Supporting positive relationships - addressing bullying and harrassment (draft)

Policy and procedure

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1. School mission

At Christ Church Grammar School we seek to live our mission ‘Boys Educated To Know, To Do, To Live With Others and To Be’ (UNESCO 1996)

The quality of the relationships we are able to build between people is central to our purpose. The active support of all members of the school community – students, families and staff – is needed if we are to achieve this aim. We recognise positive behaviour consistently at all year levels through a variety of means; such as rewards in the form of house points, virtues cards, green cards, honour certificates and acknowledgement from tutor and head of house. We value and take pride in the inclusive ethos in our school and expect relationships to display respect and dignity for others.

2. Policy statement

Christ Church Grammar School is committed to child safety. We have zero tolerance to child abuse, and all allegation and safety concerns will be treated very seriously.

The school is committed to providing a safe, supportive, respectful and positive learning environment free from bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence, so student wellbeing and academic outcomes are maximised.

All staff and students are required to treat everyone with dignity, courtesy and respect.

Bullying and harassment are not just about the student engaging in the bullying and the person being victimised. These behaviours are part of a wider social context and require policy and procedures that include both preventative measures and effective intervention strategies.

NB: This policy focuses on the bullying and harassment behaviours exhibited by students towards other students. Claims of adult bullying towards students are treated as child abuse.

3. Rights and responsibilities

Members Rights Responsibilities
All students, teachers, parents and wider school community
  • are safe and supported in the school environment
  • are included
  • are treated with respect
  • participate and contribute to school positive behaviour programs
  • build positive relationships
  • demonstrate respect and tolerance towards others
School leadership
  • is supported in developing the school’s plan to prevent and effectively manage bullying
  • is supported in implementing the strategies and programs under the school’s plan
  • provides leadership in resourcing the school’s plan
  • ensures the school community is informed of the plan
  • implements the plan
  • supports staff to implement the strategies and programs under the plan
Staff
  • feel safe and supported in the workplace
  • are informed of the school’s plan on bullying
  • have access to professional learning in preventing and effectively managing bullying
  • have access to curriculum resources suitable for supporting students in building positive relationships. resilience, safety and bullying prevention (including social/emotional learning)
  • promote and model positive relationships
  • participate in developing the school plan
  • identify and respond to bullying incidents
  • deliver the strategies and programs to students in responding to bullying effectively
  • promote effective bystander behaviour
  • promote social problem-solving
  • use appropriate terminology when referring to bullying and the students involved
Students
  • have access to curriculum that supports the building of resiliency and social skills
  • are informed of the school’s plan on bullying
  • are provided with support to stop bullying
  • understand and value the concepts of inclusion and tolerance
  • identify and respond effectively to bullying
  • seek help for themselves and others as needed
Parents
  • are treated with respect
  • are confident their children are provided with a safe and supportive school environment
  • are provided with access to information on the prevention and management of bullying
  • are informed on the school’s plan and opportunities to participate
  • support and encourage children to treat others with respect and tolerance
  • act in accordance with the school plan if they observe/know about bullying incidents
  • work effectively with the school in responding to bullying
Wider community: including other professionals
  • are strategically included in prevention and bullying management
  • provide support and input into the school’s approach to preventing and managing bullying

4. Unacceptable behaviours

Bullying, harassment and violence are unacceptable behaviours at Christ Church Grammar School.

Bullying is the ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that causes physical and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power over one or more persons.

Bullying can happen in person or online, and it can be obviously (overt) or hidden (covert). Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders.

Single incidents and conflict or fights between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying. However, these conflicts still need to be addressed and resolved.

[adopted from the Australian Government websites studentwellbeinghub.edu.au and bullyingnoway.gov.au]

Cyberbullying is the use of technology (electronic and/or digital media) to bully a person or group with the intent to hurt them socially, physiologically or even physically.

Cyber bullying can occur at different times and places, which may be outside the school day and outside the clearly demarcated campus.

Harassment is the 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).

[adopted from the Australian Government websites studentwellbeinghub.edu.au and bullyingnoway.gov.au]

Sexual harassment is a specific and serious form of harassment. It is unwelcome sexual behaviour, which could be expected to make a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. Sexual harassment can take many different forms and may include physical contact, verbal comments, jokes, propositions, the display of offensive material or other behaviour which creates a sexually hostile learning environment.

Sexual harassment is not behaviour which is based on mutual attraction, friendship and respect. If the interaction is consensual, welcomed and reciprocated, it is not sexual harassment. Not objecting to inappropriate behaviour in the workplace at the time, does not mean that the person(s) are consenting to the behaviour.

Everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation of gender identify, have the same rights and responsibilities in relation to sexual harassment. A single incident is sufficient to constitute sexual harassment – it does not need to be repeated or continuous.

[adopted from the Australian Human Rights Commission website]

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.

[adopted from the Australian Government websites studentwellbeinghub.edu.au and bullyingnoway.gov.au]

Forms of bullying and harassment may include but are not limited to:

Verbal/written

  • “Put downs” or “pay-outs” (to their faces or behind their backs)
  • Spreading rumours
  • Name-calling, teasing and ridiculing others about their appearance, achievements or social, cultural or religious beliefs
  • Sending or delivering of hurtful messages
  • The use of phones (mobile or otherwise), SMS, email, websites or similar means of communicating messages that are designed to harass, intimidate, threaten or impact negatively on the wellbeing of others.

Physical

  • Pushing, hitting, punching, kicking, spitting and other hurtful or disrespectful acts
  • Physically hurting someone under the guise of “horseplay”
  • Making threats to physically harm someone; non-verbal gestures which are designed to intimidate
  • Damaging, removing, hiding or interfering with another’s property.

Covert/emotional

  • Purposely excluding someone from an activity or situation
  • Ignoring someone as if they do not exist
  • Spreading rumours about someone
  • Influencing others not to like or associate with someone
  • Controlling or dominating someone by withdrawing or threatening to withdraw friendship
  • Pressuring others to act against their will – such as by handing over money or possessions.

Cyberbullying

  • abusive texts and emails
  • hurtful messages, images or videos
  • imitating others online
  • excluding others online
  • humiliating others online
  • nasty online gossip and chat.

Sexual harassment

  • Comments about a person’s private life or the way they look
  • Sexually suggestive behaviour, such as leering or staring unwelcome physical touching or familiarity including deliberately brushing up against someone, touching, fondling or hugging
  • Sexually suggestive comments or jokes
  • Displaying offensive screen savers, photos, calendars or objects
  • Repeated unwanted requests to go out
  • Requests for sex
  • Sexually explicit posts on social networking sites
  • Insults or taunts of a sexual nature
  • Intrusive questions or statements about a person’s private life
  • Sending sexually explicit emails or text messages
  • Inappropriate advances on social networking sites
  • Accessing sexually explicit internet sites
  • Behaviour that may also be considered to be an offence under criminal law, such as physical assault, indecent exposure, sexual assault, stalking or obscene communications.

5. Actions students can take if bullied

If you have been bullied, in the first instance you may:

Ignore the bullying/harassment

Avoid an argument and simply walk away. Just because someone is hassling you, does not mean that you must respond to their negativity. Ignoring works best on the first occasion that bullying/harassment occurs.

Talk to the person doing the bullying/harassment

With people you know, such as a classmate, talk about the problem in an assertive, but non-hostile manner. Let the person know that you do not like being treated unfairly. Speak in a calm, clear voice and name the behaviour you dislike. For example, “I don’t like you making fun of my name. I want you to stop bullying me.”

Cool the situation down

Sometimes you can make the situation better by asking a question, such as, “Tell me why you are bullying me?” or make a joke that does not insult the other person. These responses are unexpected and students engaging in bullying may back down because they have not received the response they expected.

If the bullying continues:

  • Report the bullying to someone as soon as possible. Tell your classroom teacher, Director of Pastoral Care, Planning and Co-curricular, tutor, your Head of House, school psychologists, the chaplain, a senior student in your house, Deputy Principal, the staff in health centre, your parents or a friend. Telling someone will help you to deal with the bullying or harassment.
  • When you tell someone about being bullied or harassed, you are being both truthful and strong. The school, your family and friends want to support you and in order to do this they need to know about what is happening to you. The School will work with you to resolve problems and change people’s behaviour so we have a healthy environment. You have the right to feel safe at school.
  • Your report of bullying or harassment will be listened to and the situation will be investigated. The student bullying or harassing will be a part of this process, and assistance will be provided to this student so he learns new and better ways of behaving. In some, but not all, cases the student bullying or harassing will be punished and warned about re-offending. In some cases, the student bullying will be counselled and punishment may be avoided in the first instance. You will be contacted in the following weeks and months to make certain the bullying has stopped.

6. School procedures and consequences

  • Students, parents, members of staff and members of the community are encouraged to report bullying and/or harassment to school staff.
  • The staff member who observed the incident or to whom it was reported will interview all students involved in a bullying/harassment incident for the first time. The staff member will discuss the incident with the students involved, focusing on acceptable behaviour, making correct decisions and clarifying the issues for the students so that all know exactly where they stand in the matter. The staff member will report this to the Deputy Principal or Director of Pastoral care, Planning and Co-curricular.
  • Further incidents will result in a report being compiled by the relevant classroom teacher, Director of Pastoral Care, Planning and Co-curricular or tutor and Head of House, and given to the Head of School.  One of the members of the leadership team will re-interview the students who are identified as being involved, and parents will be informed.  Further counselling may be recommended.
  • Students who continue to be involved in on-going bullying or harassment will be interviewed, together with their parents, by the Head of School. Appropriate action will be taken. This may include mediation, suspension or expulsion.
  • In the case of students who are involved in a singular incident of a very serious nature, consequences along the lines of those in the paragraph above may be brought immediately into play.
  • When cyberbullying has taken place, the offending student’s school network privileges may also be removed.
  • Where there is a resulting impact on the wellbeing of a student at school or on the quality of the relationships between students, or groups of students, instances of cyber bullying will be addressed by the school irrespective of where and when the bullying takes place.

7. What is not bullying?

There are many distressing behaviours that are not examples of bullying even though they may require intervention and management. It is essential that incidents of bullying be clearly differentiated from incidents of mutual conflict or single-episode/random aggression as the strategies for effectively responding vary for each situation. Inappropriate responses may result in matters becoming worse for those involved.

There are three typical negative social situations that are often confused with bullying:

Mutual conflict

In mutual conflict situations there is an initial argument or disagreement between parties at the core of the exchange of negative feelings and behaviours. However, these situations are not characterised by an imbalance of power. Both parties are upset and usually want a resolution to the problem. Mutual conflicts are addressed using mediation procedures.

Social rejection or exclusive friendships

Students often decide not to be friends with someone anymore or they don’t want to play with or associate with that person. Only when social rejection involves deliberate and repeated attempts to cause a specific student distress is it categorised as bullying. Social rejection issues are dealt with through counselling

Single-episode or random acts of meanness, intimidation or violence

Aggressive behaviours are not categorised as bullying if they occur only once or are random in nature, such as when directed towards several different people without reason, and/or are not repetitive. These issues will be addressed using discipline procedures and counselling where this is needed.

8. Review and evaluation

Policy and procedures for addressing bullying and harassment will be regularly monitored and evaluated, while ensuring the privacy of individuals is protected.