DWPS have a zero tolerance policy to bullying of any form whether direct or indirect. Any observed or reported form of bullying is investigated and appropriate measures are taken to ensure it does not recur.
The Code: It’s Ok To Tell
We will ensure that children know who to tell. This could be a class teacher, any member of staff in whom they have confidence, the Principal or the Nurse. The children know that all staff will take incidents seriously.
How To Deal With An Incident Of Bullying
Each case is different, but the strategy outlined below is a useful way for tackling the problem and can be used by all members of staff.
The bully must be left in no doubt that bullying is unacceptable and that this conduct will be systematically monitored. As a general principle, however, it is best to avoid confrontation and harsh punishment, as aggression breeds aggression and the bully is likely to become more vindictive.
Perpetrators of incidents are most likely to change their behaviour when they are helped to see things from the victim’s perspective and to feel social pressure from their peers rather than righteous indignation from adults. In this way, the culprits begin to realise that the group opinion is against them.
Stage 1 – Getting The Facts Straight
If there is more than one perpetrator, interview each individually to get the facts straight. Witnesses/ bystanders should also be interviewed, then the victim.
With perpetrator, begin “I would like to talk to you because I’ve heard you’ve been unkind to X… What do you know about it?”
Accept no excuses, e.g. “I was only just playing /teasing….” Your response might be: “Did the victim enjoy it?”
Similarly, do not accept attempts to excuse the bullying by blaming the victim. “What did you do wrong?” leaves less room for endless argument.
However, try to avoid a confrontational approach and instead seek sensitively to reinforce any responses which reveal some concern for the victim.
Consider asking the child to write down what happened.
STAGE 2 (After, Say, 20 Minutes) – MAKING AMENDS
“OK – we’ve talked about this long enough…. What do you suggest we do now to help X? What can we do to put things right?”
The idea is not so much to punish the bully, but to encourage the culprit to carry out some corrective action to improve relationships.
Consider ways in which the bully can be encouraged to see things from the victim’s point of view, e.g.:
Decisions to work towards could include:
Apologizing to victim (in writing?)
Listing the behaviour which needs changing, in order of priority
Making a contract not to engage in this behaviour again (NB: ensure the victim’s agreement)
Asking other people to monitor the situation and report any breaches of contract
“OK, that’s good. We’ll meet again in a week and you can tell me how you’ve been getting on.”
Stage 3 – Following Up Initial Interview
See perpetrator(s) and victim again a week later. Consider whether to see them separately or together as a group. If the problem still remains, it may be necessary to keep repeating “What shall we do? What do you suggest?” Make arrangements for further monitoring and further meetings, as appropriate.
Incidents of bullying and the actions taken are recorded in the log book in the Principal’s PA’s office. Staff must see the Principal to inform him of the situation before entries are made. The Principal will be brought in if the bullying is very serious. He will decide whether to involve parents and inform them of the school strategy for dealing with the problem. Members of staff must always discuss incidents with the Principal and not approach parents themselves.
Supporting The Victim
The victim is often a child who lacks confidence. Certainly the child’s confidence will be damaged by the bullying.
Children need to know that staff will listen and will take reported incidents seriously. The staff will help the victim to make friends by pairing with another child in the group who can draw the victim into activities. The staff will help other children to value the victim so the victim’s confidence will develop.
Combat Bullying In The Longer Term
The school will combat bullying in the long term by: