DISCIPLINE & ANTI-BULLYING POLICY Sacred Heart Primary School Cabramatta Policies and practices at Sacred Heart Primary School are based on procedural fairness. Corporal punishment is strictly prohibited by school and non-school persons. Discipline Policy Sacred Heart’s discipline policy and practice are closely linked with our pastoral care policy. Our aim is to facilitate the development of responsible self-discipline among students, and to promote the well-being and good order of the community. Our discipline policy reflects: • gospel values and a Christian vision of pastoral care • a commitment to justice • an expectation of forgiveness • opportunity to learn from mistakes • anti-bullying strategies Disciplinary Practices Our disciplinary practices are not merely punitive action. They are real attempts to foster responsibility for actions. They offer the possibility to change and heal destructive behaviours. Our practices are based on Pastoral Care Guidelines for Catholic Schools and our Pastoral Care Policy. Harassment Sacred Heart is committed to the development of the school as a faith and educating community which: • takes as its foundation the person and Gospel of Jesus Christ • integrates faith with life and contemporary culture • fosters the dignity and development of each person In the light of this commitment, we work together to create a culture and environment characterised by safety, trust, mutual respect and life-giving relationships. In our communities there is no place for harassment in any form. Harassment is both unlawful and unacceptable in schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney. However, harassment may occur from time to time. On these occasions, our response will be based on the vision and mission of Catholic schools and will follow the pastoral care practices of our school. The desired outcome of the process will be the resolution of the complaint while maintaining the dignity and self worth of the individuals involved. Defining Harassment Harassment is any behaviour which is not invited and not welcome and which may occur because of a person’s sex, race, religion, age, marital status, disability or sexuality. Harassment may be explicitly directed at an individual or group or occur through the creation of a hostile environment. Harassment offends, upsets, humiliates or scares another person. It makes the school uncomfortable and unpleasant. Harassment often occurs when power is used inappropriately. Harassment is not always intended – acts or behaviour which some see as amusing or trivial may hurt or offend another. It is sufficient to have felt offended, humiliated or intimidated by the behaviour. Harassment can include: • personally offensive verbal comments • unwelcome notes, drawings or emails • derogatory comments about a person’s appearance • breaking the ‘hands off’ rule • the malicious spreading of rumours • a pattern of deliberately ignoring or excluding a person • racist or homophobic comments Bullying Definition: Bullying behaviours are about an imbalance of power where there is deliberate intent to cause harm or distress. It is not considered to be bullying if people of equal power have a difference of opinion. Bullying behaviours impact on the person being bullied; those doing the bullying and those looking on. Bullying incidents can be isolated or repeated. Peer Support Foundation (2006) How do we prevent bullying at Sacred Heart? Ultimately, strategies to prevent bullying will only be effective when placed within the context of a culture in which respect for others is consistently taught and demonstrated across all facets of school life. The Christian values, which represent the antithesis of bullying, must be continually affirmed in words and actions. Strategies to prevent bullying will fall within the following broad categories: • ‘Moral education’ in the context of Religious Education, liturgies and assemblies where the value of the individual is affirmed and the importance of qualities such as compassion, kindness, reconciliation, tolerance, respect and justice are encouraged. • ‘Across the curriculum’ values teaching (eg looking at the problem of prejudice within the context of a text or a lesson). • Clear statements from staff about the nature and non-acceptance of bullying. • Teaching specifically related to bullying in the PDHPE curriculum. • Teaching more positive ways of resolving conflict, such as working co-operatively within the classroom and playground. • Provision of activities, which develop a culture of caring for one another and acknowledging the worth and contribution of others and which help to develop compassion. • Appropriate provision of counselling or other support services. • Provision of support for parents through information seminars, support networks etc. The Role of Teachers: • Act as role models of caring and tolerant behaviour • Listen to reports of bullying • Protect the victim from further harm • Act to stop the behaviour recurring • Raising awareness through the curriculum The Role of Students: • Students who are being bullied must speak to their teacher and give him/her full details of the event • Students who witness the bullying will intervene if they are able or immediately seek teacher assistance if they can’t intervene • Students can take the three step assertiveness strategy to deter bullies: 1. “Stop it I don’t like it!” 2. “Stop it or I’ll tell the teacher!” 3. Tell the teacher. The Role of Parents: Parents play a key role in the support of both the victims and the perpetrators of bullying. The school must work in partnership with parents in the disciplinary process. Parents can assist in the following ways: • Let your child know that bullying in any form is never acceptable. Listen to your child and take their feelings and fears seriously. • Make sure your child knows that being bullied is not their fault. • Avoid calling your child names. • Avoid bullying tactics around your child, so they don’t get mixed messages. • If the bullying is verbal, help your child develop the skills to ignore it so that the bully does not get the satisfaction of a reaction. Practise the way to walk past looking confident with head up. Practise a variety of quick (not insulting) responses – for example ‘that’s your opinion’. • Avoid the urge to take everything into your own hands unless absolutely necessary, as this will make your child feel less in control. • Help your child feel good about the other things in his/her life. Nurture their self-esteem. • When it is clear that your own child is the bully, recognise the seriousness of the issue and support the school in implementing this policy. Action: • The school will keep adequate records of all bullying incidents. • The school will work with the parents of the victim to assist their son/daughter to avoid being bullied in the future. • The school will initially assist the bully to change his/her behaviour. • Resistance to behaviour change and repeated offending will lead to consequences ranging from detention to missing out on special events (e.g. excursions). • The school will work with the parents of the bully to establish joint strategies for behaviour Responding to Inappropriate Behaviour and Serious Offences Teachers are to ensure that students know and understand the Rights and Responsibilities as indicated in the Pastoral Care Policy and understand the consequences for acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. During the annual review of the Pastoral Care and Discipline Policy staff will discuss the Right and Responsibilities and develop playground rules and positive and negative consequences to help children keep the Right and Responsibilities. At the beginning of each year grade teachers and students will meet to agree upon classroom rules based on the Right and Responsibilities and consequences for classroom behaviour. These will be approved by the Principal/Assistant Principal and displayed in the classrooms. Class meetings and grade meetings will be held when needed. Reminders and affirmations will be given and children will be given the opportunity to discuss rules and reflect upon the reason for a rule. Constant disregard for classroom rules should always be brought to the attention of the Principal or Assistant Principal so that appropriate action can be taken. The teacher should also arrange to meet with the parent/carer and work with them to affect change. If the inappropriate behaviour continues a further meeting would be scheduled with the Principal/Assistant Principal present. A behavioural plan would be developed followed by ongoing communication between teacher and parent/carer. In some cases professional counselling may be recommended as a suitable option. Cyberbullying Defining Cyberbullying Cyberbullying can include, but is not limited to, the items listed below. This list outlines the types of cyber behaviour that is not consistent with the Schools’ ICT Acceptable Usage Agreement Form. • The use of any electronic form, e.g. email, text message, chat room and or website to use obscene language, mock, tease or harass another person directly or anonymously. • The use of another person’s email address to use obscene language, mock, tease or harass another person directly or anonymously. • To impersonate another person in order to use obscene language, mock, tease or harass another person directly or anonymously. • To publish anything true or untrue about another person directly or anonymously on the world wide web. The document ‘Strategies for Dealing with Cyberbullying’ is to be used when dealing with cyberbullying. (CEO Website).