The Department published new anti-bullying procedures for all primary and post primary schools at the beginning of the 2013/14 school year.
The procedures are designed to give direction and guidance to school authorities and school personnel in preventing and tackling school-based bullying behaviour amongst its pupils. They include specific requirements in relation to the use of prevention and education strategies and the consistent investigation, follow up and recording of bullying behaviour.
A very important element of the new procedures to help ensure greater transparency for parents and pupils is the requirement for schools to publish their anti-bullying policy on the school’s website and to provide it to the parents association.
If a young person tells you that they are unhappy about how someone is treating them at school or on-line it means that you are someone that s/he trusts.
So it is important to respond immediately by reassuring them that you will not make things worse and that you will work with them to address the situation.
If cyberbullying has been reported to you it is important that you do not take away a young person’s access to the internet as this will discourage them from telling you the truth about what they have been experiencing.
Steps for Parents that suspect bullying
If you believe your child is the target of bullying follow these steps:
- Contact their teacher to let them know your concerns.
- Allow a teacher time to conduct a investigation and gather facts.
- After a teacher has conducted an investigation a report is made and if bullying is taking place the school will deliberate a course of action.
- If no resolution is found or is unresolved it is escalated to the deputy principal or principal of the school
- If you as a parent are not content with this you may wish to write to the schools board of management.
- If no resolution is found or you are not happy with the course of action a school takes you may wish to contact the Ombudsman for children.
To read the Department of Education and Skills anti-bullying procedures for primary and post primary schools please click here.
The Ombudsman for Children
If you are not satisfied with how your child’s school has investigated bullying after following the Department of Education and Skills procedures, you may contact the Ombudsman for Children.