Anti Cyber Bullying Policy

Cyber bullying

Cyber bullying includes (but is not limited to), communication 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 can constitute bullying.

While bullying involves a repetition of unwelcome behaviour the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools, September 2013, states that “…..in the context of these procedures 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.”

While this policy addresses issues related to cyber-bullying of students (i.e. situations in which one or more students are the victim(s) of bullying), the policy also applies to teaching and other school staff.

The policy applies to activities and events that take place:

During school time (including break times).

Going to and from school.

School tours, trips.

Extra-curricular activities.

Castleknock National School reserves the right to take action against bullying perpretrated outside the school which spills over into the school

 Anybody can be targeted including pupils and school staff

 It can include threats, intimidation, harassment, cyber-stalking, vilification, defamation, exclusion, peer rejection, impersonation, unauthorized publication of private information or images etc.

 While bullying involves a repetition of unwelcome behaviour the Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools, September 2013, states that “…in the context of these procedures 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.”

Key measures to combat cyber-bullying

Students will be informed about cyber-bullying in the course of their education at the school.

A speaker will be asked to visit the school once a year to talk about online safety.

 Cyber-bullying may be reported to the Gardaí.

Teachers in senior classes will dedicate a ‘stand alone’ lesson to deal with the issue of cyber-bullying annually.

Staff and parents will periodically be invited to a talk on bullying to include 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 will be provided with information and advice on cyber-bullying. Parents and students are advised via this policy that it is illegal for a child under 13 to register with or use Facebook. Other social media sites have similar restrictions.

Pupils are NOT permitted to have mobile phones in school.

Teachers will investigate, record and report all incidents of cyber-bullying.

Castleknock National School endeavours to block access to inappropriate websites using firewalls, anti-virus protection and filtering systems. Furthermore, no pupil is allowed to work on the internet in the computer room or any location within the school which may, from time to time be used for such work without a member of staff present.

What is cyber-bullying?

There are many types of cyber-bullying. The more common types are:

1. Text messages – can be threatening or cause discomfort. Also included here is

‘Bluejacking’ (the sending of anonymous text messages over short distances using

bluetooth wireless technology)

2. Picture/video-clips via mobile phone cameras – images sent to others to make the victim feel threatened or embarrassed.

3. Mobile phone calls – silent calls, abusive messages or stealing the victim‛s phone and using it to harass others, to make them believe the victim is responsible

4. Emails – threatening or bullying emails, often sent using a pseudonym or somebody else‛s name

5. Chat room bullying – menacing or upsetting responses to children or young people when they are in a web-based chat room

6. Instant messaging (IM) – unpleasant messages sent while children conduct real-time conversations online using MSM (Microsoft Messenger), Yahoo Chat or similar tools

7. Bullying via websites – use of defamatory blogs (web logs), personal websites and online personal ‘own web space’ sites such as You Tube, Facebook and Ask.fm– although there are others.

Explanation of slang terms used when referring to cyber-bullying activity.

  1. ‘Flaming’: Online fights using electronic messages with angry and vulgar language.
  2. ‘Harassment’: Repeatedly sending offensive, rude and insulting messages.
  3. ‘Cyber stalking’: Repeatedly sending messages that include threats of harm or are highly intimidating or engaging in other on-line activities that make a person afraid for his or her own safety.
  4. ‘Denigration’: ‘Dissing’ someone online. Sending or posting cruel gossip or rumours about a person to damage his or her reputation or friendships.
  5. ‘Impersonation’: Pretending to be someone else and sending or posting material online that makes someone look bad, gets him/her in trouble or danger or damages his/her reputation or friendships.
  6. ‘Outing and Trickery’: Tricking someone into revealing secret or embarrassing information which is then shared online.
  7. ‘Exclusion’: Intentionally excluding someone from an on-line group like a ‘buddy list’.

This list is not exhaustive and is subject to change.

Aims of Policy

 To ensure that pupils, staff and parents understand what cyber-bullying is and how it can be combated.

To ensure that practices and procedures are agreed to prevent incidents of cyber-bullying.

To ensure reported incidents of cyber-bullying are dealt with effectively and quickly.

Supervision and monitoring of pupils.

The Board of Management confirms that the school will, in accordance with its obligations under equality legislation, take all 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 or race.

Procedures to prevent cyber-bullying

Staff, pupils, parents and the Board of Management (BOM), will be made aware of issues surrounding cyber-bullying through the use of appropriate awareness-raising exercises.

Pupils will learn about cyber-bullying through Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) and other curriculum projects.

The school will engage a speaker a speaker to facilitate a workshop on cyber-bullying for all classes annually.

Staff CPD (Continuous Professional Development) will assist in learning about current technologies.

Parents will be provided with information and advice on how to combat cyber-bullying.

Pupils will sign an Acceptable Use of ICT (Information and Technology) Contract.

Parents will be expected to sign an Acceptable Use contract prior to enrolment and discuss its meaning with their children.

Pupils, teachers and parents will be encouraged to report all incidents of cyber-bullying to the school.

All reports of cyber-bullying will be investigated, recorded, stored in the Principal’s office and monitored regularly.

The Gardaí may be contacted in cases of cyber-bullying.

Procedures in the Code of Behaviour will be followed to deal with cases of cyber-bullying . Sanctions for children engaging in cases of cyber-bullying are the same as those for any type of bullying within the school. See Code of Behaviour sections on Detention, Suspension and Expulsion.

Compiled in consultation with teachers, pupils, parents and BOM – June 2013.

Reviewed and adopted June 2016.

Date of next review, June 2019.