Anti-Bullying Policy

     Full Compliance

In accordance with the requirements of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 and the code of behaviour guidelines issued by the NEWB, the Board of Management of Bishop Murphy Memorial School has adopted the following anti-bullying policy within the framework of the school’s overall code of behaviour. This policy fully complies with the requirements of the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools which were published in September 2013. This policy incorporates the behaviour the behaviour of parents as well as the staff and students of the school.
The Board of Management recognises the very serious nature of bullying and the negative impact that it can have on the lives of pupils and is therefore fully committed to the following key principles of best practice in preventing and tackling bullying behaviour:

2. Key Principles of best practice

(a) A positive school culture and climate which
• is welcoming of difference and diversity and is based on inclusivity;
• encourages pupils to disclose and discuss incidents of bullying behaviour in a non-threatening environment; and
• promotes respectful relationships across the school community;
(b) Effective leadership
(c) A school-wide approach
(d) A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact
(e) Implementation of education and prevention strategies (including awareness raising measures) that-
• build empathy, respect and resilience in pupils; and
• explicitly address the issues of cyber-bullying and identity-based bullying including in particular, homophobic and transphobic bullying;
• effective supervision and monitoring of pupils;
(f) Effective supervision and monitoring of pupils
(g) Supports for staff
(h) Consistent recording, investigation and follow up of bullying behaviour (including use of established intervention strategies); and
(i) On-going evaluation of the effectiveness of the anti-bullying policy.

3. Definition of bullying:

In accordance with the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools bullying is defined as follows:
Bullying is unwanted negative behaviour, verbal, psychological or physical conducted, by an individual or group against another person (or persons) and which is repeated over time.
The following types of bullying behaviour are included in the definition of bullying:
• deliberate exclusion, malicious gossip and other forms of relational bullying,
• cyber-bullying and
• Identity-based bullying such as homophobic bullying, racist bullying, bullying based on a person’s membership of the Traveller community and bullying of those with disabilities or special educational needs.
Isolated or once-off incidents of intentional negative behaviour, including a once-off offensive or hurtful text message or other private messaging, do not fall within the definition of bullying and should be dealt with, as appropriate, in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour.
However, in the context of this policy, placing a once-off offensive or hurtful public message, image or statement on a social network site or other public forum where that message, image or statement can be viewed and/or repeated by other people will be regarded as bullying behaviour.
Negative behaviour that does not meet this definition of bullying will be dealt with in accordance with the school’s code of behaviour.

4. Who is responsible?

The relevant teacher(s) for investigating and dealing with bullying is (are) as follows:
• Class Teacher: who has primary care for the child and deals with the initial allegation/suspicion of bullying behaviour.
• Principal: where bullying behaviour is suspected by the class teacher, the principal should be informed.

5. Strategies for Education and prevention

The education and prevention strategies (including strategies specifically aimed at cyber-
bullying, homophobic and transphobic bullying) that will be used by the school are as follows:


• A school-wide approach to the fostering of respect for all members of the school community.
• The promotion of the value of diversity to address issues of prejudice and stereotyping, and highlight the unacceptability of bullying behaviour.
• The fostering and enhancing of the self-esteem of all our pupils through both curricular and extracurricular activities. Pupils will be provided with opportunities to develop a positive sense of self-worth through formal and informal interactions.
• Whole staff professional development on bullying to ensure that all staff develops an awareness of what bullying is, how it impacts on pupils’ lives and the need to respond to it-prevention and intervention.
• Supervision and monitoring of classrooms, corridors, school grounds, school tours and extra- curricular activities. Non-teaching and ancillary staff will be encouraged to be vigilant and report issues to relevant teachers.
• Development and promotion of an Anti-Bullying code for the school-to be included in student journals and displayed publicly in classrooms and in common areas of the school.
• Visual cues will reinforce anti-bullying and positive behavioural messages delivered in class – commercial posters, pupil-designed posters, art, essays or pupil commentaries on anti-bullying workshops. These will be displayed around the school.
• Fostering a school culture which is respective of all differences, including children with special education needs (SEN), will incorporate social inclusion measures to prevent isolation and encourage integration, developing social skills of SEN pupils and reinforce and reward good behaviour in all pupils
• The implementation of regular whole school awareness measures e.g. annual “Friendship Week”
• Encourage a culture of telling, with particular emphasis on the importance of bystanders. In that way pupils will gain confidence in ‘telling’. This confidence factor is of vital importance. It should be made clear to all pupils that when they report incidents of bullying they are not considered to be telling tales but are behaving responsibly.
• Ensuring that pupils know who to tell and how to tell
• Promotion of pupil self-esteem through highlighting achievements, both academic and non-academic, in school, will take place throughout the school year. Celebration of individual achievements (Student of the Month, Student of the Year, Cross Aged Peer Paired Reading Awards etc) will be publicised in class, at school assemblies and’ displayed in the main corridor, as appropriate.


• The full implementation of the SPHE, the RSE and Stay Safe Programmes.


Cyber bullying 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. Cyber bullying 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.
Unlike other forms of bullying a once-off posting on public social media can constitute bullying.
• Staff will endeavour to identify signs of cyber bullying and to keep informed about the technologies that children commonly use.
• Advice will be 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 cyber bullying in the course of their education.
• Pupil mobile phones are to be handed up to the class teacher at the start of the school day and returned in the evening. They are not allowed to be turned on other than in exceptional circumstances
• Gardaí visit the school regularly and will talk about cyber bullying from time to time.
• Teachers will dedicate a standalone lesson to deal with the issue of cyber bullying.
• Students and staff are expected to comply with the school’s policy on the use of computers in the School. (Acceptable Use Policy)
• Parents and students are advised that it is illegal for a child under 13 to register with and use many social media networks, including Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat. Bishop Murphy Memorial School’s internet is filtered by PDST which endeavours to block access to inappropriate web sites, apps etc.
• No pupil is allowed to work on the Internet in the Computer Room, or any other location within the school, without a member of staff present.
Identity Based Bullying includes (but is not limited to) homophobic and transphobic bullying, racist bullying, bullying based on a person’s membership of the Travelling community and bullying of those with disabilities or special educational needs.

In line with Bishop Murphy Memorial School’s ethos and aims:
• To provide a ‘learning organisation’ where other religions are respected and catered for in keeping with the Catholic ethos of the school
• To foster an acceptance of the dynamic multicultural transformation of today’s society
• To encourage caring, competence, equality, and responsible social and economic development as the powerful forces for personal growth and advance
• To empower the pupils to reach their full potential academically, morally and spiritually and thus graduate from the school as sharing, caring and responsible beings
• Many of the above issues are dealt with on an ongoing basis through our S.P.H.E. curriculum of which R.S.E. is a key component. Programmes such as Stay Safe and Walk Tall are followed in the school. Diversity is celebrated in the school, through highlighting different cultural celebrations e.g. Ramadan

• Exploration of identity based themes through class novels e.g. “Private Peaceful”

• History; identity based themes discussed e.g. anti – Semitism (WW II), Apartheid etc.

• Geography: Identity based themes covered in People & Other Places strand.



6.1Procedures for Investigating and Dealing with Bullying

The primary aim in investigating and dealing with bullying is to resolve any issues and to restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved (rather than to apportion blame);

Every effort will be made to ensure that all involved (including pupils, parent(s)/guardian(s)) understand this approach from the outset.

The school will adopt a restorative approach toward bullying.
Restorative Practices
An important part of Bishop Murphy Memorial School’s approach to behaviour is the concept of ‘Restorative Practices’. Our Code of Behaviour is focused on the positive aspects of behaviour rather than on punishments or sanctions, although these are included in the appropriate section of our Behaviour Policy.
What does ‘Restorative Practice’ involve for our school?
Restorative Practices is a process to involve, to the extent possible, those who have a stake in a specific offence and to collectively identify and address harms, needs and obligations, in order to heal and put things as right as possible
The aim of Bishop Murphy Memorial School in taking a restorative approach to anti-bullying is:
• To create the right environment for children to have a voice
• To develop the ability to build relationships, to resolve theirs and others conflict and to build better communities where they can feel safe and confident to learn and grow into responsible, successful and honourable citizens.
• To attack the “problem” and not get involved in “the blame game”
• To have a positive approach to discipline, to have positive, responsive classrooms

Restorative Practice:
• Creates an ethos of respect, inclusion, accountability and taking responsibility
• Creates a commitment to relationships, impartiality, being non-judgemental
• Encourages collaboration, empowerment and emotional articulacy

Key Skills of Restorative Discipline are:
• Active listening
• Facilitating dialogue and problem-solving
• Listening to and expressing emotion
• Supporting others in taking ownership of problems

An important element in Restorative Practice is Fair Process:
Expectations – everyone knows what is expected of them
Engagement – involves individuals in decisions/listens to views
Explanation – clarify how decisions are reached

‘Individuals are most likely to trust and co-operate freely with systems – whether they themselves win or lose by those systems – when fair process is observed’.
Kim & Mauborgne , Harvard Business Review, July – August 1997

People who have been harmed need:
• Someone to listen to my story
• Time to calm down
• A chance to ask – why me? What did I do to deserve that?
• The person concerned to understand and acknowledge the impact their behaviour has had on me
• A sincere spontaneous apology
• Things put right, if possible
• Reassurance it won’t happen again

Pupils are expected firstly to respect themselves and then to treat each other and staff members with respect. Teachers and staff members are expected to treat children with respect. We take the view that pupils (other than some pupils with very special needs) choose their behaviour to a great degree – they always have an alternative. Therefore, they must take responsibility for their behaviour. If they treat others poorly, they may be acting out their own anger and frustrations, but they can also learn to choose differently and more positively. We ask children to treat others as they want to be treated themselves.
The Rules of Anger are:
It’s ok to be angry.
When I become angry:
• I don’t hurt others
• I don’t hurt myself
• I don’t hurt (damage) property
• I talk about how I feel.
Mending Relationships – Rationale:
If I become angry and hurt someone with my words or actions, I must try to make things right. I will do this by talking with the person I hurt, and I must be prepared to offer an apology, and I must be prepared to guarantee that I will not hurt that person again. I must try to realise myself what it feels like to be hurt with words or with actions and I must try to recognise the damage that my poor behaviour can do to others. In this way, I help myself to mend and I help my victim to mend.
School Group Conferences can be held to deal with issues:
• Offenders tell what they did
• Everyone talks about what impact this has had on them
• The group reaches a shared understanding of the harm that has been done
• The group negotiates an agreement about how to repair the damage and minimise further harm


• Any pupil or parent(s)/guardian(s) may bring a bullying incident to any teacher in the school.
• All reports, including anonymous reports of bullying, will be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher.
• Teaching and non-teaching staff such as secretaries, special needs assistants (SNAs caretakers, cleaners must report any incidents of bullying behaviour witnessed by them, or mentioned to them, to the relevant teacher;

• In investigating and dealing with bullying, the (relevant)teacher will exercise his/her professional judgement to determine whether bullying has occurred and how best the situation might be resolved;
• Parent(s)/guardian(s) and pupils are required to co-operate with any investigation and assist the school in resolving any issues and restoring, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved as quickly as possible;
• Teachers should take a calm, unemotional problem-solving approach. (See restorative practices section).
• Where possible incidents should be investigated outside the classroom situation to ensure the privacy of all involved;
• All interviews should be conducted with sensitivity and with due regard to the rights of all pupils concerned. Pupils who are not directly involved can also provide very useful information in this way;
• When analysing incidents of bullying behaviour, the relevant teacher should seek answers to questions of what, where, when, who and why. This should be done in a calm manner, setting an example in dealing effectively with conflict in a non-aggressive manner;
• If a group is involved, each member should be interviewed individually at first. Thereafter, all those involved should be met as a group. At the group meeting, each member should be asked for his/her account of what happened to ensure that everyone in the group is clear about each other’s statements;
• Each member of a group should be supported through the possible pressures that may face them from the other members of the group after the interview by the teacher;
It may also be appropriate or helpful to ask those involved to write down their account of the incident(s)
• In cases where it has been determined by the relevant teacher that bullying behaviour has occurred, the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the parties involved will be contacted at an early stage to inform them of the matter and explain the actions being taken (by reference to the school policy).
• Where the relevant teacher has determined that a pupil has been engaged in bullying behaviour, it will be made clear to him how he is in breach of the school’s anti-bullying policy and efforts will be made to try to get him to see the situation from the perspective of the pupil being bullied;
• Where disciplinary sanctions are required, this is a private matter between the pupil being disciplined, his parent(s)/guardian(s) and the school;


• In determining whether a bullying case has been adequately and appropriately addressed the relevant teacher must, as part of his/her professional judgement, take the following factors into account:
– Whether the bullying behaviour has ceased;
– Whether any issues between the parties have been resolved as far as is practicable;
-Whether the relationships between the parties have been restored as far as is practicable;
-Any feedback received from the parties involved, their parent(s)/guardian(s)s or the school Principal or Deputy Principal
• Follow-up meetings with the relevant parties involved should be arranged separately with a view to possibly bringing them together at a later date if the pupil who has been bullied is ready and agreeable.


Recording of bullying behaviour

The school’s procedures for noting and reporting bullying behaviour are as follows:

• All staff must keep a written record of any incidents witnessed by them or notified to them. The records will be made in an incident report book that will be in the possession of each teacher. All incidents must be reported to the relevant teacher
• While all reports, including anonymous reports of bullying must be investigated and dealt with by the relevant teacher, the relevant teacher must keep a written record of the reports, the actions taken and any discussions with those involved regarding same
• The relevant teacher must inform the principal of all incidents being investigated.
• If it is established by the relevant teacher that bullying has occurred, the relevant teacher must keep appropriate written records which will assist his/her efforts to resolve the issues and restore, as far as is practicable, the relationships of the parties involved.

Where the relevant teacher has used the Bullying Incident Investigation Record Form, a copy will be submitted to the Principal and kept in the office along with his/her own records of the investigation.

The relevant teacher must use the Bullying Incident Investigation form to record the bullying behaviour in the following circumstances:

a) in cases where he/she considers that the bullying behaviour has not been adequately and appropriately addressed within 20 school days after he/she has determined that bullying behaviour occurred; and
b) In certain circumstances bullying behaviour must be recorded and reported immediately to the Principal or Deputy Principal as applicable. These behaviours are inclusive of, but not exclusive of:

• The production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other materials aimed at intimidating another person.
• Denigration: spreading rumours, lies or gossip to hurt a person’s reputation.
• If in the professional judgement of the teacher, there has been discrimination, prejudice, comments or insults about colour, nationality, culture, social class, religious beliefs, ethnic or traveller background or if in the professional judgement of the teacher, there has been exclusion on the basis of the aforementioned.
• Unwelcome or inappropriate sexual comments or touching.
• Sexual Harassment.
• If in the professional judgement of the teacher, there has been the mimicking of a person’s disability or the taunting of others because of their disability or learning needs.


When the Bullying Investigation Recording Form is used, it must be retained by the relevant teacher in question and a copy maintained by the Principal in the office.

7. Programme of Support for Pupils:

The school’s programme of support for working with pupils affected by bullying is as follows:
• The relevant teacher will endeavour to assure the child that they are the victim and that they did the right thing by telling.
• The teacher will monitor the situation in the period after the bullying incident/s and regularly check with the child/children to see how things are going.
• The Principal will follow up by checking in regularly on how the situation has developed.
• Information re: any past bullying issues will be passed on to new teacher at the start of each year.

• Follow-up contact with the two parties may be organised to take place within one month of the investigation. The possible therapeutic effect of a bringing together of victim and bully at a future date will be considered if the victim is ready and agreeable to do so.
• If, during the course of the investigation, there are child protection concerns, the Children First 2011 guidelines become relevant as does the schools Child Protection policy.
• In the case of children for whom bullying is having a serious impact which cannot be dealt with satisfactorily is school, consultation will be made with the National Education Psychological Service (NEPS) as to whether formal referral to an outside, specialist agency (e.g. CAMHS) may be necessary in order to support the pupil concerned.
• The effectiveness of this school policy will be assessed regularly with regard to the level and type of bullying behaviour that may be happening in the school. Amendments will be made to reflect any change in approach deemed necessary.

8. Supervision and Monitoring of Pupils:

The Board of Management confirms that appropriate supervision and monitoring policies and practices are in place to both prevent and deal with bullying behaviour and to facilitate early intervention where possible.


9. Prevention of Harassment: 

The Board of Management confirms that the school will, in accordance with its obligations under equality legislation, take all such steps that are reasonably practicable to prevent the sexual harassment of pupils or staff or the harassment of pupils or staff on any of the nine grounds specified i.e. gender including transgender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race and membership of the Traveller community.

10. Adoption Date of Policy

This policy was adopted by the Board of Management of Bishop Murphy Memorial School on

11. Availability of Policy

This policy has been made available to school personnel, published on the school website and a hard copy is readily accessible to parents and pupils on request. It has been provided to the Parents’ Association. A copy of this policy will be made available to the Department and the patron if requested.

12. Review of Policy:

This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Board of Management once in every school year. A record of the review and its outcome will be made available, if requested, to the patron and the Department. The Principal is required to report to the BoM once a term as to the number, if any, of reports that have been compiled and whether the matter has been resolved in accordance with this Policy.
Signed: John Molloy                                                                  Signed: James O Donoghue
(Chairperson of Board of Management)                                               ( Principal)
Date: 15/05/2014