Curiosity Diversity Engagement
A student is being bullied or victimised when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other students.
The meaning of the expression negative actions must be specified further. It is a negative action when someone intentionally inflicts, or attempts to inflict, injury or discomfort upon another.
Negative actions can be carried out by words, threatening, taunting, teasing, and calling names. It can also be physical: hitting, punching, kicking, pinching, restraining etc.… It is also possible to carry out negative actions without the use of words or physical contact, such as making faces, dirty gestures, intentionally excluding, or refusing to comply with another person’s wishes.
Dealing with potential/actual cases of mobbing is an extremely multi-layered problem. In light of this any policy that tries to address mobbing by following a set procedure will ultimately be unfit for purpose. Instead we should rely on our own professional training, and judgement, to deal uniquely with each instance, on a case by case basis.
At CCS we are united in the belief that the most important part of a child’s school life is to feel safe, respected and seen. The consequences of mobbing, as well know, can be extremely serious and stay with the victim throughout their life. It is therefore our pledge to do everything we can to ensure both that it does not happen, and that when it does, to recognise it and work towards a swift resolution.
The question is of course how does one do that?
It is our strategy that we treat cases in a holistic manner. That we don’t just focus on the victim, or the bully, but that we look at every part of how that class works, and communicates. In other words, we put focus on the class dynamic in every sense.
A number of strategies can be employed to establish this dynamic:
- Individual conversations
- Class meetings
- Group activities
- Parent meetings
- Focussed supervision in breaks
- Cooperative learning
Once an accurate, non emotional, picture has been established, a relevant strategy can then be put in place. Clearly, this will vary largely depending on the circumstances, and the nature of the class dynamic.
Often, in our experience, the key to a long lasting solution is for the class, teachers and parents, to all see their role in the situation, and through becoming aware act in positive ways to alter the situation. For example, most children do not bully. Each class has a silent majority that neither support, nor condemn, bullying. To empower the group to take an active role can be a very powerful tool in redefining everyone’s role in the class, the victim’s and bully’s included.
As a school, and as a team, it is vital that we work together, both with regard to:
- Identifying students who are cause for concern.
- Working in a coordinated manner to address cases of bullying.
For parents wishing a fuller picture of some of the many strategies we employ, I would direct them to” Bullying at School” written by Dan Olweus.
Possible Signs for teachers
- Teased in a nasty way
- Get pushed around and not able to defend themselves
- Involved in quarrels/fights from which they try to withdraw (crying)
- Have their belongings taken, damaged or scattered around.
- Excluded from peer group. Do not seem to have a single friend in peer group
- Are chosen last in team games
- Try to stay close to the teacher during breaks
- Have difficulty speaking up in class and give an anxious and insecure impression
- Appear distressed, anxious and insecure expression
- Deterioration in school work
Parents have an incredibly important role too. We urge parents to contact us if they have a suspicion that bulling is taking place. Whether, this be with their own child, or that of another. It cannot be stated enough the importance of acting quickly in such matters, before roles begin to get set. Please, do not wait, even if it just a suspicion, or a sudden change in behaviour with your child, we would ask you to contact us. Our instincts, as parents, are often good when it comes to such matters.
We would also stress that you take great care in contacting other parents. There will be a time for that, but our experience has taught us again, and again, that this is almost always a mistake, emotions are too high, and communication is affected accordingly.
Possible Signs of Bullying (victim at home)
- Torn clothing
- Damaged books
- Injuries without a natural explanation
- Does not bring classmates home
- May not have a single good friend
- Reluctant to go to school in the morning, poor appetite, repeated headaches, stomach pains.
- Chooses an illogical route to go to school
- Restless sleep with bad dreams
- Loses interest in school work, lower grades
- Appears unhappy, sad, depressed, show unexpected mood shifts with irritability and sudden outbursts of temper
As stated earlier we do not accept bullying. No child should feel scared to come to school. As a private school we are in control of which students attend our school.
However, the expulsion of a child is a last resort. It is a statement that we have failed, and more importantly we have failed to help the bully, who often is in just as much need of help than the victim.