Section 6.3 of DES Child Protection Procedures - Bullying
6.3.1 Bullying can be defined as repeated aggression – whether it be verbal, psychological or physical – that is conducted by an individual or group against others. It is behaviour that is intentionally aggravating and intimidating, and occurs among children mainly in social environments such as schools.
- It includes behaviours such as teasing, taunting, threatening, hitting or extortion by one or more persons against a victim.
- Bullying can also take the form of racial abuse. With developments in modern technology, children can also be the victims of non-contact bullying, via mobile phones, the internet and other personal devices.
Bullying of children can also be perpetrated by adults, including adults who are not related to the child. Bullying behaviour when perpetrated by adults, rather than children, could be regarded as physical or emotional abuse. However, other major forms of child abuse, such as neglect and sexual abuse, are not normally comprehended by the term 'bullying'.
It is recognised that bullying in schools is a particular problem. In the first instance, it is the school authority that is responsible for dealing with bullying in school.
All schools are required under the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 to have in place a Code of Behaviour. The Act also requires that a school’s Code of Behaviour must be drawn up in accordance with the guidelines of the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB). The NEWB guidelines make it clear that each school must have policies to prevent or address bullying and harassment and that schools must make clear in their code of behaviour that bullying is unacceptable.
Every school therefore must have in place, a policy which includes specific measures to deal with bullying behaviour, within the framework of the school’s overall school Code of Behaviour. Such a code, developed through consultation with the whole school community and properly implemented, can be the most influential measure in countering bullying behaviour in schools. The Department has also issued guidelines on counter-acting bullying behaviour which can be accessed on www.education.ie
It is imperative that all teachers are aware of the school’s anti-bullying policy and its guidelines for dealing with bullying. In situations where the incident is serious and where the behaviour is regarded as potentially abusive, the school shall consult the HSE Children and Family Social Services with a view to drawing up an appropriate response, such as a management plan.
Serious instances of bullying behaviour should be reported to the HSE Children and Family Services.
View Department of Education & Skills full Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools by clicking on the PDF link below