Anti- CyberBullying Policy
Cyberbullying can be very damaging to individuals, and disruptive to school life. Though new technology brings incredible opportunities for educators as well as young people, it is crucial that everyone knows how to use this technology responsibly and that policies are in place to support and encourage responsible use.
This document is aimed at combating cyberbullying. Cyberbullying includes (but is not limited to) communicating via electronic means with the objective of causing hurt, fear, embarrassment, humiliation, alarm and/or distress to one or more persons. Cyberbullying includes the use of mobile phones and the internet with the objective of upsetting someone. It may take the form of general insults or impersonation, defamation or prejudice-based bullying.
While this policy addresses issues related to the cyberbullying of students (i.e. situations in which one or more students are the victim(s) of bullying), the policy also applies to teaching and other school staff, parents/guardians, and others insofar as measures under the policy relate to them.
This policy applies to activities and events that take place:
• During school time (including break times)
• Going to and from school
• On school tours/trips
• During extra-curricular activities
Gaelcholáiste Chomáinreserves the right to take action against bullying perpetrated outside the school which spills over into the school.
This policy aims to ensure that:
1. Students, staff and parents know about cyberbullying and its effects;
2. Members of the school community have the knowledge, policies and procedures to prevent and, if necessary, to deal with cyberbullying in school or within the school community; and
3. The school monitors the effectiveness of its procedures and amends them where necessary.
Gaelcholáiste Chomáin is committed, to the extent permissible by available resources, to helping members of the school community to enhance their learning experiences through the use of modern technology. The school acknowledges that Information and Communication Technologies can play an important role in supporting learning, but also that they can be misused and can present risks.
The School aims to equip members of the school community with the skills and knowledge needed to use these technologies in a safe and responsible manner and to assisting those that encounter difficulties. The School also recognises that it must be vigilant towards bullying perpetrated outside School which spills over into the School.
Gaelcholáiste Chomáin aims to create a caring environment where those in the school community can work and learn without fear of being bullied. Gaelcholáiste Chomáin aims to educate and inform its students as to how to use communications technology responsibly and about the serious consequences of cyberbullying and will continue to inform and educate its students in these fast changing areas.
• To create a school ethos which encourages students to disclose and discuss incidents of cyberbullying behaviour.
• To raise awareness of cyberbullying as an unacceptable form of behaviour with school management, teachers, students, parents/guardians.
• To ensure that the school’s Social, Personal and Health Education programme raises awareness of the factors associated with cyberbullying behaviour and develops students’ appropriate knowledge, skills and behaviours.
• To take practical actions to prevent incidents of cyberbullying behaviour e.g. to ensure comprehensive supervision and monitoring measures through which all areas of school activity are kept under observation.
• To develop procedures for reporting and recording incidents of cyberbullying behaviour.
• To develop procedures for investigating and dealing with incidents of cyberbullying behaviour.
• To develop a programme of support for those affected by cyber-bullying behaviour and those involved in cyberbullying behaviour.
• To work with, and through, the various local agencies in countering all forms of cyber-bullying and anti-social behaviour.
• The Principal will act, or will appoint a staff member to act, as a Cybersafety Officer, to oversee the practices and procedures outlined in this policy and monitor their effectiveness.
• The Cybersafety Officer will ensure that the school maintains details of agencies and resources that may assist in preventing and addressing bullying.
• Staff will be trained to identify signs of cyberbullying and will be helped to keep informed about the technologies that children commonly use.
• A code of advice will be developed, periodically reviewed and communicated to help students protect themselves from being involved in bullying (as perpetrator or as victim) and to advise them on reporting any incidents.
• Students will be informed about cyberbullying in the course of their education at the School.
• Students and staff are expected to comply with the school’s policy on the use of computers in the School.
• Parents will be provided with information and advice on cyberbullying.
Definition of Cyber-Bullying:
Cyberbullying is aggression conducted by an individual or a group against others - such aggressive behaviour being committed via electronic means or via exclusion from electronic communities or interactions.
Cyberbullying includes (but is not limited to) the communicating via electronic means with the objective of causing hurt, fear, embarrassment, humiliation, alarm and/or distress to one or more persons. Cyberbullying includes is the use of mobile phones and the internet with the objective of upsetting someone. It may take the form of general insults or impersonation, defamation or prejudice-based bullying.
Types of behaviour involved
These guidelines provide assistance in identifying and describing the types of behaviour involved in cyber-bullying. The means of cyber-bullying are constantly changing and the following list of types of bullying behaviour can be expanded in light of the experience of the school community:
• Building websites that are dedicated to making fun out of someone.
• Encouraging other people to join the bullying by publishing someone’s personal details or linking to their social network page.
• Transmitting abusive and/or threatening messages.
Chat rooms and discussion forums
• Posting cruel and/or or abusive comments about someone.
• Sending humiliating and abusive video, photographic or text images/messages.
• Making silent or abusive phone calls.
• Sending abusive text messages.
• Locking victims out of games.
• Spreading false rumours about someone.
• Hacking into someone’s account.
• Sending hacking programs to another person.
• Unauthorised interference with a computer device.
Abusing personal information
• Transmitting personal photos, videos or emails.
Posting blogs where others could see them without the owner of the blog’s permission.
Prevention and Response
The school informs students about cyber bullying and also takes available steps to counter and respond to it.
The following measures represent the core of the School’s anti cyber-bullying activities:
• A positive school culture and climate;
• School-wide approach;
• Effective leadership;
• A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact;
• Anti-bullying policies;
• Consistent recording of reported bullying behaviour;
• Education and training;
• Prevention strategies including awareness raising;
• Intervention strategies.
Gaelcholáiste Chomáin trains its staff to respond effectively to reports of cyber-bullying or harassment and has systems in place to respond to it.
Gaelcholáiste Chomáin schools record all reported incidents of bullying behaviour including anonymous bullying reports.
Gaelcholáiste Chomáinprovides information on cyber-bullying to all members of the school community.
Gaelcholáiste Chomáin engages prevention and awareness raising measures and implements strategies to engage students in addressing problems when they see them.
Gaelcholáiste Chomáin is a “telling school”. If a member of the school community “speaks out” and reports an incident of cyber-bullying appropriate action will be taken.
Gaelcholáiste Chomáin endeavours to block access to inappropriate web sites, using firewalls, antivirus protection and filtering systems and no pupil is allowed to work on the Internet in the Computer Room, or any other location within the school which may from time to time be used for such work, without a member of staff present.
Whilst education and guidance remain at the centre of what we do, Gaelcholáiste Chomáin reserves the right to take disciplinary action (up to and including suspension and expulsion) against those who take part in cyber-bullying.
Gaelcholáiste Chomáin supports victims and, when necessary, will work with the Gardaí and other State agencies to identify those involved in criminal acts and to support victims.
Gaelcholáiste Chomáin will use, as appropriate, the full range of sanctions to correct, punish or remove pupils who bully fellow pupils or harass staff in this way, both inside and outside the school.
All members of the School community are aware they have a duty to bring to the attention of the Principal any example of cyberbullying or harassment that they know about or suspect.
Ratified by the Board of Management: DATE:______________
Other Useful Links
• http://www.webwise.ie An excellent resource that covers much of what schools, teachers and parents need to know in order to deal effectively with cyberbullying. This site is managed by the NCTE.
• SPHE Bullying Prevention- First Steps for Teachers
• The Stay Safe programme http://www.staysafe.ie/
• Secondary Assemblies for Online Safety http://www.optimus-education.com/shop/secondary-assemblies-online-safety-ebook
• ThinkB4Uclick http://www.thinkb4uclick.ie/
• Facebook page on stopping Cyber-bullying
• Bully4uAnti bullying services: http://www.bully4u.ie/
• Olweus Prevention Program: http://www.violencepreventionworks.org
• Cyber Bullying: A Prevention Curriculum
• Bullying Intervention Group(BIG)