ANTI–BULLYING: PROMOTING SAFETY, POSITIVE BEHAVIOUR AND SOCIAL INCLUSION

The Diocesan Schools System opposes all forms of bullying.  

All students, their families and employees within the Diocesan Schools System (DSS), have the right to a safe and supportive learning environment. The dignity of the human person is inherent to the ministry of Catholic education and all members of the school community share the responsibility to teach, foster, promote and encourage positive student behaviour.

Anti-Bullying Policy 

Catholic schools in the Broken Bay Diocesan Schools System (DSS) have an Anti-Bullying Policy for the prevention and management of bullying.  All schools are required to provide learning experiences that support students to develop an understanding of school behavioural expectations (rules), bullying, the role of the bystander and its impact on individuals and the broader community.

Definition of Bullying

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. Bullying can involve: humiliation, domination, intimidation, victimisation and all forms of harassment including that based on sex, race, disability, sexual orientation or practice of religion. Bullying of any form, or for any reason, can have long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders.

Cyber-bullying refers to bullying through the use of information and communication technologies by an individual or group that is intended to harm others, or is undertaken recklessly without concern for its impact on others.

Types of Bullying

Bullying can happen anywhere: at school, travelling to and from school, in sporting teams, or in the workplace. Bullying behaviour can be:

  • verbal, eg name calling, teasing, abuse, putdowns, sarcasm, insults, threats
  • physical, eg hitting, punching, kicking, scratching, tripping, spitting
  • social, eg ignoring, excluding, ostracising, alienating, making inappropriate gestures
  • psychological, eg spreading rumours, hiding or damaging possessions, malicious SMS and email messages, inappropriate use of communication technology/mobile devices.

Conflict or fights is NOT Bullying

Conflict or fights between equals and single incidents are not defined as bullying. Bullying behavior is not:

  • children not getting along well
  • a situation of mutual conflict such as, teasing or disagreement
  • a single episodes of hurtful words or actions, or random acts of aggression  or intimidation.

 

Duty of Care

Every teacher and school authority have a duty of care to take reasonable measures to protect students from risks of harm that are reasonably foreseeable.

If Your Child is Being Bullied What Can You Do?

Parent support can include:

Stay calm and positive - It can be an emotional time when your child is being bullied.  Try to identify a solution with your child and do some research so that you are informed on how to best support your child.

Talk with the school - You do not need your child’s permission to talk to the school.  A shared, consistent and co-operative approach by both the home and school is important.

Keep your child safe - You should contact the school immediately if your child feels unsafe.

Talk with your child - Encourage your child to talk about what happened.  Tell your child that reporting the bullying is okay.  Assure your child that it is not their fault.  Do not advise your child to fight with the other child. 

Encourage your child to:

  • try to act unaffected and ignore it
  • say 'No!' firmly
  • use other strategies to diffuse the situation (eg. agreeing in an offhand way with the bullying when they say offensive or negative things - this is known as fogging)
  • talk to the teacher or another staff member, eg school counsellor
  • act confidently even if they don't feel it.

Seek help for your child – Discuss with the school a referral to the counselling service. The parent or child can contact the Kids Helpline on  1800 55 1800.