Dealing with Bullying
Bullying can be seen as unwanted attention of a physical, verbal or psychological nature, systematically employed by one against another. Bullies and victims may be individuals, or be part of groups. Research shows that bullies are often as not victims in one way or another; whilst victims' lives can be changed forever as a result.
At St David's, we have looked at the subject from a position, we hope, which indicates a low incidence of bullying. We recognize that, when you begin from such a position, the greatest danger is from complacency. We have never pretended that bullying does not exist at St. David's. It is from here then that we approach how we intend to deal with cases of bullying.
As we discussed the issue, we seemed to focus on 3 areas: what it is, how to avoid it and what to do when we can't. So, our proposal is to try to be clear about what we mean by bullying (Johnny may come home with a black eye, but is he being bullied?) by trying to arrive at a description we can all live with. Then we have tried to bring together the ways, in our setting, that we can reduce to a minimum the opportunities for bullying to emerge as a behaviour. Finally, we have looked at how we will address bullying where it emerges despite our best efforts.
In all of this our ethos is a powerful tool, supporting us in our work. Our role model for exemplary behaviour one to another will always be in the person of Christ. The yardstick question is always, 'How would Jesus feel about this behaviour/treatment/language?'
Copied below is the school's document, 'Dealing with Bullying at St David's Roman Catholic School'. I hope you find it useful in helping to define the problem. I equally hope that, through the work done to arrive at the document (which was significant), we can minimize the effect of any bullying at our school.
What is bullying?
Bullying behaviour might be found in any social setting and St David's School is no exception. Bullying behaviour is where someone physically or verbally hurts someone else repeatedly. Bullying behaviour can be carried out by anyone, children or adults.
Bullying behaviour may be:
- physically hurting someone, eg, by hitting, kicking, pinching, poking, pushing or hair-pulling
- racist and sexist behaviour
- making threats
- making people feel small
- making faces
- making hurtful remarks and personal comments
- making people do something they feel ashamed about
- whispering about people to others
- laughing at someone who is hurt, angry or upset
- preventing someone from getting help
- deliberately leaving people out
- mocking differences
- hiding someone's pencils or belongings
Joining in with any of these things is bullying behaviour.
This is what we do to prevent it happening:
- We reject the notion that bullying is part of growing up
- We value kindness
- We take all reports of bullying behaviour seriously
- We talk about bullying behaviour
- We value each child as an individual
- We encourage children to talk and listen
- We encourage the children to have respect for others
- We practice ways of expressing our feelings and sorting our problems
- We reward good behaviour
- We show and tell the children what kind of behaviour we expect
- We listen to parents and carers
- We monitor places where bullying may occur
- We are working to improve playtimes
- We reject bullying behaviour at St David's
- We agenda 'bullying' at every staff meeting
- We overtly depict bullying as a behaviour that would sadden Jesus
If your child is being bullied, they may talk about it or they may:
- look less happy or be reluctant to come to school
- complain of being unwell
- avoid certain children or activities
- change their behaviour, eg, tantrums, wetting or sleep problems
- be unwilling to talk about their day
- come home with cuts and bruises
- come home with toys and things you have not bought for them
- not want to wear their glasses
- take things from home to give to other children
These things can happen for other reasons but they can be a sign of bullying.
How can you help to prevent bullying?
- Everybody gets angry: help your child to express it without hurting others
- Tell them not to hit back, since the school can never support this
- Talk it through
- Encourage your child to share their feelings, eg, happiness, anger, frustration, sadness, joy, excitement
- Encourage them to tell a member of staff straightaway if they get hurt at school
- Talk to your child's class teacher if you have any concerns (maybe without your child there)
- Teach your child to share and have fun with other children at home and at school
- Praise your child when they sort our problems by talking, rather than by hurting others
- Involve yourself in school activities
- Keep yourself informed on your child's progress
- Act immediately
How Parents can help deal with bullying behaviour?
Talking is the best way to stop bullying. If you think your child may be involved in bullying you must:
- Try to get your child to talk about it
- Help your child to tell someone at school
- See your child's teacher
- Ask for help
- Persist until it is sorted out
If you think your child may be a victim of bullying:
- Tell your child not to hit back
- Don't try to tackle other children or parents yourself
- Don't keep quiet about it; see the class teacher or head, even if your child is worried about it getting worse
- Don't make promises you can't keep: 'I'll sort it out without the bully knowing I complained'.
How we address confirmed bullying at St David's School
- We will give the bully the opportunity to stop the behaviour as a first resort
- We have this whole school anti-bullying policy which we keep to
- We teach children how to be assertive, not aggressive
- We encourage children to get help for other children and to be sensitive to each other's feelings
- Staff investigate as soon as possible when bullying behaviour is seen or reported
- We listen to the children and help to sort it out and prevent it happening again
- We keep records of all serious incidents
- Staff on yard duty monitor the individuals involved closely
- We help the child to understand that it is the bullying behaviour we don't like - not them
- The child causing hurt may spend time away from the class or miss playtime.
- The parent or carer may be asked to meet with the head or class teacher and sanctions may be used
- The rest of the class may also be asked to help with the agreement of the victim.
- All members of staff may be called upon to help.
- Help may be sought from other agencies, eg, behaviour support
- Exclusion of the bully is the last resort, but will always remain available to the school