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school safety statements and anti- bullying policies

re... : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
26/08/2009 02:02 - Bullying
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Hi ya Fifi,

Yes you are right in what you say; all the policies in the world can never ensure anything. But what is important, in relation to what the first poster posted, is that protection - for all concerned - has to start from somewhere.

If the policies are correctly drafted and time and effort is given to testing it by, for example, ensuring that all eventualities are taken into account before ratification by the school´s board of management or governers or whoever then, it is as good a place as anyone can expect to work from. When I say ´anyone´ I actually mean everyone to whom the policy will affect if and when it is invoked.

To reiterate, you are right in saying that the policies - on their own - are of no use whatsoever unless all those in authority ( including the school and parents) have the courage to act on them. The policy should be looked as a bilateral document because, at the end of the day at least two parties will need to rely on the document. Of course if a parent or a member of the school staff feels that a document is weighted in one way or the other, a prospective employee can choose not to take employment or the parent can attempt to have their child enrolled in another school, but this can be an altogether different story if a party does not ensure, as much as they can, that the policy is adequate. Of course, if either party finds themselves in ´a situation´ where either party is attempting to rely on a policy that is weighed against them, then it can get messy.

In the main, many parents don´t have the choice about where to send their child, especially with the rules about catchment areas etc, but this should not deter parents from ensuring that policies are adequate; the same can be said about members of staff; the difference being that members of staff enjoy union protection, where pupils do not.

In relation to what you say about the other circumstances that can arise, yes, one can find that other avenues have to taken, which will usually occur when either the policy is weak or the follow-through by those in authority on a complaint is weak. The use of mediation (the outcome of which can be confidential) can be employed in attempting to resolve a situation.

Disorders, of course, have to be taken into consideration, but we have to remember that disorders are not confined to pupils, which can complicate matters again.

Overall it is a complicated area that not only needs cooperation for all sides should a complaint arise, it also requires openness and fairness from the beginning so complications are not aggravated to cause one side to revert to those other avenues, if that is at all possible.

Anyhow, I think what is important is that people debate this very important issue and if, for example a certain policy ratified by the school body is loosely put together, then it is for the Parent body, as in the parent association or the Parent Teacher Asscociation to address its concerns to the board of management or the governing body of the school.


Thanks



re... : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
26/08/2009 13:05 - Bullying
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Thank you Heavy Heart. Bullying is surely a difficult topic. For those who are actually bullied and their parents, it is heartbreaking at times.
One difficulty is, however, that bullying has now become such a buzz word, that many parents whose children have a spat with another child are now suddenly being ´bullied´. Children have also become familiar with the word, which is now totally overused. Children now can claim to be bullied for the most ridiculous reasons.
Bullying is a sustained and one sided activity and can take many forms. I have heard of children being ´bullied´ however, whom I know are NOT being bullied. Many of my family are teachers and this is a topic I have spoken to them at length about. Sometimes, the parent who is the most vocal may not have the child who is being bullied at all. It can easily be the one whom nobody knows anything about, who is afraid to speak up, who is actually the victim of bullying..
Often, teachers are relying on other children to come forward to tell them about what may be going on behind the scenes as the teachers are often the very ones it will be concealed from. I know that teachers with concerns about certain pupils often watch discreetly and try to involve others in careful supervision and observation. A further complication is that sometimes parents approach schools, tell them their concerns but insist that nobodyelse is to know. Understandably, you want to protect the allged victim but if you are prevented from even telling other adults, it is harder.
Another difficulty is that schools are regularly approached by two parents, each one claiming that their child is being bullied by the other. This is why I am trying to explain that things are never black and white and that things are rarely how they seem. Bullying is a topic that needs to be discussed but with a sensible approach and an open mind.



re... : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
24/08/2009 21:24 - Bullying
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Looking back at the posts of coleary, I think he/she has hit it on the head. Bullies are normally very crafty and the older children get, the more sneaky they can become.
I know that schools are very often in impossible situations as it´s a case of two completely different stories from children, with denials and counter denials. Some schools would need to have secret listening devices and cameras or to be divinely inspired to catch some of the culprits out. Much of it is very subtle and I suppose the easiest thing of all for us to do is to blame the school. There are times when schools go above and beyond the call of duty but are accused of doing ´nothing´. In these situations, schools can be defenseless.
Schools must do all in their power to protect children but we as parents need to equip our children to deal with bullies too as they will be meeting difficult people all through their lives and must be given the skills and abilities to cope with these situations.



re... : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
25/08/2009 00:23 - Bullying
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Hi there,

I think it´s important to remember that, in relation to what the first poster asked about policies, that the possibilities of issues, for example, involving pupil/pupil, teacher/pupil, pupil/teacher or teacher/teacher that policies are there to ensure that the correct procedures are in place and that they will be followed, to the letter and without the use of discretion or the exercise of arbitrary prerogatives.

Inadequate Policies:
If the Policy and Procedures are inadequate from the beginning it leaves all of those involved vulnerable, and the system operating under the inadequate policy is put under unnecessary stress, where no one knows what to do. If discretionary measures are taken it will usually result in one side being overly protected at the expense of the other side.

Fear of Litigation:
The fear of litigation is something else that can create the atmosphere of blanket denial which in turn leads to stonewalling; all of which can potentially destroy efforts at resolving issues; that said, if the correct policies are in place, and if parents (on behalf of their child) and school staff sign up to these policies then it creates the correct atmosphere from the beginning, within which issues can be resolved and will outrrule things like bad press and bad feelings etc.

Badly Drafted Policies:
If policies are badly drafted; in that the policy provides more protection to one side over an another it is a recipe for disaster, especially if the matter is unfortunately referred to an independent tribunal or court.

Well-drafted policies;
Well drafted policies will provide a forum for openness and fairness, and they will remove the need for arrogance and blanket denial which will more than likely cause the side that feels they are being prejudiced to push to the limits to correct the imbalance contained in the weakly drafted policy.

Thanks for listening



re... : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
21/06/2009 14:45 - Bullying
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This is a very difficult situation for all concerned, especially your son. Schools have these policies in place. The problem is that a principal or teacher cannot be privy to every word that comes out of every other child´s mouth at every minute of the school day. Children are very clever to look before saying anything. They will never say these things when there are witnesses. It´s always the moment the teacher´s back is turned momentarily, the moment the teacher´s attention has been called elsewhere or whatever.




re... : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
21/06/2009 22:12 - Bullying
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While bullying must always be monitored and dealt with, it´s the responsibility of many people to monitor it. As our children go through life, they are going to meet unsavoury or nasty people while they are children, teenagers and thoughout their adult lives. It is part of our responsibility to equip them with the knowledge that even when they are working, these people are going to be there. It´s how they learn to deal with them is also very important.



re... : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
27/08/2009 02:23 - Bullying
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Yes Fifi you are right; the term ´bullying´ itself can, and is, susceptible to abuse.

I am not a psychologist or by any means an expert in ´bullying´. The DES, however, has issued guidelines in relation to Bullying at http://www.education.ie/robots/view.jsp?pcategory=10815&language=EN&ecategory=33803&link=link001&doc=32086

There is no doubt that this is a tricky area which can fall victim to poor intrepretation and poor follow through. In the event that it does arise we as parents or as employees have little choice but to rely on those persons in authority to determine whether the reported (alleged) behaviour is in fact bullying, or not as the case may be. But without correct policies and procedures employed to make that determination (whether positive or negative), an unsound policy has the potential to aggravate the problem; in that, on the outside the problem appears to have been resolved but underneath the cause and effects remain.

I would certainly echo your thoughts on that Bullying is a topic that needs to be discussed but with a sensible approach. I would add, however, that this should be in the case of this type of behaviour; whether is be bullying, harrassment, victimisation etc. In the case where schools only have an Adult Bullying policy, the question has to be asked, why is there not a policy covering incidents between pupils and between staff and pupils.

In summary I would say that those who draft and ratify policies dealing with this sort of thing should ask themselves, what way would I want the policy to act in a worst case scenario, it is balanced and fair to everyone concerned? And those of us who may have to rely on the policy, concentrate not so much on what is in the policy, rather query the absence of certain things.


Thanks again for listening,



re... : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
24/02/2012 00:07 - Bullying
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Useful to remember that there are possible solutions outside the school environment to be explored when dealing with cases of extreme bullying that cannot be managed within the school environment.
http://www.epiconline.ie/articles/asbos-in-ireland.html?PHPSESSID=6b50c11c7a199c016bd41b0faa7be0e4
WHAT IS AN ASBO?
ASBOs are civil orders granted by the courts on application by a senior Garda to limit or stop a type of named behaviour. If you break the Order it is a criminal offence.
WHAT DOES ASBO STAND FOR?
ASBO stands for Anti-Social Behaviour Order. Anti Social Behaviour Orders came into law for young people (12-18) on March 1st 2007.
Anti Social Behaviour is behaviour that;
“causes or is likely to cause harassment or significant or persistent alarm, distress, fear or intimidation to another person, or significant or persistent impairment in the use and enjoyment of their property by the other person.”
This means that Anti Social Behaviour is a behaviour that has caused or is likely to cause ongoing anxiety, distress, fear or intimidation to a person. It is also a behaviour that causes damage to a person’s property or stops them from enjoying their own property because of someone else’s behaviour.



school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
22/05/2009 10:48 - Bullying (Locality: Meath)
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This is first time to post on the discussion board.
I was just curious as to how many parents have either seen or read the Safety Policy and Anti Bullying Policy of the school in which your child attends.
May I also suggest that you log onto the Department of Education website and you can compare the suggested template against the schools Policies



re : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
02/04/2012 00:48 - Bullying
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If anyone would like professional advice on anti-bullying, please contact me. I run a anti-bullying programme for primary and secondary schools and have dealt first hand with the bullies. I would be glad to help anyone who may have a question they need answered, publicly or pm me.
Roisin.
Buzzworx Theatre Company.



re... : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
21/06/2009 10:44 - Bullying
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The DES will most likely refer you back to the school. I´d suggest you check the school complaints procedure on the INTO website and follow it to the letter of the law. Keep notes on all incidents/meetings.



re... : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
20/06/2009 16:25 - Bullying
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Did you make the school aware of this ?



re... : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
20/06/2009 18:23 - Bullying
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I personally handed in a letter to the school because I want proof that I informed them and I also handed in a letter to the dept of education in Dublin. Im still waiting to see if either will reply.

I end up going to the school at least 6 or 7 times a year about bullying and get the same response from the headmaster..."I will sort it out!" And yet its still going on!!



re : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
22/08/2009 23:38 - Bullying
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Many schools will display their policies in the school, publish them on their websites.

Just make sure when you check for the Bullying Policy. Some schools refer only to having an Adult Bullying/harrassment etc policy.


With a school´s Child Protection Policy, make sure it covers all the possibilities and not just the disclosure of abuse outside the school.

The Ryan report, I think, will thankfully ensure that the Children First Guidelines will have to be followed in the event of disclosure, which will rule out any doubt as to what to do.

Just be sure to check because if anything happen (God forbid) you might run into trouble.

Most schools will show you their policies and those that resist... well that´s up to you. Make sure they have been fully ratified by the Board of Management.

The INTO webite is a good place to see what way policies should be drafted.





re... : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
27/08/2009 23:41 - Bullying
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I am happy to agree with most of what has been said here. Yes, the topic of bullying is an important one. Those who really are victims need support and understanding. Most definitely, the term bullying is totally overused. Without doubt, it can be an issue that is very difficult to deal with.
As somebody who does not profess to be the expert, I have considerable interaction with schools and have been involved in the formulation of several policies in schools, including policies on bullying. I know at first hand how difficult it can be, despite having the most wonderful policy, to deal with bullying. I am aware of situations where staff have been on constant watch, with teachers and staff members continually observing particular pupils, where bullying has been reported. This normally takes place unknown to either pupil. I know of teachers doing without a lunch break on several consecutive days to try to get to the bottom of situations. There have also been situations where there were hours of discussion, with pupils swearing black was white, yet in spite of all this, the schools have been accused of doing nothing.
There have been other situations where the alleged incidences have taken place on the way home from school, at weekends, in the evenings where children live, yet the school has been attacked as being responsible. The school can and does have bullying awareness and all sorts of initiatives yet, it is very difficult to have a policy that will couteract such incidences. I am not saying that the school does not have a role to play.
I am also aware of incidents where there has been bad blood between neighbouring families outside of school which had nothing to do with the school. Parents were in dispute with other parents. One such situation arose during the summer holidays. Subsequently, both parents came to the school reporting that their child was being bullied by the other. One parent wrote a letter of complaint to the Board of Management about incidents that were happening in the estate where these two families lived, yet the school was being blamed as being responsible!
Another aspect to consider is that due to the complete and total explosion in Legislation arising from The Education Act, and a raft of other Acts passed in the last ten years, schools are now expected to have hundreds of differents policies on the most diverse things one could imagine. Coupled with the total revision of the school curriculum and now the most incredible cutbacks that will ensure schools no longer have the resources, the manpower or the support to implement these policies, where do schools turn?
A simple example is the reduction in posts of responsibility. Take for example, a situation where a post holder had responsibilty for yard supervision organisation & discipline, or another oversaw the health promoting schools initiative, or another may be the safety officer. If one or all of these people now retires, takes a career break, maternity leave, sick leave or whatever, those people will NOT be replaced. Think of the effect this will have on combating bullying, for example.
The debate on bullying not only needs to be addressed but also the support and understanding required by schools needs to be considered. Schools can be very soft targets and policies on bullying (which are necessary) are not going to solve everything.



re : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
20/06/2009 15:42 - Bullying
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As far as I can the scholl which my sons attend have no anti bullying policy. Just last week my 11 yr old was called a retard and told to go commit suicide. He has been bullied since he started school and Im tired of going to the school about it. Im thinking about getting the gardai involved at this stage!!



re... : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
25/08/2009 22:49 - Bullying
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Much of what you say is theoretically very good, Heavy Heart. All the policies in the world may help but will not solve a problem. A policy is only as good as the peolple who implement it. Also there is never one size fits all and no two situations are the same. There are often extenuating circumstances at play, which are beyond the power of the school, for example and it can be next to impossible to come to a resolution. There are also situations where confidentiality can play a part where a child is being accused of bullying but may not actually be bullying but may have a disorder. In that kind of situation, it is very difficult for schools to strike the right balance by ensuring adequate supervision, taking all necessary steps, yet not divulging sensitive or confidential information to other parents.



re : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
28/06/2009 00:21 - Bullying
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i left primary school on thursday and as far as i am concerned dbns has a brilliant anti bully policy. i was bullied twice in 6th , and both times it was sorted out.



re... : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
23/08/2009 22:46 - Bullying
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Bullying is a difficult one. It´s very hard on parents and on children. I have to say that schools often get unfair press though. I know of a situation where the school went to the most extraordinary lengths but one particular parent slated them no matter what they did. There are very difficult cases but equally, there are many cases that schools do manage to deal with sucessfully. Sadly, we usually only hear about the unresolved ones, though.
The other point (I´m CERTAINLY NOT suggesting that this is one of those cases) is that there are certain cases where there are faults on the sides of both of the children but both sets of parents see their child as the victim. These kind of situations are especially difficult to resolve.
My heart goes out to any child who is being bullied. Some children are more vulnerable than others and these are the children who need the most support.



re... : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
29/01/2012 10:09 - Bullying
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As we go from school to school and organization to organization educating and setting up programs to stop #bullying, the question continues to arise, ” . . . but why do we need laws to address the issue?”. Comments come up such as “We didn’t have laws when we were kids and we survived”. Then I sit with children (as their therapist) who attend schools who are exempt from the law who tell me “I was afraid to tell my teacher . . . .” about #bullying for fear of repercussions. Children and adolescents fear the consequences from the adults and from the other students. Exemption allows these schools to continue to turn a blind eye. Do we NEED the laws? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. Do they help us advocate for children . . . YES! Let’s stop fighting about the law and focus on the kids it was written for. It is a different time now. . .



re... : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
29/08/2009 03:00 - Bullying
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Hello there,

The example you gave about what can happen when a ´bullying´ issue stems from bad blood between neighbouring families, and their subsequent attempts at laying its fault at the doorstep of the school, is ridiclous; surely the role of the school cannot be in any way held responsible for something that is completely outside their remit.

The many statutes passed by the Oireachtas, together with the reams of circulars issued by the DES on a weekly/monthly basis is soul detroying for a school; surely the DES should be paying for a school compliance officer to keep up with it all. Much of the responsiblites given to schools and their governing boards are too onerous, and I think it is a way of the DES abrogating responsibilites that should rest squarely on the shoulders of the DES. After all schools´ resources are being slashed with regard to the likes of teachers, special needs assistants, loss of book grants and the impending water charges.... and so and so on.

However, it is clear that policies can differ from school to school and I am wondering if there should be templates provided by the DES or indeed the INTO, whereby they would provide a ´skeleton´ of universal points, upon which each school could then add their specific needs to the policy template. The provision of "balanced templates" would reduce time spent by Boards of Management; of course they may be an argument that this suggestion would be construed as an attack on a school´s automony, in as far as a school is autonomous.

If, for example, a school´s policy on bullying is specifically an "Adult Bullying" policy, then surely it would be a fair question for a parent to ask why is there not an additional General or a Pupil Bullying policy.

I agree that the investigation of an alleged bullying incident can be a nightmare and has the potential to drain severely the already depleting resources of a school. Adequate policies, while not solving everything, are something which are taken extremely seriously by the likes of a court, insurance companies etc. If, for example, there is a dispute between two members of staff, the first port of call on which they will attempt to rely is the policy which refers to their situation.

I think the only way a school will not be seen as a soft target is to have a robust set of policies, where employees and parents alike can be assured that correct steps will be taken; whether the policy is connected with mobile phone use, healthy eating, EPV or bullying (Adult or otherwise), at least then the school can say they adhered to the policy and that all has been done within their power, as per the.... you know what I mean.

Thanks



re... : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
29/08/2009 14:38 - Bullying
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Glad to see this being given a good debating. Many points have now been raised and the picture appears to be getting clearer, thanks to the input of several people.
I am a principal of a large school and I abhor the thought of any child or adult being bullied. Yes, we have safety and bullying policies in place and they have an important part to play. These and the Complaints Procedure, form a good reference for dealing with incidents of alleged bullying.
I would agree that the word "bullying" is now very much overused. I also noted that Heavy Heart made some very relevant and balanced points. I was not quite sure, however, when s/he spoke of the example given by coleary involving rival families disputing in their neighbourhoods and subsequently complaining in the school as being "ridiculous", exactly what s/he meant. Did Heavy Heart mean that :
1. It was ridiculous that parents would try to do that?
or
2. That it was ridiculous and would not happen in a school?

As a principal of several years experience, I can assure you that it is certainly not uncommon and has happened in our school on more occasions than I care to remember. Some parents, if locked in a dispute with another family, will try to involve the school and yes, allegations of bullying, that didn´t subsequently stand up, have been made in those kind of circumstances. Sadly, the school can be used and have many valuable hours wasted investigating ridiculous complaints.
I appreciate when parents notify the school if there is some difficulty or bad blood, if there is a danger of this spilling over into the playground. Then it is of relevance. Making complaints to the school, however, sometimes to get the other family into more trouble or perhaps to lay the blame elsewhere- (the school), is a disgrace.
Coleary´s & Heavyheart´s points on the school being supported to reinforce policies, especially in present climate, are appreciated.



re... : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
23/06/2009 21:04 - Bullying
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I can only agree with you on the issue of equipping our children for the future, but the fact remains that the school must provide a safe secure and happy environmet un which they can learn and progress. http://www.education.ie/robots/view.jsp?pcategory=10815&language=EN&ecategory=33803&link=link001&doc=32147 this link will show you a sample policy.
My son has been bullied for the past 4 years and it is a matter of time before he lashes out at this bully and then he will be in trouble. The school are aware of this situation but refuse to deal with it.
I am a very tolerant person but enough is enough its time to stop all these bullies and let the teachers know that as parents (around the country) we are not going to accept the response of " we will deal with it".



re... : school safety statements and anti- bullying policies           reply
29/08/2009 21:05 - Bullying
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Policies on Bullying in schools, if anything, tend to concentrate on the bullying of pupils as victims, rather than adults as victims- not the other way round. Pupils must be our top priority but adults cannot be forgotten about either.




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