Bullying & Harassment Policy

Rationale

Our school is committed to providing a safe and caring environment and culture which enables positive relationships to be formed amongst all community members and which encourages self-esteem, cooperation, personal growth and a positive attitude to learning and teaching.  A clear policy on bullying (including cyber bullying) and harassment will inform the community that bullying and harassment in any of its forms will not be tolerated.

Definitions

Bullying is repeated oppression, physical or psychological, of a less powerful person by a more powerful person or group.

Cyber-bullying consists of covert, psychological bullying, conveyed through the electronic mediums such as cell-phones, web-logs and web-sites, on-line chat rooms, ‘MUD’ rooms (multi-user domains where individuals take on different characters) and Xangas (on-line personal profiles where some adolescents create lists of people they do not like).  It is verbal (over the telephone or mobile phone), or written (flaming, threats, racial, sexual or homophobic harassment) using the various mediums available.

Harassment is any verbal, physical or sexual conduct (including gestures) which is uninvited, unwelcome or offensive to a person. When people are bullied or harassed some effects might be anger, embarrassment, fear and humiliation, loss of self-confidence and reduced function and potential.

Aims

• To actively promote a positive and welcoming personal environment for all members of the school community.
• To reinforce within the school community what bullying/harassment is, and the fact that it is unacceptable.
• To inform everyone within the school community to be alert to signs and evidence of bullying/harassment and to have a responsibility to report it to staff whether as observer or victim.
• To ensure that all reported incidents of bullying/harassment are followed up appropriately and that support is given to both victims and perpetrators.
• To seek parental and peer group support and cooperation at all times.

Implementation

• A school-wide approach will be taken to deal with bullying (including cyber bullying) and harassment in a consistent and systematic way.
• Bullying and harassment will be addressed, individual differences will be respected and students and staff will be enabled and supported in their pursuit of learning and teaching.
• The Bullying and Harassment Policy of the school will be widely promoted to students, staff, parents/carers and the local community.
• All new community members will be informed of the Bullying (Including Cyber-Bullying) and Harassment Policy and practices at the commencement of their time at the school. A summary of the policy will be included in the Student Enrolment information while new staff will receive extensive documentation as part of the school’s induction process.
• All complaints of harassment will be heard in confidence and taken seriously. The school leadership team and the teachers will work together to ensure the safety of all school members in situations of bullying (including cyber bullying) and harassment, by thoroughly investigating all complaints while respecting the need for confidentiality, notifying parents/carers and planning interventions.
• If a teacher feels a student is at serious and imminent risk from bullying (including cyber bullying) and harassment then it is their professional duty to pass on the information to an appropriate person in order to ensure appropriate support for the student.  It is important that teachers document fully their interaction with the student and to verify the actions taken.
• Our school will organise preventative curriculum programs that promote resilience, life and social skills, assertiveness, conflict resolution and problem solving.
• Staff programs will occur periodically to keep staff informed of current issues/strategies for dealing with these issues. These will include constructive strategies that deal with education in coping strategies, assertiveness training, problem solving and social skills, counselling and behaviour modification. These strategies will be employed in preference to punitive sanctions and negative consequences.
• Student programs will be organized to raise student awareness about bullying (including cyber bullying) and harassment, to provide a forum for discussion of matters and to aid development of attitudes.  Some matters will be dealt with formally in the curriculum and in peer support programs, leadership programs, extra-curricular programs and occasional activities run by outside experts and workers.  The curriculum will include anti-bullying/anti-harassment messages and strategies in line with current DET materials e.g. ‘The Friendly Schools’ and ‘No Blame Approach to Bullying’ programs.
• The school will provide specialist resources such as books, videos, kits and off site in-service activities to assist staff in responding appropriately to bullying (including cyber bullying) and harassment issues.
• There will be disciplinary consequences, covering a range of strategies, for those in breach of the Bullying (including cyber bullying) and Harassment Policy, guidelines and procedures (see Appendix A).
• Disciplinary consequences for bullying (including cyber bullying) and harassment will comply with the school’s Welfare and Discipline Policy.  The principal or their nominee will provide disciplinary consequences including suspension in accordance with Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) guidelines.

Links which are connected with this policy are:

• DEECD’s Effective Schools are Engaging Schools: Student Engagement Policy Guidelines
• DEECD’s Safe Schools are Effective Schools
• DEECD’s Student Engagement Policy Guidelines
• The school’s Internet Use Policy (re cyber-bullying)
• DEECD’s Respectful Schools

Appendices which are connected with this policy are:

• Appendix A: Anti-Bullying (including cyber-bullying) and Anti-Harassment Procedures
• Appendix B: Reporting on Incident of Bullying / Harassment – Template
• Appendix C: Formal Referral of Student who has bullied / harassed other to Student Welfare Coordinator – Template

Evaluation

This policy will be reviewed as part of the school’s three year review cycle or more often if necessary due to changes in regulations or circumstances.

This policy was last ratified by School Council on:  23/11/15.