Bullying Policy

Bullying Policy
St Clare’s Primary School
At St Clare’s our students have the right to learn in a supportive, caring and safe environment without the fear of bullying, harassment, intimidation and victimisation. At St Clare’s diversity is valued and all members of the school community should feel respected and included, and can be confident that they will receive support in the face of any threats to their safety and wellbeing.
Bullying Definition
Bullying is defined as repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological behaviour that is harmful and involves the misuse of power by an individual or group towards one or more persons (National Safe Schools’ Framework, 2011).
Cyberbullying refers to bullying through information and communication technologies.
Bullying can involve humiliation, domination, intimidation, victimisation and all forms of harassment including that based on gender, race or disability. Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved including bystanders.
Bullying can happen anywhere: at school, travelling to and from school, in sporting teams, between neighbours or in the workplace.
Bullying behaviour can be:
·        verbal e.g. name calling, teasing, abuse, putdowns, sarcasm, insults, threats
·        physical e.g. hitting, punching, kicking, scratching, tripping, spitting
·        social e.g. ignoring, excluding, ostracising, alienating, making inappropriate gestures
·        psychological e.g. spreading rumours, dirty looks, hiding or damaging possessions, malicious SMS and email messages, inappropriate use of camera phones.
Conflict or fights between equals and single incidents are not defined as bullying. Bullying behaviour is not:
·        children not getting along well
·        a situation of mutual conflict
·        single episodes of nastiness or random acts of aggression or intimidation.
Appropriate Terminology
Brisbane Catholic Education promotes the use of positive language that supports the values of the National Safe Schools’ Framework 2011 and the Australian Curriculum (i.e. Civic and Citizenship, Health and Physical Education Curriculum and the General Capabilities).
The terms ‘bullies’ and ‘victims’ are not recommended as appropriate terminology to use when identifying, reporting, recording and responding to incidents of bullying.  More appropriate terms to use may include ‘bullied students’, ‘students who are bullied’, ‘students who bully’ and ‘students who engage in bullying behaviour’.  This will ensure that the unacceptable behaviours are addressed in a manner that supports the individuals involved to learn and demonstrate more acceptable social behaviours without the impact of enduring labels.
Preventative Actions
St Clare’s Primary School utilises a range of education programs and strategies to promote positive behaviours including reporting of bullying and preventing bullying behaviours.
·        The Bullying No Way! Website provides a wide range of information and resources for parents and school communities on managing bullying. For more information visit: www.bullyingnoway.gov.au and go to the parents’ portal.
·        Friendly Schools and Families Program provides a description of individual, group, family and school community level actions to address and prevent bullying in its social context. The program assists with the design, development, implementation, dissemination and evaluation of a social skill building and comprehensive anti-bullying program. Dr Donna Cross and co-workers at Edith Cowan University developed the program.  http://www.friendlyschools.com.au/about.php
·        Ken Rigby www.kenrigby.net Professor Ken Rigby is a national consultant for Australian schools and a leading international authority in bullying and victimisation in schools with more than 100 peer refereed papers and other publications. In his site he has set out to present in brief what is most useful for schools and parents to know about bullying among children and how resources can be accessed to tackle this enduring and troubling problem.
·        Rock and Water Program founded by the Dutch educationalist, Feerk Ykema, is designed to help young people interact and communicate more confidently with others. It makes use of physical exercises that are constantly linked to the acquisition of mental and physical skills. It claims to assist boys and girls to become aware of purpose and motivation in their lives. http://www.yapa.org.au/youthwork/stories/rockandwater.php
·        You Can Do It is a program delivered through a school curriculum to help students set achievable goals and enjoy life. It emphasises the need to have positive thoughts in order to change negative feelings and behaviours. The program covers eight areas: confidence, effort and persistence, happenings, self-acceptance, goal setting, time management and organisation, making friends and handling conflict. www.youcandoit.com.au
·        The National Safe Schools Framework (NSSF) http://www.safeschoolshub.edu.au
Should a case of alleged bullying occur, the Principal or Assistant Principal will be informed immediately and a thorough investigation will take place to establish the facts. If what has happened proves to be bullying an
St Clare’s Primary School adopts the following procedures for responding to bullying incidents:
1.      Investigate the allegation and establish if bullying has occurred.
2.      Students who are bullied
a.      Protect and support the student who has experienced the bullying behavior
b.      Offering an immediate opportunity to talk about the experience with their class teacher, another teacher or member of administration if they choose.
c.       Inform the parents/carers of the student
d.      Document the support measures provided for the student
e.      Review the support to ensure it has been effective for the student to respond positively and have his or her personal safety improved
3.      Students who demonstrate bullying behaviour
a.      Ensure the student alleged to be engaged in bullying behaviour has a complete understanding that their behaviours and communications are considered as bullying and therefore that these must cease
b.      Inform the parents/carers of the student exhibiting bullying behaviour
c.       Document the support measures provided for the student
d.      Review the support to ensure that it has been effective to reduce the student’s bullying behaviour
4.      Students who are bystanders
a.      It is important that all students be taught to recognise bullying, report bullying and have the opportunity to practice safe ways to effectively intervene, maintaining personal safety, when bullying occurs
b.      Students who witness bullying as a bystander may be called upon to contribute to investigations of alleged bullying
Support for students who demonstrate bullying behaviour
1.      The school will respond to incidents in a reasonable, proportionate and consistent manner.
2.      Apply the appropriate support for the student/s who has engaged in bullying behaviour and ensure that there is a positive outcome, adequate follow up and that relationships are restored for all involved.
3.      The parents/guardians/carers of the student who is being bullied, and the student who is bullying, are informed.
4.      The student demonstrating bullying behaviour may be excluded from the playground at break and/or play times for a period of time deemed appropriate. The student will be assisted to reflect on their behavior and consider/learn more appropriate responses.
5.      Students may be placed on an individual Positive Behaviour Support plan and are required to 'check in' with an appropriate member of staff.
6.      If a student does not stop bullying, after been officially warned and supported, an “in school” or “out of school” suspension is considered.


·        Assists in the creation of a positive school climate of respectful relationships where bullying behaviours are not tolerated and cannot flourish.
·        Consults with school ​staff (and if required, Brisbane Catholic Education School Services and Student Wellbeing personnel) and uses professional judgment to determine the appropriate response strategy for a specific behavioural issue. The BCE Student Behaviour Support Guidelines, Regulations and Procedures provide a set of factors to consider in determining the appropriate level of response.
·        Takes responsibility for the implementation of the school’s bullying procedures.
·        Identifies patterns of bullying behaviour and initiates school action to address them.
·        Ensures the development, implementation and evaluation of education and prevention strategies to promote student safety and wellbeing.
·        Responds to incidents of bullying that have been reported to the school quickly and effectively.
·        Ensures that support will be given to any student who has been affected by, engaged in or witnessed bullying behaviour.
 School Staff
·        Support the school in maintaining a safe and supportive learning environment.
·        Model and promote appropriate right relationships and behaviours.
·        Respond in a timely manner to incidents of bullying according to the school’s student behaviour support plan.
·        Support students to be effective bystanders while maintaining their own safety.
·        Know the school's student behaviour support plan and anti-bullying procedures and reporting structures.
·        Promote a school culture where bullying is not acceptable.
·        Teach students to identify, react, report and respond to bullying at school and online.
·        Provide curriculum and pedagogy that supports students to develop an understanding of bullying and its impact on individuals and the broader community.
·        Keep the school informed of concerns around behaviour, their child’s health and wellbeing issues or other matters of relevance.
·        Communicate in a respectful manner with school staff about issues of concern.
·        Support their children to become responsible citizens and to develop responsible online behaviours.
·        Support their children in developing supportive bystander behaviours.
·        Work collaboratively with the school to resolve incidents when they happen.
·        Are respectful towards other students, staff and members of the school community.
·        Understand what bullying is, what is not bullying and how to report bullying.
·        Behave as responsible digital citizens.
·        Communicate with an appropriate adult if bullied or harassed or if they are aware someone else is being bullied or harassed.
·        Learn to be an effective bystander, so that bullying and harassment are discouraged through peer influence​.
National definitions have been developed by the MCEETYA ‘Safe and Supportive School Communities’ management group and used in the National Safe Schools’ Framework (2011), and form part of BCE’s lexicon
Aggression is words or actions (both overt and covert) that are directed towards another and intended to harm, distress, coerce or cause fear.
Definition for Teachers, Parents and Carers:
Bullying is repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological behaviour that is harmful and involves the misuse of power by an individual or group towards one or more persons.
·        Cyber bullying refers to bullying through information and communication technologies.
·        Conflict or fights between equals and single incidents are not defined as bullying.
·        Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved including bystanders.
For use with younger students
Bullying is when someone targets another child again and again and tries to make them feel bad. They say or do many mean and hurtful things, make fun of them a lot, try to stop them from joining in or make others not like them.
Although it isn’t nice if someone says or does something mean to someone else, we don’t necessarily call that bullying. It also isn’t bullying if children of the same age have a one-off argument.
For use with older students
Bullying is when one student (or a group) targets another student again and again to upset or hurt them.  They might hurt them physically, try to socially isolate them or say and do many mean or humiliating things to them. 
Although it’s neither respectful nor acceptable if someone behaves in a mean or aggressive way on one occasion, it isn’t considered bullying. A fight or disagreement between students of equal power or status isn’t considered bullying.
What is NOT Bullying?
There are also some behaviours, which, although they might be unpleasant or distressing, are not bullying:
·        Mutual conflict - which involves a disagreement, but not an imbalance of power. Unresolved mutual conflict can develop into bullying if one of the parties targets the other repeatedly in retaliation.
·        Single-episode acts of nastiness or physical aggression, or aggression directed towards many different people, is not bullying unless it becomes a pattern of behaviours.
·        Social rejection or dislike is not bullying unless it involves deliberate and repeated attempts to cause distress, exclude or create dislike by others.
Conflict is a mutual disagreement, argument or dispute between people where no one has a significant power advantage and both feel equally aggrieved.
·        Conflict is different to bullying because there is always an imbalance of power in bullying. However, poorly resolved conflict situations, especially those involving friendship break-ups or romantic break-ups sometimes lead to either aggression or bullying.
·        Conflict can be a precursor to bullying where there are instances of repeated conflict and where the balance of power changes.
Covert bullying:
Covert bullying is a subtle type of non-physical bullying which usually isn't easily seen by others and is conducted out of sight of, and often unacknowledged by, adults. Covert bullying behaviours mostly inflict harm by damaging another's social reputation, peer relationships and self-esteem. Covert bullying can be carried out in a range of ways (e.g. spreading rumours, encouraging a third party to engage in bullying behaviour, conducting a malicious social exclusion campaign and/or through the use of internet or mobile phone technologies).
Cyber bullying:
Cyber bullying is a term used to describe bullying that is carried out through internet or mobile phone technologies. It is often combined with offline bullying. It may include a combination of behaviours such as pranking (i.e. hang-up calls), sending insulting text messages, publishing someone's private information, creating hate sites or implementing social exclusion campaigns in social networking sites. It is also cyber bullying when a student uses technology to run a multi-step campaign to bully another student (e.g. setting another student up to be assaulted, video recording their humiliation, posting the video-recording online and then sending the website address to others).
It is important to recognize that cyberbullying is a form of bullying, and as such schools should already be equipped to deal with the majority of cyberbullying cases through their existing Whole School Student Behaviour Support Plan.
Cyber safe behaviours:
Cyber-safe behaviours are defined as the safe, respectful and responsible use of internet and mobile phone technology.
Cyber exploitation:
Cyber exploitation is the use of the internet or mobile phone technologies to take advantage of another. Examples include: asking others to send sexually explicit photographs of themselves or publishing such images; stealing someone’s identity and impersonating them (e.g. to subscribe to services or purchase goods and services in their name); using unscrupulous sales tactics (e.g. pop-ups).
Cyber fight:
Cyber fight is conflict that is carried out through the use of mobile phone or Internet technologies.
Cyber harassment:
Cyber harassment is a single episode of aggression (e.g. an insult, threat, nasty denigrating comment) against a specific student carried out through internet or mobile phone technologies.
Cyber risks:
Cyber risks are potential risks that students are exposed to when using Internet or mobile phone technologies. These include: the temptation to misuse technology, cyber exploitation, self-exposure and cyber bullying.
Digital Citizenship:
There are 9 elements in digital citizenship: Access; Commerce; Communication; Literacy; Etiquette; Law; Rights and Responsibilities; Health and Wellness and Security. Please refer to the Australian Curriculum ICT Capability at ACARA.
Discrimination occurs when people are treated less favorably than others because of their race, culture or ethnic origin; religion; physical characteristics; gender; sexual orientation; marital, parenting or economic status; age; ability or disability. Discrimination is often ongoing and commonly involves exclusion or rejection.
E-crimes are illegal actions that are carried out through the use of the internet or mobile phone technology. They include: child exploitation material, fraud, impersonation or identity theft, or sending words or images that cause offence, distress, menace or threaten. Most of these are crimes under Australian federal law but some are also (or only) crimes under some Australian state laws. It is important that students understand that the production or distribution (including texting and posting) of lewd images of themselves or others may constitute child exploitation material with a potential criminal penalty and that some of these activities can be construed as bullying.
Flaming are online “fights” using electronic messages with inappropriate/angry and obscene messages.
Harassment is behaviour that targets an individual or group due to their identity, race, culture or ethnic origin; religion; physical characteristics; gender; sexual orientation; marital, parenting or economic status; age; ability or disability and that offends, humiliates, intimidates or creates a hostile environment. Harassment may be an ongoing pattern of behaviour, or it may be a single act. It may be directed randomly or towards the same person/s. It may be intentional or unintentional (i.e. words or actions that offend and distress one person may be genuinely regarded by the person doing them as minor or harmless). Harassment is unacceptable and needs to be addressed as part of creating a safe school but it would not be considered bullying if any one or more of the following three features were present.
·        It occurred only once and was not part of a repeated pattern.
·        It (genuinely) was not intended to offend, demean, annoy, alarm or abuse.
·        It was not directed towards the same person/s each time.
Online hate websites/Bash boards:
Bash boards are websites (or other online sites) that have been established for the purpose of bullying another student. They contain insulting and contemptuous remarks or images and encourage others to sign on and indicate their hatred of a nominated person and add more disparaging comments.
Sexting is the sending of sexually explicit messages or photographs of oneself or others, using mobile phone technology either by request or spontaneously. It can also include posting of this material online. A student’s current, or potential romantic partner, may be the source of a request to engage in sexting. Such photos may be sent (without permission) to many other people, or used to coerce or blackmail after a relationship break-up.
It is important that students understand that the production or distribution (including texting and posting) of lewd images of themselves or others may constitute child exploitation material pornography with a potential criminal penalty.
Brisbane Catholic Education schools are committed to ensuring the young people in our schools are safe and protected from harm of all kinds, including self-harm such as sexting.
The increasing incidence of sexting illustrates what happens when students lack the ability to make judgements about what constitutes right behaviour. The ability to know right from wrong, and to make sound ethical decisions, does not arise intuitively or happen by accident.
Teaching young people how to make responsible decisions is embodied in the Church’s teaching that “the dignity of the human person implies and requires uprightness of moral conscience” (Catholic Church, 1776). For, “at the heart of all Catholic moral and social teaching is a single fact: the respect given to an individual human person must always be first and must govern every law and action so that the person’s life and dignity is always and everywhere protected and defended” (Kagan, 2012).
Brisbane Catholic Education has a responsibility to intentionally foster the capacity of young people to know how to: respect themselves and others; connect with others in just and loving ways; make decisions based on an informed conscience; and manage the changing states of relationships that in no way diminishes themselves or others. This learning offers young people a moral and ethical framework that can guide them in making responsible, loving and just choices, including how to use and not misuse the technology that they are surrounded with.
Supportive Bystander Behaviour:
Supportive Bystander Behaviour is when the actions of a supportive bystander can stop or diminish a specific bullying incident or help another student to recover from it. A bystander is someone who sees or knows about child maltreatment, harassment, aggression, violence or bullying that is happening to someone else. Supportive bystander behaviours are actions and/or words that are intended to support someone who is being attacked, abused or bullied.
Violence is the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against another person(s) that results in psychological harm, injury or in some cases death. Violence may involve provoked or unprovoked acts and can be a single incident, a random act or can occur over time.

© Brisbane Catholic Education, St Clare’s Yarrabilba (2016)