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Bullying - Aim
Our aim is to promote in our community, an atmosphere and ethos of caring, concern and acceptance. We want our children to learn in and experience an environment where everyone feels valued and safe and where individual differences are appreciated and accepted. The Schools therefore need to create an awareness of the need for respect and empathy for others, and of what bullying is, its negative effects on others and how to deal with such incidents. Staff, children and parents also need to be made aware of what recourse there is in order to deal with any incidents of bullying in the school environment, to ensure each child’s right to enjoy his/her time at school.
Jurisdiction of Bullying Policy
This policy extends to all students during school hours and during any bona fide school events. The policy also applies to technological and social incidences that have a direct impact on the well being of students during school hours.
Definition of Terms
Children are involved in hundreds of social interactions in any typical school day and it is unrealistic to believe that all of these can be positive. These interactions are impacted on by personalities, values, personal needs and issues, and the context in which the interaction occurs, as well as the history of that context. All of these impact on the interpretation of the event as an incident of bullying and how one deals with it.
For the sake of this policy bullying is defined as: any repeated, deliberate behaviour over time which results in and is intended to hurt, injure, threaten or frighten another person.
o behaviour which leaves a child feeling uncomfortable and/or powerless to deal with it effectively.
o behaviour that is a misuse of power.
o The following broad areas (broadly listed in SABJE Code of Conduct) where this bullying behaviour manifests include:
o Physical bullying, for example forcing others to do things they do not want to do, damaging property, or any uninvited aggressive actions.
o Verbal bullying which may include insulting the child, family members, writing nasty letters about someone or uninvited aggressive statements, verbal threats or innuendo’s.
o Psychological/relational bullying which may include spreading nasty rumours and threats, telling others not to associate with someone and creating an imbalance where a group intimidates or isolates one person.
o Sexual bullying where denigrating sexual comments are made or where someone is embarrassed by being shown pornography or is shown pornographic materials against their will.
o Discriminatory bullying, for example comments or exclusion on the basis of a child’s race, religion, disability or sexual orientation.
o Technological/Cyberbullying, where communications technology such as cell phones and computers etc are used to perform any of the above types of bullying e.g. sms, mms, e-mail.
o Initiation (as opposed to orientation) is defined as bullying behavior in the sense that it involves an unequal power balance and can result in pupils feeling powerless, victimized and or physically or emotionally damaged. The penalties, procedures and sanctions that apply to other aspects of bullying will equally apply to initiation.
o Appropriate behaviour of parents and educators involved in the process is essential. Process needs to be free of emotion, equitable and transparent. Under no circumstances is a parent permitted to confront a child on the school property relating to any incident of bullying, nor is an educator permitted to victimize any child involved with any particular bullying incident.
The King David Schools will raise awareness of the nature of bullying through its inclusion in the Life Style/Life Orientation Education Programme, Assemblies, Workshops, Tutor Sessions and appropriate Learning Areas. Staff and parent workshops will also be incorporated in this preventive component.
A student, who feels they are being bullied, has the option to choose peer mediation in the cases where it is available or accept guidance and support from the social worker which will equip the child to deal with the same or similar incidences in the future. The social worker will notify the school management of all cases brought to his/her attention.
Incidents of bullying (the victim or bystander) should be reported to teachers via the channels of communication; namely parents, children, social worker and other staff. This may be done verbally (then recorded) or in writing.
If bullied, do not retaliate
The philosophy of any intervention will involve immediate reporting of the incident, by the teacher, to the Head, (if Head not available) Deputy, Head of Department. This will also be referred to the social worker before investigation and intervention. The incident will be investigated. A policy of no blame will be followed so as to avoid accusations, emotional reactions, rumours, hearsay and attempts to influence the outcome. The parents of the child/children involved will be notified of the situation.
A written record of the incident will be kept. Support provided to both the bully and victim if required.
Further offences will receive the same time and investigation and the following will apply:
Following the investigation……..
o An official warning will be issued by the school Principal or a Deputy Principal (parent notified)
o Parents called in with child and written warning issued
o Disciplinary enquiry with school management and final written warning provided with conditions). Probation and or rehabilitation may be a consequence.
o External disciplinary hearing – could entail suspension or expulsion).
It needs to be noted that the seriousness of the offence can determine the level of intervention that is entered into. A child’s behaviour record will also be considered.
Bullying offences recorded will remain on a pupil’s school record and will be referred to in all future disciplinary processes.
If any party is not satisfied with the outcome of any process that has followed the above channels, they have the right to refer the matter to the Headmaster whose decision will be final on any such matter. In the case of an expulsion, the rules of the SABJE Code of Conduct shall apply.
Pupils who have been bullied and other family members, if required, will be supported by:
• Offering an immediate opportunity to discuss the experience with the social worker or an appropriate member of staff of their choice without the bully
• Counseling by the social worker
• The offering by the school of continuous support
• The school, working with pupils will continue towards restoring self-esteem and confidence
The BULLY will be helped by:
• Discussing what happened without victim present (Social worker/appropriate staff member)
• Discovering why and how the pupil became involved in such action
• Establishing a strategy to avoid similar incidences in the future
• Engaging with parents
• Restorative action – if appropriate, restorative action will be encouraged in the form of, inter alia, a written apology, public apology, or community service (Grade 8 – 12).
The confidentiality of all persons involved will be safeguarded at all times and the number of people receiving information will be kept to a minimum by all persons involved in any intervention. Information will only be shared if in the opinion of the Principal, it is in the interests of the student, if it is to the benefit of the student, or if permission has been granted by the parent and the student in this regard.