WHITECROSS SCHOOL aims to ensure that children are safe and feel safe from bullying, harassment and discrimination. This school is committed to teaching children the knowledge and skills to be able to use ICT effectively, safely and responsibly.
Cyber bullying is the use of ICT (usually a mobile phone and or the internet) to abuse another person
It can take place anywhere and involve many people
Anybody can be targeted including pupils and school staff
It can include threats, intimidation, harassment, cyber-stalking, vilification, defamation, exclusion, peer rejection, impersonation, unauthorized publication of private information or images etc.
While bullying involves a repetition of unwelcome behaviour the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools, September 2013, states:
2.1.3. In addition, in the context of these procedures 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.
WHAT IS CYBER-BULLYING?
There are many types of cyber-bullying. The more common types are:
1. Text messages – can be threatening or cause discomfort.
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, 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. Chat room bullying – menacing or upsetting responses to children or young people when they are in a web-based chat room
6. Instant messaging (IM) – unpleasant messages sent while children conduct real-time conversations online using MSM (Microsoft Messenger), Yahoo Chat or similar tools
7. Bullying via websites – use of defamatory blogs (web logs), personal websites and online personal ‘own web space’ sites such as You Tube, Facebook, Ask.fm, Bebo (which works by signing on in one‛s school, therefore making it easy to find a victim) and Myspace – although there are others.
Explanation of slang terms used when referring to cyber-bullying activity:
1. ‘Flaming’: Online fights using electronic messages with angry and vulgar language
2. ‘Harassment’: Repeatedly sending offensive, rude, and insulting messages
3. ‘Cyber Stalking’: Repeatedly sending messages that include threats of harm or are highly intimidating or engaging in other on-line activities that make a person afraid for his or her own safety
4. ‘Denigration’: Sending or posting cruel gossip or rumors about a person to damage his or her reputation or friendships
5. ‘Impersonation’: Pretending to be someone else and sending or posting material online that makes someone look bad, gets her/him in trouble or danger, or damages her/his reputation or friendships
6. ‘Outing and Trickery’: Tricking someone into revealing secret or embarrassing information which is then shared online
7. ‘Exclusion’: Intentionally excluding someone from an on-line group, like a ‘buddy list’
This list is not exhaustive and the terms used continue to change.
AIMS OF POLICY:
To ensure that pupils, staff and parents understand what cyber bullying is and how it can be combated
To ensure that practices and procedures are agreed to prevent incidents of cyber-bullying
To ensure that reported incidents of cyber bullying are dealt with effectively and quickly.
PROCEDURES TO PREVENT CYBER-BULLYING:
Staff, pupils, parents and Board of Management (BoM) will be made aware of issues surrounding cyber bullying through the use of appropriate awareness-raising exercises
Pupils will learn about cyber bullying through Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE), assemblies, friendship week activities and other curriculum projects
The school will engage a speaker to facilitate a workshop on cyber bullying for 5th and 6th classes annually.
Staff CPD (Continuous Professional Development) will assist in learning about current technologies
Parents will be provided with information and advice on how to combat cyber bullying
Pupils and parents will be urged to report all incidents of cyber bullying to the school
All reports of cyber bullying will be investigated, recorded, stored in the Principal’s office and monitored regularly
Procedures in our school Anti-bullying Policy shall apply if the issue arises within the school. However, dealing with cases and investigating allegations outside the context of the school is rarely straightforward and if a serious issue arises we will recommend that parents either sort it out among themselves or take it to the Gardai
Pupils have been informed and will be reminded that mobile phones/tablets are not to be taken to the school or taken on school organised events. They will be confiscated until picked up by a parent.
The school will provide teachers organising off campus events with a mobile phone and number for parents to keep in contact
The gardai will be contacted in cases of actual or suspected illegal content
This policy will be reviewed annually. Pupils, parents and staff will be involved in reviewing and revising this policy and any related school procedure
INFORMATION FOR PUPILS:
If you are being bullied by phone or on 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 are in a chat room, do not say where you live, the school you go to, your email address etc. All these things can help someone who wants to harm you to 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 is plenty of online advice on how to react to cyber bullying. For example, Ie.reachout.com and www.wiredsafety.org have some useful tips.
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 about this.
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.
Bullying is repeated aggression, either verbal, psychological or physical, conducted by an individual or group against others. Isolated incidents of aggressive behaviour, which should not be condoned, cannot be described as bullying. It may manifest itself in many forms such as physical aggression, damage to property, extortion, intimidation, isolation, name-calling and "slagging". At the centre of our school’s response to bullying is the continued development of a positive school climate, which focuses on respect for the individual. It is an important element of school policy to raise awareness of bullying as a form of unacceptable behaviour.
Procedures for Noting and Reporting an Incident of Bullying Behaviour
All incidents of bullying, no matter how trivial, will be investigated and dealt with by the teachers
Serious cases of bullying behaviour by pupils are to be referred immediately to the Principal.
Those involved will be interviewed individually and then collectively.
Communication with parents will be necessary if behaviour continues.
Teachers will keep a written record of all serious incidents of misbehaviour.
Anti-bullying Code in Whitecross Primary School
Every pupil has the right to enjoy his/her time in Whitecross Primary School free from bullying, both in school and on their journey to and from school.
Our school will not tolerate any unkind actions or remarks, even if these were not meant to hurt.
Pupils should support each other by reporting all instances of bullying.
Bullying is regarded as a very serious matter; no child has a right to strike another, even in "self-defence".
Definition of Bullying: When a student is teased repeatedly in a way he or she does not like.
It is made clear to pupils that when they report incidents of bullying they are not telling tales but are behaving responsibly. It is important to counteract a culture which may associate "telling" with "informing". Encouraging a child to strike back is mistaken because it does not address the reasons for the bullying behaviour and it could also result in a child being seriously hurt if the bully is more adept at fighting.
Examples of Positive Discipline employed in the school.
Comments in copy
Comments in Homework diary
Extra computer time
Visit to principal
Commendation at assembly
Point system/merit marks
Special class treats
Regular reassignment of seating positions in class.