All schools experience incidents of bullying. At St. Joseph's Catholic Primary School, we are no different. However, where we may differ from some other schools is that we challenge it directly when we hear about it and use preventative ANTI-BULLYING programmes to try to educate our children.
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).
Unpleasantness or bullying?
For parents and children it is useful to distinguish between unpleasant incidents and bullying.
Unpleasantness is behaviour that hurts someone else. It can include name calling, hitting, pushing, spreading rumours, threatening or undermining someone.
Bullying is the same as above but it is repeated over a long period and has the potential to hurt both physically and emotionally.
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 reconciliation 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 Metropolitan Police. Derogatory comments about school staff (by adults or children) will be equally robustly addressed. The rule is, what is 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 is that it is a breach of the school's behaviour policy to:
The internet links below take you to You Tube sites where approved anti-bullying and internet safety videos are available.
Unfortunately not the ones with chocolate chips.
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