POLICY STATEMENT

Our school is committed to providing a safe and caring environment and culture which enables positive relationships to be formed amongst all students and staff and which encourages self-esteem, cooperation, personal growth and a positive attitude to learning and teaching.  A clear policy on bullying (including cyber bullying) and harassment will inform the community that bullying and harassment in any of its forms will not be tolerated.

Purpose

Beaumaris Secondary College is committed to providing a safe and respectful learning environment where bullying will not be tolerated.

The purpose of this policy is to:

  • explain the definition of bullying
  • make clear that all forms of bullying at Beaumaris Secondary College will not be tolerated
  • ask that everyone in our school community be alert to signs and evidence of bullying behaviour, and accept responsibility to report bullying behaviour to school staff
  • ensure that all reported incidents of bullying are appropriately investigated and addressed
  • ensure that support is provided to students who may be affected by bullying behaviour (including victims, bystanders and perpetrators)
  • seek parental and peer group support in addressing and preventing bullying behaviour at Beaumaris Secondary College.

When responding to bullying behaviour, Beaumaris Secondary College aims to:

  • be proportionate, consistent and responsive
  • find a constructive and positive solution for everyone
  • stop the bullying from happening again
  • restore the relationships between the students involved.

Beaumaris Secondary College acknowledges that school staff owe a duty of care to students to take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of reasonably foreseeable harm, which can include harm that may be caused by bullying behaviour.

Scope

This policy applies to all school activities, including camps and excursions.

This policy should be read in conjunction with our school’s Student Engagement and Wellbeing Policy, Duty of Care Policy and School philosophy and Values.

What are bullying, cyber bullying and harassment?

Bullying is repeated oppression, physical or psychological, of a less powerful person by a more powerful person or group.

Cyber-bullying consists of covert, psychological bullying, conveyed through the electronic mediums such as mobile phones, web-logs and web-sites, on-line chat rooms, ‘MUD’ rooms (multi-user domains where individuals take on different characters) and Xangas (on-line personal profiles where some adolescents create lists of people they do not like).  It is verbal (over the telephone or mobile phone), or written (flaming, threats, racial, sexual or homophobic harassment) using the various mediums available including all forms of social media.

Harassment is any verbal, physical or sexual conduct (including gestures) which is uninvited, unwelcome or offensive to a person.

Our school will actively promote a positive and welcoming personal environment for all members of the school community.  When people are bullied or harassed some effects might be anger, embarrassment, fear and humiliation, loss of self-confidence and reduced function and potential.  Bullying and harassment will be addressed, individual differences will be respected and students and staff will be enabled and supported in their pursuit of learning and teaching.

GUIDELINES

A school-wide approach will be taken to deal with bullying (including cyber bullying) and harassment in a consistent and systematic way.

All new students and staff will be informed of the anti-harassment policy and practices at the commencement of their time at the school.

All complaints of harassment will be heard in confidence and taken seriously.

Our school will organise preventative curriculum programs that promote resilience, life and social skills, assertiveness, conflict resolution and problem solving.

Staff programs will occur periodically to keep staff informed of current issues/strategies for dealing with these issues.

There will be disciplinary consequences, covering a range of strategies, for those in breach of the Anti-Bullying (including cyber bullying) and Anti- Harassment Policy, guidelines and procedures (see Appendix A).

PROGRAM

Constructive strategies to deal with harassment will include: education in coping strategies; assertiveness training; problem solving and social skills; counselling and behaviour modification.  These strategies will be employed in preference to punitive sanctions and negative consequences.

The Anti-Bullying and Anti-Harassment Policy of the school will be widely promoted to students, staff, parents/carers and the local community.

A summary of the policy will be included in the Student Enrolment Package while new staff will receive extensive documentation as part of the school’s induction process.

The school leadership team and the teachers will work together to ensure the safety of all school members in situations of bullying (including cyber bullying) and harassment, by thoroughly investigating all complaints while respecting the need for confidentiality, notifying parents/carers and planning interventions.

If a teacher feels a student is at serious and imminent risk from bullying (including cyber bullying) and harassment then it is their professional duty to pass on the information to an appropriate person in order to ensure appropriate support for the student.  It is important that teachers document fully their interaction with the student and to verify the actions taken.

Student programs will be organized to raise student awareness about bullying (including cyber bullying) and harassment, to provide a forum for discussion of matters and to aid development of attitudes.  Some matters will be dealt with formally in the curriculum and in peer support programs, leadership programs, extra-curricular programs and occasional activities run by outside experts and workers.  The curriculum will include anti-bullying messages and strategies in line with current DET materials e.g. ‘The Friendly Schools’ and ‘No Blame Approach to Bullying’ programs.

Professional development will be provided for staff relating to bullying (including cyber bullying) and harassment and proven strategies to address these issues in classrooms will be shared with all staff.

The school will provide specialist resources such as books, videos, kits and off site in-service activities to assist staff in responding appropriately to bullying (including cyber bullying) and harassment issues.

Disciplinary consequences for bullying (including cyber bullying) and harassment will comply with the school’s Welfare and Discipline Policy.  The principal or their nominee will provide disciplinary consequences including suspension in accordance with Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DET) guidelines.

LINKS AND APPENDICES (including processes related to this policy)

Links which are connected with this policy are:

Appendices which are connected with this policy are:

  • Appendix A: Anti-Bullying (including cyber-bullying) and Anti-Harassment Procedures
  • Appendix B: Reporting on Incident of Bullying / Harassment – Template
  • Appendix C: Formal Referral of Student who has bullied / harassed other to Student Welfare Coordinator – Template

EVALUATION

This policy will be reviewed annually or more often if necessary due to changes in regulations or circumstances.

Appendix A

Anti-Bullying (including cyber-bullying) and
Anti-Harassment Procedures

What are Bullying, Cyber Bullying and Harassment?

Bullying

Definition of Bullying

Bullying is when someone, or a group of people, who have more power at the time, deliberately upset or hurt another person, their property, reputation or social acceptance on more than one occasion.

Types of Bullying

There are three broad categories of bullying:

  1. Direct physical bullying ­­– e.g. hitting, tripping, and pushing or damaging property.
  2. Direct verbal bullying – e.g. name calling, insults, homophobic or racist remarks, verbal abuse.
  3. Indirect bullying – this form of bullying is harder to recognise and often carried out behind the bullied student’s back. It is designed to harm someone’s social reputation and/or cause humiliation.  Indirect bullying includes:
  • lying and spreading rumours
  • playing nasty jokes to embarrass and humiliate
  • mimicking
  • encouraging others to socially exclude someone
  • damaging someone’s social reputation and social acceptance
  • cyber-bullying, which involves the use of electronic means to humiliate and distress

What Bullying is Not

Many distressing behaviours are not examples of bullying even though they are unpleasant and often require teacher intervention and management. There are three socially unpleasant situations that are often confused with bullying:

Mutual Conflict

In mutual conflict situations, there is an argument or disagreement between students but not an imbalance of power. Both parties are upset and usually both want a resolution to the problem. However, unresolved mutual conflict sometimes develops into a bullying situation with one person becoming targeted repeatedly for ‘retaliation’ in a one-sided way.

Social Rejection or Dislike

Unless the social rejection is directed towards someone specific and involves deliberate and repeated attempts to cause distress, exclude or create dislike by others, it is not bullying.

Single-episode acts of nastiness or meanness, or random acts of aggression or intimidation

Single episodes of nastiness or physical aggression are not the same as bullying. If a student is verbally abused or pushed on one occasion they are not being bullied.

Nastiness or physical aggression that is directed towards many different students is not the same as bullying.

Cyber-bullying

Cyberbullying is direct or indirect bullying behaviours using digital technology. For example via a mobile phone, tablets, computers, chat rooms, email, social media, etc. It can be verbal, written or include use of images, video and/or audio.

Harassment

Is any verbal, physical or sexual conduct (including gestures) which is uninvited, unwelcome or offensive to a person.

What is not considered bullying

Single-episode acts of harassment, nastiness or physical aggression are not the same as bullying. If someone is verbally abused or pushed on one occasion, they are not being bullied. Harassment, nastiness or physical aggression that is directed towards many different people is not the same as bullying. However, single episodes of harassment, nastiness or physical aggression are not acceptable behaviours at our school.

Many distressing behaviours may not constitute bullying even though they are unpleasant. Students who are involved in or who witness any distressing behaviours of concern are encouraged to report their concerns to school staff.

Why do we have a Policy on these?

To provide a safe and friendly college environment for students and staff and to encourage care, courtesy and respect for others. All persons have a legal right to protection from harassment under the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act and the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act

What are the effects of Bullying and Harassment?

  • poor health – anxiety, depression
  • lower self esteem
  • reduced study performance
  • missed classes, social withdrawal
  • reduced career prospects

Am I bullying or harassing someone?

If you are not sure about your behaviour you can:

  • check it out by asking if it is offensive or inappropriate
  • stop it
  • apologise
  • take it seriously if someone says they are feeling uncomfortable
  • talk it over with an adviser or somebody who has an understanding of the issues

              What are some of the feelings victims of bullying or harassment may experience?

  • I will ignore it and it will go away.”

If anything it will make things worse – you will give the impression that you agree with the situation.

  • “I don’t want to cause trouble.”

Most causes of harassment are sorted out quite simply. By speaking up, action can be taken to address the problem.

  • Am I to blame?”

Victims of harassment or bullying sometimes feel that it is their fault. Victims are made to feel guilty by the offender and often blame themselves. It is your right to have a safe environment free from harassment or bullying.

  • Am I imagining things?”

Often our hunches are correct. Rather than put up with nagging doubts, talk to someone about your feelings.

              Bullying or harassment can often make people feel:

  • embarrassed or ashamed
  • offended or humiliated
  • intimidated or frightened
  • uncomfortable

What should you do if you see another person being bullied or harassed?

Tell the person that you witnessed the incident and advise them to report it to an appropriate person. However, if your friend is harassing another person, let them know that their behaviour is unacceptable.

Bystanders who do nothing to stop bullying may be contributing to the problem by providing an audience for the bully.

              Bullying can involve

  • grabbing, aggressive staring, hitting, pinching kicking, pushing and shoving
  • publicly excluding a person from your group
  • knocking a person’s books or belongings out of their hands or off their desk
  • teasing a person because of their looks

              Cyber-bullying can involve

  • Flaming – online fights using electronic messages with angry or vulgar messages
  • Harassment – repeatedly sending nasty, mean and insulting messages
  • Denigration – posting or sending gossip or rumours about a person to damage his/her reputation or friendships
  • Outing – sharing someone’s secrets or embarrassing information or images online
  • Exclusion – intentionally and cruelly excluding someone from an online group
  • Cyber-stalking – repeated, intense harassment and denigration that includes threats or creates significant fear

              Harassment is usually directed at a person because of their gender, race, creed or abilities – it can be subtle or explicit

Subtle (the most common) they include:

  • offensive staring and leering
  • unwanted comments about physical appearance and sexual preference
  • racist or smutty comments or jokes
  • questions about another’s sexual activity
  • persistent comments about a person’s private life or family
  • physical contact e.g. purposely brushing up against another’s body
  • offensive name calling

Explicit (obvious) they include:

  • grabbing, aggressive hitting, pinching and shoving, etc
  • unwelcome patting, touching, embracing
  • repeated requests for dates, especially after refusal
  • offensive gestures, jokes, comments, letters, phone calls or e-mail
  • sexually and/or racially provocative remarks
  • displays of sexually graphic material – pornography
  • requests for sexual favours
  • extreme forms of sexual harassment will lead to criminal prosecution

What do you do if you are being bullied or harassed?

  • tell the person you don’t like what they are doing and you want them to stop
  • discuss the matter with your GOAL Mentor, the Wellbeing Coordinator or a teacher that you feel comfortable talking to.
  • the school will take your concerns seriously – all complaints will be treated confidentially

The school may implement all, or some of the following responses to student/s who have been bullied:

  • Offer counselling support to the victim student or students, with the Wellbeing Coordinator
  • Offer counselling support to affected students, including witnesses and/or friends of the victim student with the Wellbeing Coordinator
  • Facilitate a restorative practice meeting with all or some of the students involved. The objective of restorative practice is to repair relationships that have been damaged by bringing about a sense of remorse and restorative action on the part of the person who has bullied someone and forgiveness by the person who has been bullied.
  • Implement disciplinary consequences for the perpetrator students, which may include removal of privileges, detention, suspension and/or expulsion consistent with our Student Wellbeing and Engagement policy, the Ministerial Order on Suspensions and Expulsions and any other relevant Department policy.
  • Facilitate a Student Support Group meeting and/or Behaviour Support Plan for affected students.
  • Prepare an individual management plan restricting contact between victim and perpetrator students.
  • Provide discussion and/or mentoring for different social and emotional learning competencies of the students involved through GOAL group program.
  • Monitor the behaviour of the students involved for an appropriate time and take follow up action if necessary.
  • Implement year group targeted strategies to reinforce positive behaviours.

The school is responsible for maintaining up to date records of the investigation of and responses to bullying behaviour.

Beaumaris Secondary College understands the importance of monitoring the progress of students who have been involved in or affected by bullying behaviour. Our ability to effectively reduce and eliminate bullying behaviour is greatly affected by students reporting concerning behaviour as soon as possible, so that the responses implemented by Beaumaris Secondary College are timely and appropriate in the circumstances.

Incident Response

Reporting concerns to Beaumaris Secondary School

Bullying complaints will be taken seriously and responded to sensitively at our school.

Students who may be experiencing bullying behaviour, or students who have witnessed bullying behaviour, are encouraged to report their concerns to school staff as soon as possible.

In most circumstances, we encourage students to speak to their GOAL Mentor. However, students are welcome to discuss their concerns with any trusted member of staff including the Wellbeing Coordinator, Assistant Principals and Principal.

Parents or carers who may develop concerns that their child is involved in, or has witnessed bullying behaviour at Beaumaris Secondary College should contact the school on 8569-9200 and ask to speak to an Assistant Principal.

Investigations

When notified of alleged bullying behaviour, school staff are required to:

  • record the details of the allegations on COMPASS; and
  • inform the Wellbeing Coordinator

The Assistant Principal is responsible for investigating allegations of bullying in a timely and sensitive manner. To appropriately investigate an allegation of bullying, the Assistant Principal may:

  • speak to the students involved in the allegations, including the victim/s, the alleged perpetrator/s and any witnesses to the incidents
  • speak to the parents of the students involved
  • speak to the teachers of the students involved
  • take detailed notes of all discussions for future reference
  • obtain written statements from all or any of the above.

All communications with the Assistant Principal in the course of investigating an allegation of bullying will be managed sensitively. Investigations will be completed as quickly as possible to allow for the behaviours to be addressed in a timely manner.

The objective of completing a thorough investigation into the circumstances of alleged bullying behaviour is to determine the nature of the conduct and the students involved. A thorough understanding of the alleged bullying will inform staff about how to most effectively implement an appropriate response to that behaviour.

Serious bullying, including serious cyberbullying, is a criminal offence and may be referred to Victoria Police. For more information, see: Brodie’s Law

Responses to bullying behaviours

When school has sufficient information to understand the circumstances of the alleged bullying and the students involved, a number of strategies may be implemented to address the behaviour and support affected students in consultation with Wellbeing Coordinator, Assistant Principals and/or Principal.

There are a number of factors that will be considered when determining the most appropriate response to the behaviour. When making a decision about how to respond to bullying behaviour, Beaumaris Secondary College will consider:

Level 1

If the bullying or harassment incident is minor or first time occurrence, teachers may elect to use one or more anti-bullying practices:

  • stopping the bullying/re-statement of rules and consequences
  • restorative questioning
  • think time detention
  • private conference
  • shared control discussion

If the student does not take control over his/her behaviour, an Incident Report Form should be completed and submitted to the student welfare coordinator or principal/assistant principal.

Level 2

If the bullying or harassment continues, or in instances of severe bullying or harassing, a referral should be made to the Wellbeing Coordinator.

Here, the Wellbeing Coordinator (or another who has responsibility for student welfare) may:

  • meet with the student to develop a behaviour contract
  • provide discussion/mentoring of different social and emotional learning competencies including structured learning activities
  • conduct a restorative conference separately with the perpetrator and “target”

Level 3

For ‘at risk’ students (many risk factors, few protective factors) whose bullying or harassing behaviour is severe and for other non-at risk students whose bullying or harassing and other aggressive behaviour is resistant to change, an individual ‘strength building’ plan should be developed by the student welfare coordinator in consultation with student, parents/carers and teachers. Individual strength-building plans and associated interventions help connect the student to positive people, programs and actions in the community, school and home as well as develop the student’s inner social and emotional strengths (skills, values).

Level 4

Students whose severe bullying or harassing behaviour resists school efforts and represents a significant threat to the safety and wellbeing should be referred to outside agencies for evaluation.  Wellbeing Coordinator will need to be familiar with those community agencies and organisations that can offer more intensive services to the student and student’s family.

Note:       The school may choose, if bullying or harassment persists or the initial incident is of such magnitude, that parents/carers will be contacted and consequences implemented consistent with the school’s Student Code of Conduct.  Furthermore, the principal may commence formal disciplinary action in line with ‘Effective Schools are Engaging Schools – Student Engagement Policy Guidelines’ (DET) at any stage in the process depending on contextual information relating to the severity of the bullying (including-cyber bullying) and harassment.

 

 

117/136 Reserve RD Beaumaris, Victoria 3193

(03) 8569 9200

beaumaris.sc@edumail.vic.gov.au