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Anti-Bullying Policy

This policy is drawn up with reference to the DfE document “Preventing and tackling bullying Advice for headteachers, staff and governing bodies” October 2014.

Bullying has consequences that are life changing and even life threatening for some pupils. We would like to think our Christian schools are places of safety yet the reality is that our pupils might at times experience some kind of bullying.

Policy Statement

Trinity Christian School is committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all of our pupils so that they can learn in a relaxed and secure atmosphere. Bullying of any kind is unacceptable at our school. If bullying does occur, all pupils should feel free to say how it happened and to know that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively. Bullying is covered in the PHSE/Citizenship curriculum as well as forming an integral part of the school ethos taught through assemblies and Bible-time. 

What is bullying?

Bullying is behaviour by an individual or group, usually repeated over time, may be repeated over time and intentionally hurts another pupil or group physically or emotionally and is often motivated by prejudice against particular groups, for example, on grounds of race, religion, culture, sex, gender, homophobia, special educational needs and disability, or because a child is adopted or is a carer.   It is the wilful, conscious desire to hurt, threaten or frighten somebody else. It is deliberately hurtful behaviour, which may be face to face, indirect or using a range of electronic means, known as ‘cyber-bullying’ through cyber-technology (social websites, mobile phones, text messages, photographs and email).  See E-safety policy for further guidance.

Many children at an early age may want to experiment with bullying another child. It is important that this is pointed out as ‘bullying’ and will not be tolerated at any level.  All incidents of bullying are taken seriously as it can cause a drop in academic attainment, physical harm, emotional stress and in some cases long lasting psychological damage.

Examples of bullying

Bullying includes: name calling; taunting; mocking; making offensive comments, kicking, hitting; pushing; damaging or taking belongings; inappropriate text messaging and emailing; sending offensive or degrading images by phone or via the internet; producing offensive graffiti; gossiping; excluding people from groups or activities; spreading hurtful and untruthful rumours; making one or more pupils feel uncomfortable by the use of sexual references or actions; causing another pupil to be afraid at school or travelling to and from school; making threats to a person or making threatening comments about parents, siblings or friends; unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments; actions fuelled by prejudice – racial, religious, homophobic or against children with special educational needs or disabilities.

The basic elements of bullying:–

  • There is a critical desire to hurt or humiliate
  • The desire is expressed in an action
  • The action is hurtful
  • The action is directed by a more powerful person or group against someone less powerful
  • It is without justification (even if provoked or set up by the victim)
  • It is repeated over a period of time
  • The bully(ies) have evident enjoyment

The basic value system underlying bullying is power. The basic value system underlying our community at Trinity is that each person is an image bearer of God. Each of us should treat others with respect and be treated with respect at all times. Learning to get on with others in a respectful and courteous manner is a sign of a person who cares about other people and not just himself/herself; it is a sign of maturity. It is putting into practice what the Bible says: “look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil 2:4) In a Christian school it is important that we do not focus primarily on the bullying, but also on how we can promote a school culture that reflects the all-embracing and life-affirming love of Jesus. It is worth noting that a purely punitive approach to dealing with bullies is often only as successful as the teacher’s ability to supervise the bully. An approach that is based on a sincere desire to understand and help is a more useful way to go. 

Objectives of our policy:-

  • To inform everybody – governors, staff, pupils, parents of our approach to bullying.
  • To provide a united approach against bullying.
  • To make clear to all concerned that bullying has no place at Trinity Christian School.

Bullying will not be tolerated in order to enhance:

  • The safety and happiness of our pupils.
  • The pupils’ educational achievement.
  • The setting of a standard of behaviour.
  • The school as an effective, caring community.

We note that teachers are ‘in loco parentis’ while children are in school and we must show the same concern in pastoral care as we do for the academic curriculum. This duty must not be left only to year tutors. 

Strategies 

Strategies used by staff to identify instances of bullying:–

  • Noting changes of behaviour, including not wanting to come to school, and a general withdrawal.
  • Observation of children around school.
  • Being available and approachable to listen to children’s concerns.
  • Listening to parents.
  • Discussion groups.

Strategies for the prevention/discouraging of bullying:

  • Fostering a positive atmosphere, working towards a stimulating school environment.
  • Improving children’s self image.
  • Active duty of care by teachers especially in the play areas and corridors.
  • Teaching in assemblies and discussions in class.
  • Developing a supportive climate whereby pupils receive support in minor incidents so that they understand that support is available in the event of more significant incidents.

Strategies for dealing with bullying:–

  • To prevent, de-escalate and/or stop any continuation of harmful behaviour.
  • To react to bullying incidents in a reasonable, proportionate and consistent way.
  • To safeguard the pupil who has experienced bullying and to trigger sources of support for the pupil.
  • To apply appropriate disciplinary sanctions to the pupil causing the bullying alongside appropriate investigation and counselling of the pupils involved in order to investigate the causes.
  • To ensure that appropriate conflict management strategies are taught to the pupils involved as appropriate.
  • Pupils must not be excluded from school for being the victims of bullying. As a school we have a duty of care to every member of the school community and should be able to provide a safe environment for children to learn.
  • Parents of victims and perpetrators of bullying should be kept informed of incidents of bullying and involved in the process of restoration. 

Cyber Bullying 

What is Cyber-Bullying? 

Cyber bullying is the use of modern communication technologies to embarrass, humiliate, threaten, or intimidate an individual in the attempt to gain power and control over them.” (Glenn R. Stutzky)

Cyber-bullying is a “method” of bullying, rather than a “type” of bullying.  It involves bullying via text message, instant messenger services and social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace and Bebo.  It can involve the use of images or videos posted on the internet, or spread via mobile phone.

UK studies have found that many children and young people have suffered

cyber-bullying.  Prolonged campaigns of harassment can occur, aimed at both pupils and staff.

How is cyber-bullying different?

Bullying is not new, but some features of cyber-bullying are different from other forms of bullying:

  • Electronic media are available 24/7 and can permeate home life. Cyber-bullying can take place at any time and can intrude into spaces that have previously been regarded as safe or personal.
  • The audience can be very large and reached rapidly. The difficulty in controlling electronically circulated messages means the scale and scope of cyber-bullying can be greater than for other forms of bullying. Electronically forwarded content is hard to control, and the worry of content resurfacing can make it difficult for targets to move on.
  • People who cyber-bully may attempt to remain anonymous. This can be extremely distressing for those being bullied. The person cyber-bullying may never be in the same physical space as their target.
  • The profile of the bully and target. Cyber-bullying can take place both between peers and across generations; teachers have also been targets. Age or size is not important. Bystanders can also become accessories to the bullying; for example, by passing on a humiliating image.
  • Some instances of cyber-bullying are known to be unintentional. It can be the result of not thinking (something sent as a joke may be deeply upsetting or offensive to the recipient) or a lack of awareness of the consequences – for example saying something negative online about another pupil, or friend that they don’t expect to be forwarded or viewed outside their immediate group.
  • Many cyber-bullying incidents can themselves act as evidence. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to know how to respond!

Telephone bullying

The vast majority of 12-16 year olds now own a mobile phone and an increasing number of children and young people are reporting being bullied via their mobile phone at school and even in their own homes. Some of those who have been bullied in this way believe that images have been sent to other people. Others have been bullied or threatened via their mobile phone or computer.

E-mails

Like bullying by text message, e-mail provides a reasonably ‘anonymous’ method for those who bully. Young people in schools have been known to steal passwords and send out threatening e-mails or instant messages using an assumed identity.

Chatrooms and Social Networking Sites.

Aside from the general risks of using chatrooms, social networking sites and instant messaging (IM) services, these are also being used by children and young people to bully and intimidate others. Chatrooms have an element of anonymity that can lead to bullying. Groups are often formed in chatrooms just as they would be in school, and can be used as a way of excluding or harassing others.  Pupils should be extremely careful when making remarks about teachers or other pupils on social networking sites as these comments are instantly visible by all members of the network or group.

The following guidelines outline recommended procedures:

Protecting Children & Young People:-

  • Children should be encouraged to always use moderated chatrooms and to never give out personal information whilst chatting.
  • If bullying does occur, they should not respond to the messages, but should leave the chatroom and seek advice from a teacher, parent/carer or friend.
  • Children and young people should exercise caution over who they give their e-mail address to.
  • Children and young people should be advised not to respond to malicious or threatening messages, even though they may really want to, this is exactly what cyber-bullies want. Tell a teacher, parents/carer or friend.
  • Advise children and young people not to delete malicious or threatening e-mails, but to keep them as evidence of bullying.
  • If the e-mail is being sent from a personal e-mail account, this should be reported to the sender’s e-mail service provider. Many e-mail programmes also provide facilities to block e-mail from certain senders.

Supporting the person being bullied 

Give reassurance that the person has done the right thing by telling someone, refer to any existing pastoral support/procedures and inform parents.

Advise on next steps:-

  • Make sure the person knows not to retaliate or return the message.
  • Advise the person to keep relevant evidence for any investigation (e.g. by not deleting messages they’ve received, and by taking screen capture shots and noting web addresses of online cyber-bullying instances).
  • Check the person understands simple ways to prevent it from happening again, e.g. by changing contact details, blocking contacts or leaving a chatroom.

Take action to contain the incident when content has been circulated:-

  • If you know who the person responsible is, ask them to remove the content;
  • Contact the host (e.g. the social networking site) to make a report to get the content taken down.
  • Use disciplinary powers to confiscate phones that are being used to cyber-bully. Ask the pupil to tell you who they have sent messages on to. (See Mobile Phone Policy and Searching and Confiscation policy)
  • In cases of illegal content, contact the police, who can determine what needs to be kept for evidential purposes. (see Youth Produced Sexual Imagery policy)

Investigating incidents

All bullying incidents should be properly recorded and investigated (serious incidents and concerns book). Cyber-bullying can be a very serious matter and can constitute a criminal offence. In UK law, there are criminal laws that can apply in terms of harassment or threatening and menacing communications.

  • Advise staff to keep a record of any reports of bullying as evidence. It can be useful to show parents, teachers, pastoral care staff and the police, if necessary, what has happened.
  • Take steps to identify the bully, including looking at the school systems, identifying and interviewing possible witnesses, and contacting the service provider and the police, if necessary. The police will need to be involved to enable the service provider to look into the data of another user.
  • Advise parents of the victim and perpetrator and involve them in the restoration process.

Working with the bully and sanctions 

Once the person bullying is identified, steps should be taken to change their attitude and behaviour as well as ensuring access to any support that is required. (See Behaviour Management for sanctions available).

Factors to consider when determining the appropriate sanctions include:

  • The impact on the victim: was the bully acting anonymously, was the material widely circulated and humiliating, how difficult was controlling the spread of the material?
  • The motivation of the bully: was the incident unintentional or retaliation to bullying behaviour from others?

Technology-specific sanctions for pupils engaged in cyber-bullying behaviour could include limiting internet access for a period of time. 

Specified lines of action

Oral statements to children and written statements in the school brochure and other information to parents make clear that bullying is not tolerated in Trinity Christian School and that everyone is expected to ensure that it does not happen.

  • If bullying does occur, don’t suffer in silence – tell any adult – it is not telling tales.
  • All incidents of bullying will be investigated
  • Victim and bully will be interviewed separately by a teacher, calmly and in a quiet place.
  • Victim will be counselled to explore coping strategies.
  • Bully will be encouraged to change behaviour and apologise (any property taken will be returned). If possible, students will be reconciled.
  • Parents will be involved.
  • Incidents of bullying will be recorded in a school file, available to staff.
  • Victims and bully may be encouraged to express their feelings in writing.
  • An appropriate punishment will be given; bearing in mind that acting aggressively or over-punitively can give the message that it is alright to bully if you have the power!
  • If bullying persists there will be a formal referral to the Headteacher – in line with the school’s behaviour policy – leading to possible suspension and ultimately exclusion from the school.

 Records 

To enable us to monitor incidents and record progress, please note down the following:-

  • Who was involved (or alleged to be involved)?
  • Where and when it happened
  • What happened?
  • What action was taken?
  • How it was followed up

The file will be monitored by SMT, who will be concerned about the frequency of incidents, whether the nature of incidents is changing (e.g. use of mobile phone text messaging) and the effectiveness of practice resulting from the policy.

Monitoring, evaluation and review 

This policy will be reviewed together with behaviour policy every two/three years, but this does not prevent teachers raising issues that may lead to earlier change.

 

Appendix 1 – Forms of Cyber-bullying

The table below explores the range of ways today’s technology can be used.

 

Technology Great for: Examples of misuse:
 

Mobile

phone

Keeping in touch by voice or text, taking and sending pictures and film, listening to music, playing games, going on-line and sending e-mails. Useful in emergency situations and for allowing children a greater sense of independence. Sending nasty calls or text messages, including threats, intimidation, and harassment. Taking and sharing humiliating images. Videoing other people being harassed and sending these to other phones or internet sites.
Instant

messenger (IM)

Text or voice chatting live with friends on-line. A quick and effective way of keeping in touch even while working on other things. Sending nasty messages or content. Using someone else’s account to forward rude or mean messages via their contacts list.
 

Chatrooms & message boards

Groups of people around the world can text or voice chat live about common interests. For young people, this can be an easy way to meet new people and explore issues which they are too shy to talk about in person. Sending nasty or threatening anonymous messages. Groups of people deciding to pick on or ignore individuals. Making friends under false pretences – people pretending to be someone they’re not in order to get personal information that they can misuse in a range of ways – e.g. by spreading secrets or blackmailing.
Emails Sending electronic letters, pictures and other files quickly and cheaply anywhere in the world. Sending nasty or threatening messages. Forwarding unsuitable content including images and video clips, or sending computer viruses. Accessing someone else’s account, e.g. to forward personal

e-mails or delete e-mails.

Webcams Taking pictures or recording messages. Being able to see and talk to someone live on the computer screen. Bringing far-off places to life or video conferencing. Making and sending inappropriate content. Persuading or threatening young people to act in inappropriate ways. Using inappropriate recordings to manipulate young people.
Social network

Sites

Socialising with friends and making new ones within on-line communities. Allowing young people to be creative on-line, even publishing on-line music. Personalising homepages and profiles, creating and uploading content.

 

Posting nasty comments, humiliating images / video. Accessing another person’s account details and sending unpleasant messages, deleting information or making private information public. Groups of people picking on individuals by excluding them. Creating fake profiles to pretend to be someone else, e.g. to bully, harass or get the person into trouble.
Video hosting

sites

Accessing useful educational, entertaining and original creative video content and uploading their own. Posting embarrassing, humiliating film of someone.
Virtual Learning

Environment

School site, usually available from home and school, set up for tracking and recording pupil assignments, tests and activities, with message boards, chat and IM. Posting inappropriate messages or images. Hacking into someone else’s account to post inappropriate comments or delete schoolwork.
Gaming sites

Consoles &

Virtual worlds

Live text or voice chat during on-line gaming between players across the world, or on handheld consoles with people in the same local area.

Virtual worlds let users design their own avatars – a figure that represents them in the virtual world.

Name-calling, making abusive / derogatory remarks. Players may pick on weaker or less experienced users, repeatedly killing their characters.

Forwarding unwanted messages to other devices in the immediate vicinity.

 

Appendix 2:  A code of Conduct

http://www.antibullying.net/cyber-bullying1.htm

A Code of Conduct
All pupils should be made aware of the following in order to be prepared with strategies for dealing with cyber-bullying:

  • If you feel you are being bullied by e-mail, text or on-line, do talk to someone you trust.
  • Never send any bullying or threatening messages. Anything you write and send could be read by an adult.
  • Keep and save any bullying e-mails, text messages or images.
  • If you can, make a note of the time and date bullying messages or images were sent, and note any details about the sender.
  • Don’t reply to bullying or threatening text messages or e-mails – this could make matters worse. It also lets the bullying people know that they have found a ‘live’ phone number or e-mail address.  They may get bored quite quickly if you ignore them.
  • Don’t give out your personal details on-line – if you’re in a chatroom, watch what you say about where you live, the school you go to, your e-mail address etc. All these things can help someone who wants to harm you build up a picture about you.
  • Don’t forward abusive texts or e-mails or images to anyone. You could be breaking the law just by forwarding them.  If they are about you, keep them as evidence.  If they are about someone else, delete them and don’t reply to the sender.
  • Don’t ever give out passwords to your mobile, social networking or e-mail accounts.
  • Remember that sending abusive or threatening messages is against the law.

 

 

Review Date Spring 2019