Context and Rationale
The mission of Lisieux is for staff and students, supported by parents, to work together to provide for the growth of each individual by building positive relationships, mutual respect and responsibility within a secure and supportive structure.
This draws on fundamental Gospel values of the intrinsic worth and dignity of each person and of service to others: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34). These values also underpin our philosophy of Restorative Justice, that has as its framework to seek to heal and put right the wrongs.
At Lisieux we are committed to reducing bullying and providing a safe environment for students and staff. Each member of the Lisieux community shares the collective responsibility to develop positive relationships and to ensure every member feels safe, supported and valued at all times.
When individuals share healthy relationships with one another, personal growth is enhanced and aiming high for levels of achievement in all areas is encouraged. Bullying has a negative impact on relationships and the learning environment.
To implement this policy at Lisieux, each of us – students, staff and parents – must be prepared to act to stop bullying. Tackling bullying is everyone’s responsibility. Proactive measures will be established to prevent or reduce bullying including:
- formulation and communication of school-wide positive behaviour expectations.
- school-wide supervision and effective, consistent behaviour management by all staff.
- school curriculum and pastoral initiatives which address discrimination and harassment, such as
You Can Do It Program, Bully Busters, I Can Network, Alannah and Madeleine Foundation Social
Skills Framework, Drug Education Programs, Seasons, RE Framework, CyberSafety Programs.
- opportunities and structures for students to report bullying and discuss concerns.
- Restorative Practice principles (see Appendix A).
- Application of the psychology of Positive Education.
Staff Professional Learning
Lisieux Catholic Primary School has developed a Student Welfare Professional Learning Plan for all staff on student wellbeing, critical incident management, restorative practices.
These policies and procedures are communicated to staff, students, guardians, parents and the school community through:
- the Lisieux Catholic Primary School website;
- Staff Handbook;
- Student Handbook; and
- announcements in the school newsletter.
The Hazard – Bullying
Bullying is the repeated and intentional behaviour of causing fear, distress or harm towards another person that involves an imbalance of power. It can involve humiliation, domination, intimidation, victimisation and harassment. In any bullying incident there are likely to be three parties involved: the bully, the person being bullied, and bystanders.
Harassment is the exertion of power by one person or persons over another, which makes an individual feel embarrassed, offended, upset, degraded, frustrated or angry. It is unwelcome, unreciprocated, uninvited and usually repeated. It is behaviour that breaches respectful professional and personal relationship expectations.
Bullying can take many forms including:
- Physical bullying which involves physical actions such as hitting, pushing, obstructing or being used to hurt or intimidate someone. Damaging, stealing or hiding personal belongings is also a form of physical bullying.
- Psychological bullying is when words or actions are used to cause psychological harm. Examples of psychological bullying include name calling, teasing or making fun of someone because of their actions, appearance, physical characteristics or cultural background.
- Indirect bullying is when deliberate acts of exclusion or spreading of untrue stories are used to hurt or intimidate someone.
- Cyber bullying is the ongoing abuse of power to threaten or harm another person using technology. Cyber bullying can occur in chat rooms, on social networking sites, through emails or on mobile phones.
Three main groups are usually involved: the targeted persons, the perpetrators and the bystanders. Bystanders may or may not give verbal support but their presence will make the situation worse if they do not provide support for those who are bullied.
What Bullying is Not
There are many negative situations which, whilst being potentially distressing for students, are not bullying. These include:
- Mutual Conflict Situations which arise where there is disagreement between students but not an imbalance of power. Mutual conflict situations need to be closely monitored as they may evolve into a bullying situation; or
- One Off Acts (of aggression or meanness) including single incidents of loss of temper, shouting or swearing do not normally constitute bullying.
Signs of Bullying
Major behaviour changes in a student may be indicative of bullying. Such behavioural changes may include:
- Crying at night and having nightmares;
- Refusing to talk when asked “What’s wrong?”;
- Having unexplained bruises, cuts or scratches;
- An unwillingness or refusal to go to school;
- Feeling ill in the mornings;
- A decline in quality of school work;
- Becoming withdrawn and lacking confidence;
- Beginning to bully siblings; and
- Acting unreasonably.
Parents/guardians are encouraged to recognise signs of bullying and notify the school through a trusted staff member immediately (such as a class teacher, head of house, school counsellor etc), if they suspect their child is a victim of bullying.
Lisieux Catholic Primary School’s Policy
Lisieux Catholic Primary School recognises its duty to students to provide a safe and positive learning environment where individual differences and diversity within the school is respected and accepted.
Bullying is not tolerated at Lisieux Catholic Primary School.
It is our policy that:
- All allegations of bullying will be taken seriously;
- The school will refuse to accept that bullying is inevitable. Programs conducted at the school will seek to increase our awareness of this social issue and develop our awareness of the impact of bullying;
- Bullying be managed through a ‘whole of school community’ approach involving students, staff and parents/guardians, and support for all involved will be provided;
- Bullying prevention strategies be implemented within the school on a continuous basis with a focus on teaching age appropriate skills and strategies to empower staff, students and parents/guardians to recognise bullying and respond appropriately;
- Bullying response strategies be tailored to the circumstances of each incident, with a focus on restoring damaged relationships;
- Staff establish positive role models emphasising our no-bullying culture; and
- Bullying prevention and intervention strategies are reviewed on an annual basis against best practice.
Bullying Prevention Strategies
Lisieux Catholic Primary School recognises that the implementation of whole school prevention strategies is the most effective way of eliminating, or at least minimising incidents of bullying within our community.
The following initiatives form part of our overall bullying prevention strategy and our strategy to create a ‘no bullying’ culture within the school:
- A structured curriculum and peer group support system, that provides age appropriate information and skills relating to bullying (including cyber bullying) and bullying prevention, to students over the course of the academic year;
- Education, training and professional development of staff in bullying prevention and response strategies;
- Regular provision of information to parents/guardians, to raise awareness of bullying as a school community issue to equip them to recognise signs of bullying, as well as to provide them with clear paths for raising any concerns they may have relating to bullying directly with the school;
- Promotion of a supportive environment that encourages the development of positive relationships and communication between staff, students and parents/guardians;
- Promotion of responsible bystander behaviour amongst students, staff and parents/guardians;
- Reporting of incidents of alleged bullying by students, bystanders, parents/guardians and staff are encouraged, and made easy through the establishment of multiple reporting channels (as specified below);
- Regular risk assessments of bullying within the school are undertaken by surveying students to identify bullying issues that may ordinarily go unnoticed by staff;
- Records of reported bullying incidents are maintained and analysed, in order to identify persistent bullies and/or victims and to implement targeted prevention strategies where appropriate;
- Statements supporting bullying prevention are included in students’ school diaries;
- Anti-bullying posters are displayed strategically within the school; and
- Promotion of student awareness and a ‘no bullying’ environment by participating in events such as the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence.
Students and their parents/guardians are sometimes reluctant to pursue bullying incidents, for fear that it will only make matters worse.
A key part of School’s bullying prevention and intervention strategy is to encourage reporting of bullying incidents as well providing assurance to students who experience bullying (and parents/guardians) that:
- Bullying is not tolerated within the school;
- Their concerns will be taken seriously; and
- The school has a clear strategy for dealing with bullying issues.
Parents are encouraged to:
- encourage their son/daughter to have confidence to speak up / report concerns;
- be aware of the school’s policy;
- watch for signs of distress or suspected instances of bullying;
- treat student’s fears seriously;
- support student emotionally: let them know the situation is unacceptable and not a normal part of school life, and will change;
- encourage the child not to retaliate;
- inform the school if bullying is suspected, or encourage the student to tell a teacher.
Bullying incidents can be advised to the school verbally (or in writing) through any of the following avenues:
- Informing a trusted teacher;
- Informing the school counsellor;
- Informing the Deputy Principal or the Principal or delegate.
Responding to Bullying
Bullying behaviours vary enormously in their extent and intent and, as a consequence, each incident needs to be dealt with on its facts.
In all circumstances the school:
- Takes bullying incidents seriously;
- Provides assurance to the victim that they are not at fault and their confidentiality will be respected;
- Takes time to properly investigate the facts including discussing the incident with the victim, the bully and any bystanders;
- Takes time to understand any concerns of individuals involved;
- Maintains records of reported bullying incidents – this is the responsibility of the Student Wellbeing Leader;
- May involve a restorative conference or mediation, leading to the development of a Student Management Plan;
- Will include parent notification and involvement;
- Will escalate its response when dealing with persistent bullies and/or severe incidents, including the possibility of withdrawal, suspension, negotiated transfer pending the deliberation of Student Welfare group. In final decisions, the group should aim for consensus, however, where this is not achievable, the Principal takes responsibility for a final decision in accordance with school policies.
Actions that may be taken when responding to bullying include:
- The ‘Method of Shared Concern” Approach (Pikas);
- The “No Blame” Approach (Maines & Robinson);
- Counselling for parties involved.
All staff members are expected to:
- Promote an ethos of respect for self and others;
- Model appropriate behaviour at all times;
- Provide information to students about the types and nature of bullying and incorporate these principles into their learning program at every opportunity;
- Be observant for signs of suspected bullying or distress;
- Explicitly teach appropriate and positive behavioural rights and responsibilities;
- Inform and challenge students when their behaviour is offensive and explain that it is not acceptable at Lisieux. This includes the use of homophobic, racist or sexist language or behaviour;
- Deal with all reported and observed incidents of bullying in accordance with this policy;
- Be receptive and supportive to targets of bullying;
- Ensure that any incident of bullying that they observe or is reported to them, is recorded appropriately;
- Arrive at class on time;
- Be vigilant in monitoring students that have been identified as either persistent bullies or victims;
- Recognise that bullying is often a complex issue and initiate further discussion with key staff members about ongoing strategies as required;
- Contribute to a process of ongoing monitoring, evaluation, and review of policies and procedures, and.
- Acknowledge the right of parents/guardians to speak with school authorities if they believe their child is being bullied.
Anti-bullying posters may be posted in strategic locations in the school to promote appropriate behaviour and encourage students to respect individual differences and diversity.
This policy is implemented through a combination of:
- Staff training;
- Student and parent/carer education and information in the form of school website, parent handbook, at assemblies and by reference in regular newsletters;
- Effective incident reporting procedures;
- Effective management of bullying incidents when reported;
- The creation of a ‘no bullying’ culture within the school community;
- Effective record keeping procedures; and
- Initiation of corrective actions where necessary.