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Anti-CyberBullying Policy

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St. Brendan’s National School
Anti-CyberBullying Policy



This Anti-CyberBullying Policy is to be read in conjunction with the school’s Anti-bullying policy.

1. Rationale
This policy serves to outline the procedures followed in St. Brendan's National School to raise awareness of, and to address incidents of cyber-bullying. As a school we believe that our pupils have the right to learn in a supportive, caring and safe environment. Our Anti-bullying Policy was prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the code of behaviour guidelines issued by the NEWB and complies with the requirements of the “Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools” which were published in September 2013. The Board of Management of St. Brendan’s National School has adopted that policy within the framework of the school's overall code of behaviour.

2. Key Principles:
The Board of Management recognises the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact that it can have on the lives of pupils and is therefore fully committed to the following key principles of best practice in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour:

A positive school culture and climate which-
is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity;
encourages pupils to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour in a non-threatening
environment; and
promotes respectful relationships across the school community;
Effective leadership;
A school-wide approach;
A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact;
Implementation of education and prevention strategies (including awareness raising measures) that
build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils and
explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying
Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils;
Supports for staff;
Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies).
On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-cyberbullying policy.


3. Definition of Cyber-bullying
Cyber-bullying is defined as – an aggressive, intentional act, carried out by a group or individual, using electronic forms of contact, repeatedly over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him- or herself. This can include bullying via text messages, mobile telephone cameras, telephone calls, email, chat-rooms, instant messaging, websites and internet devices such as the X-Box and Nintendo DS etc.

Examples of Cyber-bullying
1.
Text messages – can be threatening or cause discomfort. Also included here is ‘Bluejacking’ (the sending of anonymous text messages over short distances using bluetooth wireless technology)

2.Picture/video-clips via mobile phone cameras – images sent to others to make the victim feel threatened or embarrassed

3.Mobile phone calls – silent calls, abusive messages or stealing the victim?s phone and using it to harass others, to make them believe the victim is responsible

4. Emails – threatening or bullying emails, often sent using a pseudonym or somebody else?s name

5.Chat room bullying – menacing or upsetting responses to children or young people when they are in a web-based chat room.

6.Instant messaging (IM) – unpleasant messages sent while children conduct real-time conversations online using MSM (Microsoft Messenger), Yahoo Chat or similar tools/apps such as Snapchat.

7.Bullying via websites – use of defamatory blogs (web logs), personal websites and online personal ‘own web space’ sites such as You Tube, Facebook, Ask.fm, Bebo (which works by signing on in one?s school, therefore making it easy to find a victim) and Myspace – although there are others.

8.Abusive communication on games consoles.


NB: The above list is not exhaustive. See also the extract below from Appendix 1 of the Anti-Bullying Policy

CyberBullying

Denigration
: Spreading rumors, lies or gossip to hurt a person’s reputation
Harassment: Continually sending vicious, mean or disturbing messages to an individual
Impersonation
: Posting offensive or aggressive messages under another person’s name
Flaming
: Using inflammatory or vulgar words to provoke an online fight
Trickery
: Fooling someone into sharing personal information which you then post online
Outing
: Posting or sharing confidential or compromising information or images
Exclusion
: Purposefully excluding someone from an online group
Cyber stalking
: Ongoing harassment and denigration that causes a person considerable fear
for his/her safety

4. Anti-Cyberbullying Strategies at St.Brendan’s National School

1. In St. Brendan’s National School pupils have restricted access to mobile telephones, computers and specific websites: see specific written policies (i.e. Acceptable Use Policy and Anti-Bullying Policy).

2. Access to Facebook (or similar social media sites) is not allowed and parents and children in senior classes are regularly advised of the age restrictions associated with this website.

3. Teachers may use “Webwise” as a resource to tell students about cyber-safety.

4. School computers are regularly updated with antivirus and blocking technologies.

A three-part Complete E-safety Programme, comprising (i) thirteen Internet safety lessons (downloadable from www.webwise.ie), three of which address cyber-bullying; (ii) an in-service session for teachers; and (iii) in conjunction with the National Parents’ Council (NPC), the possibility of a free Internet Safety speaker for parents’ evenings, is also available for use.

Social media such as Facebook, Ask.com and other such sites that may arise are beyond the remit of this school. Facebook in particular states that members should be thirteen years and older. Primary school children are below this age and as a result should not be on this site. The school cannot get involved in incidents that occur on such sites outside of school hours. Such sites are not permitted to be accessed by pupils during school hours and are, in fact, blocked. School authorities may need to get legal advice where a situation is complex.

If it is discovered by / reported to the school that a child/children is/are involved in any form of cyber bullying outside of school hours the staff and/or the Board of Management will, with the agreement of the parents of the victim, inform the parents of the other child/children involved. The Staff/BOM will stay in close contact with parents of all those involved.

8. Further anti-cyber bullying resources can be found on
www.into.ie/cyberbullying-november2011.pdf.

5. Ratification and Implementation
This policy was formulated by the staff of St. Brendan’s National School during the 2013-2014
School year as part of their Croke Park hours. It was subsequently ratified and adopted by the Board of Management on ……………………..(date).

Communication
This policy has been made available to school personnel. It will be published on the school website
and provided to the Parents’ Association. A copy will be made available to the patron and the
Department if requested.

7. Review
This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year.

Signed ______________________________(Chairperson)
Signed ______________________________(Principal)
Date ____________________
Date of next review: ______________________




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