: This form of bullying is harder to recognise and often carried out behind the bullied student’s back. It is designed to harm someone’s social reputation and/or cause humiliation. Indirect bullying includes, but is not limited to:
- lying and spreading rumours;
- playing nasty jokes to embarrass and humiliate;
- encouraging others to socially exclude someone;
- damaging someone’s social reputation and social acceptance;
- cyberbullying, which involves the use of email, text messages, or chat rooms to humiliate and distress.
- Many distressing behaviours are not examples of bullying even though they are unpleasant and often require teacher intervention and management. There are three socially unpleasant situations that are often confused with bullying:
- Mutual conflict: In these situations, there is an argument or disagreement between students, but not an imbalance of power. Both parties are upset and usually both want a resolution to the problem. However, unresolved mutual conflict sometimes develops into a bullying situation with one person becoming targeted repeatedly for ‘retaliation’ in a one-sided way.
- Social rejection or dislike: Unless the social rejection is directed towards someone specific and involves deliberate and repeated attempts to cause distress, exclude or create dislike by others, it is not bullying.
- Single-episode acts of nastiness or meanness, or random acts of aggression or intimidation: Single episodes of nastiness or physical aggression are not the same as bullying. If a student is verbally abused or pushed on one occasion, for example, they are not being bullied. Nastiness or physical aggression that is directed towards many different students is not the same as bullying.
- Bullying hurts people physically, emotionally, and spiritually. No one deserves to be a victim of bullying. Everybody has the right to be treated with respect with regard to their person, their property and their activities at school.
- Students who are bullying need to learn different ways of behaving, and if necessary to be prevented from continuing with such behaviour.
- Schools have a responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to issues of bullying. Our College takes that responsibility seriously and will work proactively to prevent bullying and to protect students who are being bullied.
- Bullying is usually a strategy to gain status and power in a peer group and it is often successful. Targets are usually those in a group who tend to be submissive, insecure, physically weak, or are in a lower power/rejected position in the group. Studies show that group bullying is more harmful than individual bullying (because of the diffusion of responsibility) although most students do not like seeing bullying. Mobilising these students to take action is an important part of dealing with the issue. Studies also show that defended victims are much better adjusted than the undefended ones.
- Students find dealing with bullying uncomfortable because they place much importance on peer group acceptance and the need to conform. Students are usually more ‘pro-bully’ and less ‘pro-victim’ in their attitudes. There is a culture of silence and unwillingness to talk with teachers.
- Some common characteristics of a student’s perpetrating bullying behaviour might include:
- seeking attention;
- bullying because they think they are popular and have the support of others;
- not accepting responsibility for their behaviour;
- having a need to feel in control and dominate peers;
- continuing to bully if no one complains;
- little or no remorse shown for hurting another student;
- higher than average aggressive behaviour patterns.
- Some common signs and symptoms that a student is the victim of bullying behaviour might include:
- being frightened of travelling to or from school;
- not wanting to go on the school or public bus;
- begging to be driven to school;
- changing their usual routines;
- unwilling to go to school (school phobic);
- beginning truanting;
- becoming withdrawn, anxious, or lacking in confidence;
- starting to stammer;
- attempting or threatening suicide or running away;
- crying themselves to sleep at night or having nightmares;
- feeling ill in the morning;
- beginning to do unusually poorly in school work;
- coming home with clothes torn or books damaged;
- having possessions that go ‘missing’;
- asking for money or starting to steal money (in order to pay off a bully);
- having lunch or other monies continually ‘lost’;
- having unexplained cuts or bruises;
- coming home starving (may indicate money/lunch has been stolen);
- becoming aggressive, disruptive, or unreasonable;
- is bullying other children or siblings;
- stopping eating;
- being frightened to say what is wrong;
- giving improbable excuses for any of the above.
- These signs and behaviours could indicate other problems, but bullying should be considered a possibility and should be investigated.
- We value the important role that new technologies play in education and the social lives of our students. However, with the benefits of technology come the challenges faced by cyberbullying and the moral disengagement students sometimes feel when using such technologies.
- Cyberbullying is a way of doing the same bullying mentioned earlier in this policy. It ‘uses information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behaviour, by an individual or group that is intended to harm others’ (Cybersafety Solutions).
- Cyberbullying has a devastating effect on its target because it seeks to humiliate and hurt in a context that the student is unable to escape from. They are not free from the pain in their own home, or even during sleep (many students have their phone on and their computers online all night). This has devastating consequences for their education and social wellbeing.
- Cyberbullying can differ from other forms of bullying in the following ways:
- Students may have 24/7 access to one another through technologies;
- The bullying has a wide broadcast and, therefore, a high level of public humiliation;
- Online communications are often anonymous or via avatar, thus inhibitions and allowing nastiness that might not be exercised face-to-face;
- There are few authorities to monitor it;
- Students do not tell because of punitive fears;
- Students do not ‘switch off’ or go offline because they see cyberspace as their world and they need to know what is being said about them;
- Language used online is often difficult for authority figures to understand because it actively seeks to ‘disable’ non-natives (parents and authority figures);
- Cyberbullying can occur at school and/or via private computers or phones.
- Some examples or cyberbullying behaviours might include:
- ‘flaming’ – a heated exchange;
- harassing and threatening messages (e.g. text wars, games);
- denigration – sending nasty SMS, pictures, or prank phone calls, text bombing, ‘slam books’ (websites or negative lists which are very hard to have taken offline);
- impersonation – using person’s screen name or password;
- ‘outing’ or ‘trickery’ – sharing private personal information, messages, pictures with others;
- posting ‘set up’ – devaluing images/video online with the purpose of humiliating;
- ostracism – intentionally excluding others from an online group.
- It is significant to note that in online environments students are ‘usually’ bullied by students of the same gender and girls and boys usually use different sites.
- Teachers may become the target of cyberbullying. There are a number of sites that actively encourage this (such as ratemyteachers.com), as well as the usual sites that students frequent where such things may occur (e.g. Facebook). Teachers have the same rights as students to have this dealt with by the College as unacceptable.
- being upset after using the internet or their mobile phone;
- changes in personality, becoming more withdrawn;
- anxious, sad or angry;
- appearing more lonely or distressed;
- unexpected changes in friendship groups;
- a decline in their school work;
- changes in their sleep patterns;
- avoidance of school or extra-curricular activities;
- a decline in their physical health;
- becoming secretive about their online activities and mobile phone use.
- The student being harassed, their parent(s), or another student or staff member who is aware of the problem, should report the harassment to a senior staff member (Principal, Deputy Principal, or Head of Students).
- The senior staff member will talk with the student to find out exactly what has happened. The student will be given the opportunity to be accompanied by a parent, a friend, or another staff member during this discussion.
- As appropriate to the age of the student, and taking into consideration the particular circumstances, the distressed student may be involved in the process of determining how to proceed in dealing with the offending student.
- The senior staff member dealing with the matter will then take appropriate steps as detailed below to deal with the offending student and ensure that the distress-causing behaviour is stopped.
- The student being harassed will be offered ongoing support and access to staff for advice and counsel. The student will be encouraged to continue to report harassment on future occasions, and the importance of doing this in order to end the harassment will be stressed.
- A student who bullies other members of the College community will be approached about the matter in one or more of the following ways:
- through an informal talk with a staff member;
- through counselling and mediation;
- through a formal meeting, which may include the student and parents, staff members, College-appointed psychologists or College Board members;
- through removal from the school, either temporarily or permanently.
- The emphasis in the first place will be upon solving the problem of the distress being caused, rather than punishing an offender. The offender is expected to immediately and completely cease the distress-causing behaviour. The offending student may be given the opportunity to genuinely apologise for their behaviour to the distressed student. If appropriate in light of the needs of the distressed student, steps towards reconciliation between the students may be taken.
- A punishment or penalty may, however, be applied to student causing the distress where appropriate. This will be the case especially where repeat offences are involved.
- A Student Incident Record of each incident of bullying behaviour will be made under the name of the offending student.
- A contract is written which is signed off by the student, parent, and a senior staff member specifically outlining student responsibilities, expectations and consequences. This will also include weekly meetings with the College Chaplain as deemed necessary by the College. This process will also involve a period of suspension. The contract shall remain in force for the remainder of the student’s time at the College.
- In the event of a second infraction, the student will be suspended indefinitely, pending a review by the disciplinary panel.
- In the event of a Police investigation, the College will assist Police in every way. In certain cases the College may initiate contact with the Police.
- Parents of the distressed student and the student(s) who are causing the distress will be kept informed throughout the process.