Marian College Anti-bullying policy

Introduction

  1. In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the code of behaviour guidelines issued by the NEWB, the Board of Management of Marian College has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the framework of the school’s overall code of behaviour. This policy fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools (September 2013) and is written in conjunction with Child Protection Guidelines 2018
  1. The Board of Management recognises the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact that it can have on the lives of pupils and is therefore fully committed to the following key principles of best practice in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour:
  • A positive school culture and climate which-
    • is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity;
    • encourages pupils to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour in a non-threatening environment; and
    • promotes respectful relationships across the school community;
  • Effective leadership;
  • A school-wide approach;
  • A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact;
  • Implementation of education and prevention strategies (including awareness raising measures) that-
    • build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils; and
    • explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying.
  • Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils;
  • Supports for staff;
  • Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies); and
  • On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.
  1. In accordance with the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools bullying is defined as follows:

Bullying is unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical conducted, by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time.

The following types of bullying behaviour are included in the definition of bullying:

  • deliberate exclusion, malicious gossip and other forms of relational bullying,
  • cyber-bullying
  • identity-based bullying such as homophobic bullying, racist bullying, bullying based on a person’s membership of the Traveller community and bullying of those with disabilities or special educational needs.

Isolated or once-off incidents of intentional negative behaviour, including a once-off offensive or hurtful text message or other private messaging, do not fall within the definition of bullying and are dealt with, as appropriate, in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour.

However, in the context of this policy, placing a once-off offensive or hurtful public message, image or statement on a social network site or other public forum where that message, image or statement can be viewed and/or repeated by other people will be regarded as bullying behaviour. 

Negative behaviour that does not meet this definition of bullying will be dealt with in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour.

Additional information on different types of bullying is set out in Section 2 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools.

Philosophy

The Catholic School is committed to the development of the whole person, since in Christ, the perfect person, all human values find their fulfilment and unity. 

The Marist School, as envisaged by Father Champagnat offers families and approach to education which draws faith, culture and life into harmony.  It is an approach which stresses the values of self-forgetfulness and openness to others, which presents culture as a way of drawing people together, and proposes knowledge as a duty of service.   Marist schools give priority to a pastoral care that is adapted to the needs of young people, and which gives particular attention to pupils who are in difficulty.  Marist Schools, which are open to any family that accepts our educational approach, encourage dialogue between persons of different cultures and different beliefs.

The Marist view of their own roles as educators has been articulated in In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat which enunciates the basic principle that

to bring up children properly we must love them and love them all equally

From this principle flows the five particular characteristics which they have identified as the “Marist style”.  These are Presence, Simplicity, Family Spirit, Love of Work, In the Way of Mary.    The booklet expands on these characteristics with phrases such as

  • present to young people in ways that show that we care for them personally
  • establish relationships with them in their own space and in their own culture
  • we seek to be neither obsessively vigilant nor negligently laissez-faire
  • contacts are genuine and straightforward
  • an atmosphere of humility and modesty
  • our way of educating is rooted in real life.
  • live as members of a loving family intuitively do
  • build community
  • each person should feel at home amongst us
  • respect the dignity and need of each young person
  • our leaders develop an organisational approach which reflects our values by encouraging a spirit of partnership and shared responsibility, while, at the same time, allowing for the responsible autonomy of each person involved in the educative process.

Thus the Marist school

  • educates in gospel values (especially hope, love, justice, reconciliation and freedom)
  • develops tolerance
  • welcomes and involves parents as partners and assists them in their primary task of handing on the faith
  • places strong emphasis on a sense of self-worth and self-esteem
  • ensures that the uniqueness and dignity of each person is respected and responded to (especially through its pastoral care practices)
  • does not define the success of one individual in terms of superiority over others
  • facilitates the harmonious development of the spiritual, social, emotional, moral, intellectual and physical endowments of each person
  • provides a broad curriculum which cultivates cultural and aesthetic elements as well as intellectual and physical
  • expresses a distinctly Christian view of what it means to be human
  • responds to the expectations and needs of today’s young people
  • exercises a prophetic role in society especially on such issues as Justice, Peace and the Environment
  • leads students to imitate Mary by listening to God in their lives and by being attentive to and serving others
  • leads staff to be a caring presence for each other and for the students
  • fosters a family spirit that manifests itself in close co-operation between parents, students and teachers.

Here at Marian College, our motto is

Optimum Optare - the pursuit of excellence

 

and our mission is

to promote the fullest realisation of each student in the light of Gospel values

We demonstrate a special concern for the deprived and the disadvantaged, we do not define the success of one individual in terms of superiority over others, and we make every effort to ensure that the uniqueness and dignity of each person is respected, and responded to, especially through our pastoral care practices

Finally, and very importantly, in the search for excellence, the students will be helped by a team of teachers of spirit, energy, humour and idealism who believe in the importance of self-esteem, character, integrity and conviction, and who are particularly proud of the happy, disciplined and caring environment that has always been the hallmark of the College.

Entrance policy

The students are the primary focus of the work of the College. The one common priority that overrides all other matters is our unstinting concern for the welfare of our students and our commitment to ensuring the best possible treatment for every pupil who walks through the gates of the College.

Each student is expected to subscribe to the ethos of the College, to comply with the code of discipline, and to participate fully in the life of the school.

 

Dignity

We at Marian College commit ourselves to working together to maintain a working and learning environment that recognises, protects, encourages and supports the right to dignity of each student, each teacher, each other employee and each visitor to the College.   All who work and study here are expected to respect the right of each individual to dignity in their working and learning life.  All will be treated equally and respected for their individuality and diversity.  Bullying in any form is not accepted by us and will not be tolerated.

The College is committed to the promotion of the well being of everyone within our community.  We believe that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and courtesy, and deserves to be valued for themselves in all their uniqueness.

Bullying negates all the values we stand for.   It is unacceptable, destructive and damaging.   Nobody deserves it and nobody should be asked to put up with it.

The College therefore deplores bullying in any form, takes it very seriously and is committed to opposing it at every turn.  Our commitment is demonstrated by the ethos of respect that we promote at all levels of the school.  It begins in the classroom where every student is taught the value of social responsibility, of respecting others and standing up for anyone who is victimised.   As staff, we set an example for students by the manner in which we conduct our relationships, both with them and with each other.  We look for tell-tale signs and encourage parents to be vigilant and to contact the school if something is amiss.   It is our belief that the first step in stopping bullying is that it be reported.

Strategies

The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying) that will be used by the school are as follows (see Section 6.5 of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools)

The school community must continually re-state its commitment to the dignity of everyone in the community

  • through constant reference to the anti-bullying charter (see below) in teachers’ classrooms and at assemblies
  • through the work of the Anti-Bullying Committee (which has been incorporated into the wider Positive Mental Health Committee) which will keep this policy under contstant review.
  • through discussions at Student Council, PTA, Staff and Board meetings

The staff, as well as the PTA, are conscious on the dangers of cyber-bullying (i.e. the use of information and communication technologies [ICT] to support deliberate, repeated and hostile behaviour by an individual or group that is intended to harm others).  Technology is now so advanced that teachers and parents need to tell the students to “stop, block and tell”. 

Training regarding cyber-bullying will be provided for parents and teachers

Restorative practice will be used as part of the armoury of the school in dealing with bullying behaviour

Each classroom to get a copy of our anti-bullying charter. Anti-bullying to be particularly highlighted during Postive Mental health week.

Student Charter - Bullying

We will not bully other pupils

We will care for each other’s safety and well being

We will try to help pupils who are bullied

We will make every effort to include pupils who are left out

We will report all incidents of bullying

We will not touch another’s belongings without their permission

We will not upset, insult, hurt, jeer others or frequently use derogatory names

We won’t tolerate bullying of any description in this class

Investigation of bullying

Bullying – or suspicion of it – should be reported by a student or parent to a teacher, to the Home School Liaison Teacher, Ms Grainne McCarthy, or directly to the Principal (who takes a particular and active interest in the matter). 

When such a report is received by a teacher, the HSCL teacher or the Principal, he/she will report the matter to Mr Pat Glover (Deputy Principal) who will carry out the required investigation.  (In the absence of the Deputy Principal the investigation will be conducted by the Principal)

There will be a quick but low-key response which respects all parties.  The investigation will continue until the matter has been resolved.

Procedure

When the Deputy Principal (or in his absence the Principal) receives a report of bullying, he will investigate the matter in a sensitive manner ensuring that he does not make the matter worse.

  • Having ascertained the facts, he will then chose the appropriate action depending on the seriousness of the incidents
  • Talking separately with the student carrying out the bullying as well as the student being bullied
  • Talking with the students together using restorative practice techniques
  • Talking with the parents of both students
  • Using the disciplinary code, including suspension and recommendation of expulsion, if the incident warrents such action.

At the end of the process, the Deputy Principal will complete a standard report form and a generalised report on bullying incidents will be prepared for each Board meeting and presented to the Board by the Principal

 

Support programme

The Deputy Principal will report bullying incidents to the weekly SLT meeting- Senior Leadership Team

The Deputy Principal will report bullying incidents to the weekly Pastoral Care team meeting.  Further support will be provided by the relevant members of the Pastoral Care team which consists of the Principal, Deputy Principal, Guidance Counsellors,. Special Needs Co-ordinator, SNA, Home School Community Liaison teacher, RE/Chaplaincy co-ordinator

Commitment of Board of Management

  1. Prevention of bullying: The Board of Management confirms that appropriate supervision and monitoring policies and practices are in place to both prevent and deal with bullying behaviour and to facilitate early intervention where possible.
  1. Prevention of Harassment: The Board of Management confirms that the school will, in accordance with its obligations under equality legislation, take all such steps that are reasonably practicable to prevent the sexual harassment of pupils or staff or the harassment of pupils or staff on any of the nine grounds specified i.e. gender including transgender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community.
  1. This policy was adopted by the Board of Management on 1st October 2018
  1. This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website and provided to the Parents’ Association. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.
  1. This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year. Written notification that the review has been completed will be made available to school personnel, published on the school website and provided to the Parents’ Association. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department.

Signed: ____________________________________                   Signed: ___________________________

                 (Chairperson of Board of Management)                                                    (Principal)

Date:   1st Oct 2018                                                                  Date:     1st Oct 2018

Date of next review:   Oct 2021