Reporting Bullying in School

by Colm Canning

Reporting Bullying in School

When it comes to bullying it is very important that we respond to the situation by reporting it. There are almost always differences and variations in each individual case but when it comes to bullying an informal procedure is preferable initially. Your child’s class tutor is the best person to approach to report it to for an informal discussion first. after meeting the class tutor you may wish then to also speak to the school principal. If this informal approach is not enough to resolve the issue and in situations where the bullying continues, you may need to consider making a formal complaint with the school.

The school policy on bullying should be clearly set out what will happen when a formal complaint is made, how the complaint will be investigated and who will carry out the investigation, taking into account issues of confidentiality and the rights of both parties. Give the school a chance to investigate and report back to you as laid out in their procedures.

What do you do if you are not happy with how the school has dealt with the situation?

If you feel that your complaint about bullying has not been dealt with properly by the tutor and or principal, you may wish to make a complaint directly to the management authority of the school. It is advised that you should keep a record of all meetings, calls and emails that you have between parents and the school plus any bullying.

The Board of Management is legally responsible for the day to day running of the school and has a duty of care to its school’s students. The school’s Board of Management in turn is responsible to the school patron for the exercise of its duties under the Education Act 1998.

The Department of Education can advise you on how to proceed with a complaint. The Department of Education itself does not have any power to investigate complaints.

Serious instances of bullying where the behaviour is regarded as possibly abusive it must be reported to Tusla or the Garda.

Further Advice

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:

http://www.oco.ie/

Read the Dept. of Education and Skills anti-bullying schools procedures: Dept. of Education and Skills anti-bullying schools procedures

The school has a duty of care to all students and must be seen to be proactive in this area please follow all the outline steps and also ask the school what will happen going forward, what is in place to prevent this from happening again, what education are they providing the pupils within regards anti-bullying and harassment of other pupils and also a review of their policy may need to be looked at if this is an ongoing problem.

Counselling 

Someone who has dealt with bullying may wish to speak about their experience with a professional and it may be beneficial to seek counselling.

Attached is the website for counsellors for you to find one in your area. The Psychological Society of Ireland can help you find a local counsellor to you:

http://www.psychologicalsociety.ie/find-a-psychologist/

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