» St John’s Prep School Anti-Bullying Policy
St John’s does not tolerate bullying in any form, and all members of the school staff are committed to promoting a safe and caring environment for boys. Staff, boys and parents will work together to address issues of bullying when these arise.
» Pastoral Care Team
The school’s pastoral care team is responsible for ensuring that this policy is adhered to, and should provide the required to support to any victims or perpetrators of bullying. The pastoral care team is made up of: The Head of Pastoral Care, the Headmaster, the Deputies, the School Psychologist, the Chaplain and the Housemasters.
Bullying happens when a boy or group of boys set out deliberately to upset another boy again and again. It may include:
- Name-calling and teasing
- Threats and intimidation
- Hurting physically
- Extortion (taking things away)
- Damaging property and belongings
- Spreading horrible rumours and stories
- Deliberate exclusion from games and activities
- Cyberbullying (using the Internet and cellular telephones to torment, threaten or humiliate)
* see note attached at the end of the policy
» Steps to be taken to prevent bullying
- Staff members will teach the boys about bullying in Life Orientation lessons.
- Boys will learn how to identify bullying, how to respond when made a victim of bullying, and how to handle bullying incidents that they might observe.
- Boys are encouraged to report any incident or suspected incident of bullying.
- They will also learn how to identify and correct bullying behaviours that they themselves may exhibit.
- Staff will also ensure adequate supervision of the boys around the school, and will take special note of any identified bullying “hotspots” in the school, to reduce the incidence of bullying.
» Reporting of bullying
Boys or parents can report bullying to the boy’s class teacher, housemaster, or a member of the pastoral care team, and the reporting of bullying should be encouraged as the right and courageous thing to do. Staff members will take these reports seriously, investigate them thoroughly, and provide feedback.
» Procedures to deal with bullying
When an incident of bullying or suspected bullying is reported, the school will respond in a manner that is appropriate to the incident. The following steps will usually be taken, depending on the nature of the incident:
- A suitable member of staff will meet with the victim to establish what has been taking place, to ensure that the victim understands and is comfortable with the action that the school will take in dealing with the matter, and to ensure that the victim will not be placed at further risk.
- The victim’s parents will be contacted and informed of the situation, and kept appraised of the school’s actions and approach. If it is felt that the victim is in need of further support or coaching, this will be arranged in conjunction with his parents and the school’s pastoral care systems.
- A suitable member of staff will then meet with the perpetrator of the bullying incident to hear his side of the story, and to ensure that the bullying behaviour stops immediately. If there is negative comeback from the perpetrator to the victim following this, parents will be called in. If it is felt that the perpetrator needs some form of help, this should be arranged in conjunction with his parents and the school’s pastoral care systems.
- In the event of the stories of the victim and the perpetrator being at odds, investigating staff will usually either bring both boys into an interview together for mediation, or will investigate further by interviewing other boys who have witnessed the incidents.
- The housemasters of both the perpetrator and the victim, and the pastoral care team should be kept informed at each step of the process.
- The incidents should be recorded on the pastoral care pupil monitoring database.
- If the perpetrator repeats his behaviour, the school will be obliged to take more stringent steps to curb his bullying behaviour. In the event of repeated bullying behaviour that is felt to endanger one or more of the boys in the school, the perpetrator may be asked to leave the school.
- In incidents involving cyberbullying, whether these occur on or off the school property, the school reserves the right to take the same action as for other incidents of bullying behaviour.
» Role of parents and guardians
Parents or guardians should:
- Watch for signs of unhappiness in their son’s life.
- Be supportive when an incident of cyberbullying is reported as this can be extremely damaging and have lasting effects.
- Inform their son’s class teacher, housemaster or a member of the pastoral care team if there is any suspicion that their son is being bullied.
- Not take matters into their own hands in confronting the perpetrator or his parents.
- Refrain from telling their son to retaliate.
- Help their son to learn positive behaviours that will help him not to become a victim.
- Clearly address the situation if their son is found to have abused another boy.
» Note on cyberbullying
As this is a new component in our policy, the following examples of what constitutes cyberbullying may be helpful.
- Instant Messaging/Text Messaging Harassment
Boys may send hateful or threatening messages to other boys, without realizing that while not said in real life, unkind or threatening messages are hurtful and very serious.
- Warning wars: many Internet Service Providers offer a way of "telling on" a user who is saying inappropriate things. Boys often engage in "warning wars" which can lead to someone being suspended or “offline” for a period of time. While this should be a security tool, boys sometimes use the Warn button as a game or prank.
- A boy may create a screenname that is very similar to another boy’s name and he may use this name to say inappropriate things to other users while posing as the other person.
- Text wars or text attacks are when boys gang up on the victim, sending thousands of text-messages to the victim’s cell phone or other mobile device.
- Stealing passwords
A boy may steal another boy's password and begin to chat with other people, pretending to be the other boy. He may say mean things that offend and anger friends or even strangers. A boy may also use another boy's password to change his profile to include sexual, racist, and inappropriate things that may attract unwanted attention or offend people.
Blogs are online journals. They are a fun way for boys to post messages for all of their friends to see. However, boys sometimes use these blogs to damage other boys’ reputations or invade their privacy.
- Web sites
Boys sometimes create Web sites that may insult or endanger another boy. They create pages specifically designed to insult another boy or group of boys. Boys also post other boys' personal information and pictures, which put those boys at a greater risk of being contacted or found.
- Sending Pictures through E-mail and Cell Phones
- Boys may send mass e-mails to other users that include degrading pictures of other boys, for example, a picture of someone changing, etc. Once an e-mail like this is sent, it is passed around to hundreds of other people within hours; there is no way of controlling where it goes.
- Many of the newer cell phones allow boys to send pictures to each other. They receive the pictures directly on their phones and some of these can include pornographic pictures or other unsuitable material.
- Cyberbullies may sign their victims up for e-mailing and IM marketing lists, including porn sites. When the victim receives thousands of e-mails from pornographers their parents usually get involved, either blaming them (assuming they have been visiting porn sites) or making them change their e-mail or IM address.
- Internet Polling
Who's Hot? Who's Not? These types of questions run rampant on the Internet polls, created by boys and other teens. Such questions are often very offensive and are yet another way that boys can bully other boys online.
Posing as the victim, the cyberbully can do considerable damage. They may post a provocative message in a hate group's chatroom posing as the victim, inviting an attack against the victim, often giving the name, address and telephone number of the victim to make the hate group's job easier. They often also send a message to someone posing as the victim, saying hateful or threatening things while masquerading as the victim. They may also alter a message really from the victim, making it appear that they have said nasty things or shared secrets with others.
(Adapted from www.stopcyberbullying.org)