St Joseph’s R.C. High School

and Sports College

Bullying Statement

Everyone connected with St. Joseph’s has a responsibility to create a secure, safe environment for students in our care, so that parents may send their children to school in the confident knowledge that they will be protected from bullies.

 

Bullying behaviour is entirely at odds with the Mission Statement of the school which states that, “Every member of our community is responsible for creating an environment that is caring, fair and respectful of each individual”.

 

At St Joseph’s we define bullying behaviour as:

– wilful, conscious desire to hurt, threaten or frighten someone;

– including name-calling, teasing, jostling, malicious gossip, verbal abuse, intimidation, damaging or stealing property, coercion of a person into acts he/she does not wish to do, physical assault, social exclusion;

– any behaviour using threat and fear which involves the bully gaining pleasure from a victim’s pain, fear or humiliation.

 

In short, it is: The deliberate attempt by a pupil (or group of pupils) to make the life of another pupil (or group of pupils) a misery.

 

We recognise that bullying is a rarely-witnessed event, and that the most likely source of information to teachers will be through hearsay (either direct from the victim, or indirectly through witnesses or parents).  There must be a publicly acknowledged readiness to pay attention to any reports of bullying.

 

Staff, students and parents will be made aware of procedures for dealing with bullying behaviour which discourage the bully without humiliating the victim.

 

They will include the following when an incident has been reported:

– devote time to the victim. Take the incident seriously. Offer concrete help, support, reassurance and advice relevant to the specific circumstances.

– when dealing with the bully, make disapproval plain, the punishment appropriate, and give a clear explanation of why it is being applied.

– record the incident precisely, and be seen to do so by bully and victim. Incident sheets are obtainable from the office and Managers of Learning. Get the bully, the victim and any witnesses to write statements. Involve all present in the incident (including bystanders).

– pass on information to management and/or any appropriate persons (e.g. Form tutor). Inform whole staff if incident arose out of a situation where everyone needs to be vigilant.

– inform both sets of parents calmly, clearly and concisely, and if necessary, invite them into school to discuss the situation.

– follow up the incident at a later date; to check on the situation, and to judge the success of strategies employed.

 

For many years, the school has operated a Peer Mediation Scheme, where Year 11 students are trained in listening and mediation skills to help solve disputes.  Use of the students as intermediaries is seen as a positive addition to our anti-bullying policy.

 

Publicity is the key to getting the whole school approach to bullying across effectively to:

Staff(both teaching and non-teaching) – thorough discussion and review of procedures outlined here.

Students– through assemblies, through the curriculum, through attitudes of all staff.

Parents– through the school prospectus, Induction booklet and website.

 

Cyber-Bullying

This school believes that all people in our community have the right to teach and learn in a supportive, caring and safe environment without fear of being bullied. We believe that every individual in school has a duty to report an incident of bullying whether it happens to themselves or to another person.

 

What is Cyber-Bullying?

There are many types of cyber-bullying. Although there may be some of which we are unaware. Here are the more common.

 

1. Text messages —that are threatening or cause discomfort – also included here is “Bluejacking” (the sending of anonymous text messages over short distances using “Bluetooth” wireless technology);

 

2. Picture/video-clips via mobile phone cameras – images sent to others to make the victim feel threatened or embarrassed;

 

3. Mobile phone calls — silent calls or abusive messages; or stealing the victim’s phone and using it to harass others, to make them believe the victim is responsible;

 

4. Emails — threatening or bullying emails, often sent using a pseudonym or somebody else’s name;

 

5. Chatroom bullying — menacing or upsetting responses to children or young people when they are in web-based chatroom;

 

6. Instant messaging (IM) — unpleasant messages sent while children conduct real-time conversations online using MSM (Microsoft Messenger) or Yahoo Chat – although there are others.

 

7. Bullying via social networking — use of defamatory blogs (web logs), personal websites and online personal “own web space” sites such as Bebo (which works by signing on in one’s school, therefore making it easy to find a victim), Facebook and Myspace – although there are others.

 

At St. Joseph’s, we take this bullying as seriously as all other types of bullying and, therefore, will deal with each situation individually. An episode may result in a simple verbal warning. It might result in a parental discussion. Clearly, more serious cases will result in further sanctions.

 

Technology allows the user to bully anonymously or from an unknown location, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Cyber-bullying leaves no physical scars so it is, perhaps, less evident to a parent or teacher, but it is highly intrusive and the hurt it causes can be very severe.

 

Young people are particularly adept at adapting to new technology, an area that can seem a closed world to adults. For example, the numerous acronyms used by young people in chat rooms and in text messages (POS – Parents Over Shoulder, TUL – Tell You Later) make it difficult for adults to recognise potential threats.

 

At St Joseph’s, students are taught how to:

•Understand how to use these technologies safely and know about the risks and consequences of misusing them.

•Know what to do if they or someone they know are being cyber bullied.

•Report any problems with cyber bullying.

•If they do have a problem, they can talk to the school, parents, the police, the mobile network (for phone) or the Internet Service Provider (ISP) to do something about it.

 

St. Joseph’s School has:

1 An Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) that includes clear statements about e-communications;

 

2 Information for parents on:

•E-communication standards and practices in schools;

•what to do if problems arise;

•what is being taught in the curriculum;

 

3. Support for parents and pupils if cyber bullying occurs by:

· assessing the harm caused;

· identifying those involved;

· taking steps to repair harm and to prevent recurrence;

 

Information for Students

If you are being bullied by phone or the Internet:

•Remember, bullying is never your fault.

• It can be stopped and it can usually be traced.

•Don’t ignore the bullying.

•Tell someone you trust, such as a teacher or parent, or call an advice line.

•Try to keep calm.

• If you are frightened, try to show it as little as possible.

•Don’t get angry, it will only make the person bullying you more likely to continue.

•Don’t give out your personal details online

•If you’re in a chatroom, watch what you say about where you live, the school you go to, your email address etc. All these things can help someone who wants to harm you build up a picture about you.

•Keep and save any bullying emails, text messages or images. Then you can show them to a parent or teacher as evidence.

•If you can, make a note of the time and date bullying messages or images were sent, and note any details about the sender.

 

There’s plenty of online advice on how to react to cyber bullying.  Visit some of the websites below to find out more information.

www.kidscape.org

www.wiredsafety.org

 

Text/video messaging

You can easily stop receiving text messages for a while by turning off incoming messages for a couple of days. This might stop the person texting you by making them believe you’ve changed your phone number. If the bullying persists, you can change your phone number. Ask your mobile service provider.

 

Don’t reply to abusive or worrying text or video messages. Your mobile service provider will have a number for you to ring or text to report phone bullying.

 

Visit their website for details.

 

Don’t delete messages from cyber bullies. You don’t have to read them, but you should keep them as evidence.

 

Text harassment is a crime. If the calls are simply annoying, tell a teacher, parent or carer. If they are threatening or malicious and they persist, report them to the police, taking with you all the messages you’ve received.

 

Phone calls

If you get an abusive or silent phone call, don’t hang up immediately. Instead, put the phone down and walk away for a few minutes. Then hang up or turn your phone off. Once they realise they can’t get you rattled, callers usually get bored and stop bothering you.

 

•Always tell someone else: a teacher, youth worker, parent, or carer. Get them to support you and monitor what’s going on.

• Don’t give out personal details such as your phone number to just anyone.

•Never leave your phone lying around.

•When you answer your phone, just say ‘hello’, not your name. If they ask you to confirm your phone number, ask what number they want and then tell them if they’ve got the right number or not.

•You can use your voicemail to vet your calls.

• A lot of mobiles display the caller’s number. See if you recognise it. If you don’t, let it divert to voicemail instead of answering it.

•Don’t leave your name on your voicemail greeting. You could get an adult to record your greeting. Their voice might stop the caller ringing again.

•Almost all calls nowadays can be traced.

•If the problem continues, think about changing your phone number. If you receive calls that scare or trouble you, make a note of the times and dates and report them to the police. If your mobile can record calls, take the recording too.

 

E-mails

•Never reply to unpleasant or unwanted emails (‘flames’) — the sender wants a response, so don’t give them that satisfaction.

•Keep the emails as evidence and tell an adult about them.

•Ask an adult to contact the sender’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) by writing abuse@ and then the host, e.g. abuse@hotmail.com

•Never reply to someone you don’t know, even if there’s an option to ‘unsubscribe’.

•Replying simply confirms your email address as a real one.

 

Web bullying

•If the bullying is on a website (e.g. Bebo) tell a teacher or parent, just as you would if the bullying were face-to-face – even if you don’t actually know the bully’s identity.

•Serious bullying should be reported to the police – for example threats of a physical or sexual nature. Your parent or teacher will help you do this.

 

Chat rooms and instant messaging

•Never give out your name, address, phone number, school name or password online.

•It’s a good idea to use a nickname.

•Never give out photos of yourself.

•Don’t accept emails or open files from people you don’t know.

•Remember it might not just be people your own age in a chat room.

•Stick to public areas in chat rooms and get out if you feel uncomfortable.

•Tell your parents or carers if you feel uncomfortable or worried about anything that happens in a chat room.

•Think carefully about what you write; don’t leave yourself open to bullying.

•Don’t ever give out passwords to your mobile or email account.

 

Three steps to stay out of harm’s way:

1 Respect other people – online and off. Don’t spread rumours about people or share their secrets, including their phone numbers and passwords.

 

2 If someone insults you online or by phone, stay calm – and ignore them.

 

3 ‘Do as you would be done by.’ Think how you would feel if you were bullied. You are responsible for your own behaviour – make sure you don’t distress other people or cause them to be bullied by someone else.

 

The law is on your side…

The Protection from Harassment Act, the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and Section 43 of the Telecommunications Act may be used to combat Cyber bullying.  People may be fined or sent to prison for up to six months.