Bullying & Racism
Life for everyone at The Clere is more pleasant and runs more smoothly if we are all polite, courteous and show consideration for others.
Bullying is any behaviour towards someone that deliberately puts him or her under stress and makes them unhappy.
Bullying is wrong. Everyone has the right to feel safe from intimidation. Bullying prevents people doing their best at school and can make them afraid to come to school. No one should ever feel bad about reporting bullying. If bullying is reported the victim has the right to expect something to be done about it.
Bullying at The Clere School
Bullying happens in any community of children and young people. Whilst we do not believe bullying is a major problem at the Clere School, we recognise that it happens and that any incident of bullying must be dealt with.
Bullying can happen anywhere: in the playground, in corridors, in classrooms and on the buses. It can also take place through the misuse of ICT technology commonly known as cyberbullying. Cyber bullying by its nature will often take place outside the school site and outside the school day. It is useful for the school to be informed about cyber bullying in these circumstances and the school would advise parents to contact the police. Bullying is particularly difficult to cope with on the bus because there is no supervision by teachers and no way of escaping from the bully. Bullying is often part of the break-up of friendships but people can also be bullied by someone who does not know them.
There is no such thing as a typical bully. Bullies may also be aggressive and unco-operative in lessons, but many of the people who bully are positive in lessons and popular with teachers. Most people are bullied by other pupils in their year group. Both boys and girls bully and can bully members of the opposite sex. At The Clere, bullying appears to lessen as pupils get older.
Bullying can be physical or verbal. It can be based on gestures such as staring, or involve isolating someone, pretending to ignore them or spreading rumours.
Bullying is part of the world of young people. This means that teachers and parents do not always understand how young people respond to bullying. This policy tries to give some guidelines to adults on how to deal with bullying. It also recognises that the pupils in the school have a central role to play in preventing and dealing with bullying.
Bullying thrives on secrecy and depends on people turning a blind eye. At The Clere School we are committed to reporting bullying and taking action to stop it.
What to do if a young person is being bullied
If as a young person you are being bullied you should:
- Tell someone you trust about what is happening. This could be a friend, a teacher, a parent or an older pupil. Often their moral support will give you the courage to stand up to the bully.
- If you are being cyber bullied you will need to tell your parents.
- If the bullying continues, report it to an adult or a Student Leader. They will help you decide what you want to do about it. They will not take action without your agreement unless they are worried about your safety.
- Let the bully know what it is you do not like and tell them to stop.
- Warn them that you will take action if they do not stop.
- Try to stand up to the bully.
Who is responsible for dealing with bullying?
Everyone in the school has a responsibility to deal with bullying. Bullying thrives on secrecy. If you see someone being bullied you should stick up for them, especially if there are no teachers around to help. If you are aware of serious or persistent bullying, you should tell someone.
Reports of bullying will always be taken seriously by teachers and investigated. Even if the victim has behaved in a way that has provoked the attack, the bully is still in the wrong. The action taken should reflect this.
The role of Student Leaders
The school appoints and trains senior pupils to act as Student Leaders. Student Leaders can do three things
- Provide moral support for victims of bullying and offer advice to them of how to stand up to the bully.
- Keep a protective eye on the victim at break times or on the school bus.
- Find out from witnesses what has been happening and talk to the bully about this. Student Leaders cannot punish bullies although they can recommend action to the bully’s year head.
When bullying is reported to teachers Pupil voice is an important means of understanding bullying. Pupils at The Clere have the opportunity to discuss this issue through tutor time, PSHCE and School Council. Clere School pupils have identified this list of dos and don’ts for teachers in dealing with bullying.
- Be calm and approachable
- Listen carefully to what is said.
- Take it seriously, reassure the victim that the problem will be sorted.
- Think about how you would feel in the victim’s position.
- Put the needs of the victim first.
- Ask the victim what he or she wants to be done. Help him or her to take control of the situation. This is part of the solution.
- Focus any action on the bully not on the victim.
- Talk to other people to try to find evidence of what is happening, but remember witnesses sometimes take sides or are afraid to tell the truth.
- Remember that taking action sometimes makes bullying worse to start with. You will need to be ready to take follow up action quickly.
- Realise that it often takes time to solve a bullying problem. Always follow up with the victim the next week and regularly after that to check how things are.
- Make sure the victim knows to come back and tell you if the problem continues.
- Make other teachers aware of the problem.
- Ensure that all relevant parents are informed of the problem and the steps taken to deal with it.
- Simply tell the bully and victim to make up.
- Jump in too quickly without knowing the whole story.
- Try to solve it by shouting at the bully.
- Think it is easy to solve bullying.
- Get two big groups together to try to solve the problem.
- Make the victim face the bully if he/she does not want to do this.
The Clere School community rejects the notion of “no blame”. Placing the bully in isolation at break and lunchtime removes him/her from most of situations in which bullying can take place. The bully may also be removed from lessons if the bullying is serious or is happening in lessons. Pupils who bully on the school bus may be withdrawn from the bus for at least one week. Other sanctions which could be applied include after-school detentions. If the bully continues to cause problems parents should be informed and involved in the discussion of what action to take. Withdrawal of privileges at home may be used as a punishment.
In severe cases the bully will be excluded from school. Permanent exclusion will be used if all other strategies fail to stop a pupil bullying and
there is concern for the safety and well-being of other pupils.
Bullies often have low self-esteem. Sometimes they are having problems coping with something that is going on in their lives outside school. They may need help to overcome their tendency to bully.
The role of parents
Parents often notice signs that their son or daughter is being bullied. He/she may be upset on returning home, become withdrawn, and appear reluctant to go to school.
He/she may come home with bruises, torn clothing or with possessions missing.
Parents should always let the school know if they suspect their child is being bullied, normally through contacting the Form Tutor. Any action taken will follow the guidelines of the school policy and will only follow discussion with the victim about what he/she wants to happen. Children will often ask their parents not to report the problem. The best thing a parent can do is to encourage their child to report the problem to a teacher or counsellor.
Giving the victim control of the situation is part of giving them the confidence to stand up to the bully.
The school expects the parents of bullies to work with teachers to resolve the problem. Supporting your child does not mean always taking his/her side.
We expect parents to encourage their children to find non-aggressive ways of dealing with problems.
In school we always encourage pupils to find non-aggressive ways of dealing with problems. We also seek to create a culture in which pupils consider the needs and feelings of other people and in which people feel comfortable to express their opinion.
These themes occur throughout our curriculum and through assemblies and the tutorial programme.
All bullying incidents and actions taken are to be noted by the relevant Tutor.
Pastoral Manager will be informed as appropriate.
What is cyberbullying, exactly?
“Cyberbullying” is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor.
Forms of cyberbullying
- Instant Messaging/Text Messaging Harassment;
- Stealing Passwords;
- Web Sites;
- Sending Pictures through E-mail and Cell Phones;
- Internet Polling;
- Interactive Gaming;
- Sending Malicious Code;
- Sending Porn and Other Junk E-Mail and IMs;
Why do children cyberbully each other?
Who knows why children do anything? When it comes to cyberbullying, they are often motivated by anger, revenge or frustration. Sometimes they do it for entertainment or because they are bored and have too much time on their hands and too many tech toys available to them. Many do it for laughs or to get a reaction. Some do it by accident, and either send a message to the wrong recipient or didn’t think before they did something. The Power-hungry do it to torment others and for their ego. Revenge of the Nerd may start out defending themselves from traditional bullying only to find that they enjoy being the tough guy or gal. Mean girls do it to help bolster or remind people of their own social standing. And some think they are righting wrong and standing up for others.
Because their motives differ, the solutions and responses to each type of cyberbullying incident has to differ too. Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” when cyberbullying is concerned. Only two of the types of cyberbullies have something in common with the traditional schoolyard bully. Experts who understand schoolyard bullying often misunderstand cyberbullying, thinking it is just another method of bullying. But the motives and the nature of cybercommunications, as well as the demographic and profile of a cyberbully differ from their offline counterpart.
What can I do to help?
A fifth of parents think that mobile bullying isn’t common or never happens, despite the fact that a similar proportion of young people have experienced it.
As with face-to-face bullying, it’s not unusual for young people suffering cyberbullying to keep silent about it.
With cyberbullying, there’s the added apprehension about internet access or their mobile phone – often their most treasured possession – being removed from them altogether if they own up to having a problem.
Ensure as a parent you are fully aware of all technologies in the young person’s possession that have the connectivity capable of being exploited by cyber bullying (PSPs, Nintendo DS etc have internet capabilities).
Cyberbullying in all its forms should be stopped. No-one should be subjected to it, least of all your child.
Don’t wait for something to happen before you act. Make sure your child understands how to use these technologies safely and knows about the risks and consequences of misusing them.
Advise your child to take 5 – never write on the internet or send a text in anger.
Make sure they know what to do if they or someone they know are being cyberbullied. Keep a copy of abusive messaging for proof.
Encourage your child to talk to you if they have any problems with cyberbullying. If they do have a problem, contact the mobile network or the
Internet Service Provider (ISP) to do something about it. If it is outside school hours you may want to let the school know and if you continue to be concerned you may want to contact the police.
Parental control software can limit who your child sends e-mails to and who he or she receives them from. It can also block access to some chat rooms.
Remember that the roles of bully and victim tend to be revolving in cyber space – so look at the history!
Make sure your child knows that you will confiscate mobile phones and if necessary the keyboard if they are found to be harassing others.
Visit www.nch.org.uk for more information on Internet safety.