Bullying consists of repeated aggressive behavior whether by word, physical action, online or otherwise, directly or indirectly applied by one or more persons against another person or persons, which undermines the individual’s right to personal dignity.
Every person in the college has the right to be treated with equal courtesy, dignity and respect, irrespective of disability, gender, age, religion, nationality, race, sexual orientation, family background or membership of the travelling community.
Scope of the Policy
DCFE follows and abides by the Equality Act of 2004. This policy forms part of a group of policies, which include the Code of Behaviour, the policy on Acceptable Use of ICT in the College, and the Inclusion policy. This policy fully complies with the requirements of circular 45/2013 Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post–Primary Schools.
Types of Behaviour Deemed to be Inappropriate
- Verbal/written abuse, anonymous or otherwise. This includes name calling, rumour, derogatory/personal comments, gossip, innuendo, ridicule and aggressive or obscene language directed towards or about another person. It also includes racist comments and comments regarding a person’s sexuality.
- Intimidation of any sort.
- Physical abuse or threatened abuse on a person or their personal possessions. This includes aggressive use of body language.
- Cyber bullying – the misuse of technology to intimidate or threaten another person. (Includes emails, texts, phonecalls, pictures/images, website postings/social networking sites)
- Exclusion and isolation of an individual/individuals.
Isolated or once-off incidents of intentional negative behavior, including a once-off offensive or hurtful text message or other private messaging, do not fall within the definition of bullying and should be dealt with, as appropriate, in accordance with the College’s Code of Behaviour. However, placing a once-off hurtful or offensive public message, image or statement on a social network site or other public forum, where that image or statement can be viewed or repeated by other people will be regarded as bullying behavior. This includes the unauthorized capture or posting of images or video footage. Negative behavior that does not meet this definition of bullying will be dealt with in accordance with the College’s Code of Behaviour.
This Policy Applies
On College premises
On any College based activity.
The Procedures for implementing this policy may be divided into 2 sections:
1. Preventative Element
- The College strives to promote a positive culture and climate, which is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity.
- This includes raising awareness of the College’s anti-bullying policy by putting the policy on the College’s website and in the student handbook. It also includes raising awareness of the importance of taking care of mental health.
- Students and staff are encouraged to report inappropriate use of IT.
- Where appropriate, students may be provided with tools and strategies to deal with any unwelcome behavior.
2. Responsive Element
- (i) Informal Process
- Students and staff are encouraged to report any incidents of bullying. Incidents may be reported to the Mentor teacher or to any other member of staff whom the student trusts. A student may ask a friend to report it if they feel unable to do so themselves. A student experiencing bullying but who does not wish to make a complaint may prefer to talk to someone in confidence. The college counsellor is available to all students. Complaints regarding a staff member should be reported to the Deputy Principalor the Principal.
- The Deputy Principal will interview the people involved separately and sensitively to ascertain what is happening and to consider whether or not they fall within the definition of bullying. All interviews will be conducted with due regard to the rights of all people involved. The people involved may be invited to write down relevant details. A report will be compiled so that the incident is correctly recorded.
- Where appropriate, the alleged victim and alleged perpetrator will be spoken to separately and encouraged to solve the problem using mediation (with consent of both parties).
- Where necessary, the alleged perpetrator will be spoken to regarding the effects of their behavior, given a verbal warning and a verbal agreement regarding their future behaviour will be sought. Where appropriate, a fair outcome will be suggested e.g. an apology or return of property.
- Where necessary a written agreement from the student regarding their future required behaviour may be sought.
- (ii) Formal Process
- Where necessary, the complainant may make a written complaint, signed, dated and given to the Deputy Principal. Details of alleged incidents, including dates and names of witnesses should be given where possible.
- The alleged perpetrator should be notified in writing that a formal allegation of bullying has been made. He/she should be given the opportunity to respond to the complaint in writing.
- The investigation should be completed as quickly as possible. The Deputy Principal will present her findings to the Principal who will decide whether or not the complaint of bullying has been established, and will decide on appropriate action. The Principal’s decision will be communicated in writing to both parties.
- If the complaint is upheld, it is a disciplinary matter, will be considered a serious breach of the College’s Code of Behaviour and will be dealt with accordingly.
- If the complaint is not upheld, no further action will be taken.
- If a complaint is found to have been maliciously made, this will be considered a serious breach of the college’s Code of Behaviour and disciplinary action will be taken.
- The complainant will be offered support in the college by the counselling service and the student’s Mentor and Deputy Principal will monitor the situation on an ongoing basis with them.
- Records of Bullying incidents will be kept in the College for five years after all involved in the incident have left the college.
- This policy and its implementation will be reviewed every year.