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Cyber-Bullying Policy

St. Patrick’s BNS Ringsend

Cyber-Bullying Policy 2014

Introductory Statement

This policy is an expanded expression of the policies which are contained in the Anti- Bullying Policy of St Patrick’s BNS and should be read in conjunction with that document.

Scope of this Policy

This policy applies to the whole school community in their relationships with each other. It is important that all members of the school community are aware that cyber-bullying is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

Rationale for this Policy

(a) The Department of Education and Skills requires schools to have a written policy on bullying

(b) Schools have obligations under the Equal Status Acts, 2000, which relate to discrimination based on nine (9) grounds

Relating this Policy to the Characteristic Spirit of St. Patrick’s B.N.S

St. Patrick’s B.N.S. is committed to providing a caring learning environment which facilitates the nurturing of each pupil’s full educational potential.  Our school aims to be a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of its community.

Objectives of this Policy

General Goals

  • To promote each student’s right to enjoy his learning and leisure free from cyber-bullying, both in the school and while engaged in school-related activities.
  • To ensure every member of staff has the right to enjoy his/her work and association with St Patrick’s BNS.
  • To enable students and staff alike to support each other by reporting all instances of cyber- bullying.
  • To offer help, advice and support to victims of cyber­ bullying.
  • To confront perpetrators of cyber­ bullying and give them guidelines to help control their behaviour.
  • To work with, and through, the various local agencies in countering all forms of cyber­ bullying.

When will the policy apply?

This policy applies throughout the school year, for all school activities at St. Patrick’s BNS and anywhere where our students are under the supervision of staff (trips, tours, sports outings etc).

Where will the policy apply?

St. Patrick’s BNS draws a distinction between incidents which originate from within the school environs and those which occur outside. While the same standards apply at all times and in all places, it needs to be recognised that the school cannot be held responsible for students’ actions when they are not on the premises. St. Patrick’s BNS takes seriously the responsibility of regularly informing students about internet protocol and best practice in the area of internet usage. It values parents’ support in reinforcing best practice in this area.

Key Measures

Definition

Cyber­ bullying is defined as using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), including social network sites, internet, email, etc. to demean, humiliate, exclude, or otherwise undervalue or upset another person through direct or indirect methods.

Examples of cyber­ bullying

  • threats and intimidations,
  • harassments or ‘cyber­ stalking’ (e.g. repeatedly sending unwanted texts or instant messages),
  • exclusion or peer rejection,
  • impersonation
  • unauthorised publication of private information or images

Media used in cyber­ bullying

  • Mobile phones
  • Instant Messenger and Voice over Internet Protocols
  • Chat rooms and message boards
  • Email
  • Webcam
  • Social networking sites
  • Video hosting sites
  • Virtual learning environments
  • Gaming sites, consoles and virtual worlds
  • Blogs and Wikis

Education on the impact of Cyber­ bullying

  • Education on cyber­ bullying is provided at school assemblies, curriculum programmes in Social Personal & Health Education (SPHE), Physical Education (PE) and Religious Education
  • Bystanders can easily become perpetrators, e.g. by passing on or showing to others images designed to humiliate, or by taking part in online polls or discussion groups. Such people may not recognise themselves as participating in bullying, but their involvement has the potential to compound the unhappiness for the person being targeted.
  • Bystanders’ or ‘accessories’ who actively support cyber -bullying are liable to face sanctions themselves.

Advice to students

  • Respect other people.  Always ask permission before you take a photo of someone.
  • If you receive a rude or offensive message or picture about someone else, do not forward it. 
  • Think first before you send. 
  • Protect your password. It is also sensible to give your mobile phone number only to trusted friends.
  • Block the bully. Most responsible websites and services allow you to block or report someone who is behaving badly.
  • Don’t retaliate or reply
  • Save the evidence.
  • Make sure you report incidents of cyber­ bullying.

Links to Other Policies

Other relevant policies include the Child Protection Policy, the Substance Abuse Policy and the Internet Safety Acceptable Use Policy.

Implementation Arrangements, Roles and Responsibilities

Procedures for Noting and Reporting Incidents of Cyber – bullying

  • If a student receives an abusive email or text (or any other form of unacceptable electronic communication), he should report the matter to his teacher as soon as possible. A copy of the email with full headers, plus dates and times, should be saved wherever possible.
  • Depending on the nature of the allegation, the case will be addressed initially by the class teacher. For more serious allegations, the incident should be reported to the Principal and, if deemed necessary to the Gardaí and/or other external agencies.
  • Pupils involved will be interviewed. In all cases, pupils will be warned not to do or say anything that may prejudice their position vis-à-vis the pupil who has been bullied.
  • Outcome of investigation will be communicated on a need to know basis.

Sanctions

  • Parents are informed
  • Behaviour contract
  • Withdrawal of access to ICT while in school
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • In the case of a complaint regarding a staff member, this should be referred immediately to the Principal
  • Where cases, relating to either a student or teacher, remain unresolved at school level, the matter will be referred to the Board of Management.

Roles and Responsibilities

Teachers and ancillary staff are responsible for ensuring that this policy is implemented.

Success Criteria

The success of this cyber­ bullying policy will be evident in the well- being the well­being and happiness of the whole school community in the light of incidents of cyber­ bullying behaviour encountered.

Ratification & Communication

This Anti­ Cyber­ Bullying Policy of St. Patrick’s BNS was ratified by the Board of Management on ________February 10th 2014.________________________________.

Implementation Date

This policy will be uploaded to the school website www.stpatricksbnsringsend.ie and will be effect from _____________1st March 2014__________________.

Monitoring the Implementation of the Policy

Parents/guardians and all members of staff will be involved in monitoring the implementation of this policy. It will be included on agenda for staff meetings at least once a year.

Reviewing and Evaluating the Policy

There will be an annual evaluation to ascertain the level and type of cyber-bullying in the school. A full review of this Policy will be undertaken every three years.

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St Patrick’s BNS
Ringsend, Dublin 4

Tel: 353-1-6606825


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