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Anti-bullying and E-Safety

  • Introduction.
  • Bullying or unpleasantness? Case studies.
  • The schools response.
  • Cyber-bullying.


St. Joseph's Catholic Primary School does experience incidents of bullying. In this it is just the same as families, workplaces and other communities across the world. The important point is to acknowledge the fact that bullying can and does occur and confront it by preventative ANTI-BULLYING programmes and challenging it directly when it occurs.

Bullying always involves an imbalance of power. The power may come from age, (older on younger normally), by popularity, (cool social conformists versus independent thinkers) or by numbers, (a group versus an individual).

Bullying or unpleasantness?

For parents and children it is useful to distinguish between unpleasant occurences that should not happen and bullying. All the examples below are real case stories from Mr. Cassidy's last twenty five years in education across five schools.

A popular boy who generally plays football misses a penalty in a playground game and the other boys all jeer at him, he gets upset, the game continues. Unpleasant or bullying? You decide.  

A child who is smaller than her peers is continually teased about her size and this continues even when she is visibly upset. Unpleasant or bullying? You decide.

A popular child who was involved with a good group of friends and often visited their homes, has a mum who begins to have a problem with alcohol misuse. The child starts to come to school a little less neat and cared for then before and mum has turned up at school and made a bit of a scene a few times.  The girl is excluded from her group of friends over time and this is condoned by the girls' parents who aren't keen for the girl to visit their homes.  Because of her isolation from the group the girl feels she is being bullied by the girls. Is she being bullied? If so by whom?

Teacher gives extra playtime and on the way out a boy is jostled by a group keen to start their game of dodgeball. Unpleasant or bullying? You decide.

In every instance it is important for the child or parent to let the school know your concerns as all bullying starts with a single word or action, but don't jump to conclusions!

In fact until all facts are found out avoid the BULLYING word, it can make your child feel dis-empowered or remove responsibility for their own actions.

"My child keeps getting bullied by the boys playing football, I've had enough." On further investigation the child doesn't play football but has a habit of kicking the ball away just as a penalty is about to be taken believing it to be a good joke but enraging the footballers. Does responsibility lie with just one side? You decide.

" My child really likes Annabel and Annabel's mum is my best friend but Annabel bullies her and as I keep telling my daughter she's not good at making friends so Annabel needs to be nicer to her". On investigation neither child really likes each other and both rub each other up the wrong way but the parents keep forcing them together. Who's the actual bully? You decide.

Sometimes bullying can occur without there being a bully! This is because until the perpatrator knows the effect their actions are having it is hard to hold them responsible for the very real deep impact their actions are having.

This is why one of the best ways of resolving bullying is a supported conversation between the victim, telling how they are deeply affected and the perpetrator who normally has no idea of the impact of their actions.

A boy in the lower juniors suddenly decides its the funniest thing in the world to keep pulling his friend's woollen hat down to hide his friend's ginger hair, and does this before school, at playtime and at dinner time too. 

The friend laughs and pretends not to mind but a teaching assistant notices a change in the boy's confidence and the child tearfully tells all to the staff member. This is clearly bullying.

The teaching assistant brings the boys together, the first boy is shocked to see how upset his friend is and bursts into tears himself when the boy looks at him and says, "You were supposed to be my friend!".  The "game" was never played again.  
If your child was the one pulling down the hat, would you consider them to be a bully? What if you were the parent of the other boy?

Other times bullying happens because children come from families with different expectations.

Mum complains that her only child, who is in reception, has started bed wetting and is reluctant to come to school because he is being intimidated by a classmate calledTyrone. 
This certainly appears to be bullying!

Tyrone is the youngest of four brothers, he is very active and boisterous and really enjoys rough play and grabs toys when he wants them. He's also very loving; but his hugs are powerful too!

It is the school's job to explain and insist on new expectations for Tyrone, and to help the other child socialise more successfully in large group situations; but is four year old Tyrone really a bully? You decide.

Jennifer is an articulate and confident young girl in the reception class, and she sees it as her role to organise the games in the playground. Jennifer's favourite game is schools and she tells other children to be the pupils and she is always the teacher. Parents report that their children feel they have to do what Jennifer tells them; they feel bullied! 

Jennifer is clearly very bossy and the adults in school should be intervening more actively in the play and giving other children the chance to take the lead. But is naturally bossy Jennifer a bully, or is it too early to tell? You decide.

A teacher (this example comes from many years ago!) uses the phrase "wally" when children make an obvious mistake or are being silly. A colleague who has a child called Walter in their class points out how hurtful Walter finds this. The teacher admits they had never considered the possible effect of their choice of words; but then goes on to say that Walter should get over it, and they were not going to change. 
When did the bullying, if it is bullying, begin? You decide.

The school's response.

In each and every situation the solution comes from early communication between the child and a member of the school staff or between parent and school.

Your child's class teacher is the best point of contact; the teacher will always involve more senior staff where bullying is suspected or found to be the case. 

Most parents, and all children, simply want the problem to go away and as an educating Christian community the school will always respond robustly using education and reconcilitation as its first approach; but the school's behaviour policy is available where necessary.  


Bullying via text, social networks, web pages etc is considered to be, in some ways, more dangerous than traditional school based incidents, due to its 24/7 nature. Case law in the High Court has shown that the school has a right to discipline children for cyber-bullying even when the electronic message is sent out of school time, if the bullying is related to school.

In any instance parents of victims are encouraged to report their concerns to the school and where resolution is not achieved to the Safer Neighbourhood Teams of the Met Police. Derogatory comments about school staff (by adults or children) will be equally robustly addressed. The rule is; what's said on-line is considered to be the same as if said face to face. 

Parents must monitor their child's safety in the on-line world as carefully as they do in the real world. Facebook asks all its subscribers to confirm they are over 13 years of age, don't condone lying. Set privacy settings to "friends only" otherwise all the world can literally see what your son or daughter are up to and remember you have the same right to have a view about on-line friends as you have real world friends.


Our policy, updated in November 2015, is that it is a breach of the school's behavior policy to:

Forward a clearly negative text or post.

Comment upon a clearly negative text or post.

Forward any image of a child without consent.

Participate in polls (who is the coolest? etc).


The internet links below take you to You Tube sites where approved anti-bullying and internet safety videos are available. 

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