As a Catholic school in the tradition of Blessed Edmund Rice, every member of the College community has a right to feel protected, nurtured and valued.
The College seeks to reinforce the values of care and consideration for others, to be respectful of each individual and to be a witness to these Christian values not only in the College community but also in the broader community.
St Patrick’s College community takes the view that any form of bullying or harassment is unacceptable. Bullying is a breach of the student code of rights and responsibilities.
This document provides information and strategies that the College will use to address the issue of bullying.
What is Bullying?
Bullying is any wilful, conscious behaviour intended to hurt another person, either physically or emotionally.
Bullying may take many forms and can include:
- picking on others.
- making hurtful and racist comments.
- any form of physical violence such as hitting, pushing or spitting.
- making suggestive comments or other forms of sexual abuse.
- forcing others to act against their will.
- verbal threats of aggression against property or possessions.
- using put-downs, belittling others’ abilities and achievements.
using offensive names, teasing or spreading rumours about others or their families.
- acts of vandalism.
Bullying is a serious issue
Bullying is not “OK”. Do not tolerate bullying – it is too important not to report. A tradition of silence is a barrier to be broken down. As a student of St Patrick's College it is not only your right, but your responsibility to report bullying whether it happens to you or to someone else – TALK TO SOMEONE.
Who are the Bullies?
Anyone can be a bully – all of us. We all have the capacity and, occasionally, the inclination to be hurtful.
Any person who aims in some way to hurt someone else by causing either physical or emotional pain is a bully. Some bullies do the hurting themselves, some are ringleaders and some are members of a group. Others unintentionally encourage bullies by being passing onlookers when bullying occurs – they fail to intervene or to report the bullying. Often bullies justify their behaviour by saying they were only teasing another or having fun. If the person being teased does not like it, or want it, and yet others persist with it, then it is a clear case of bullying. It is cruel and unfair behaviour.
Why Bullying is not tolerated at St Patrick's College
As a caring Christian community the College:
- expects a high standard of behaviour at all times.
- is committed to striving to provide a safe and caring environment for everyone, where the right of every person to be free from all forms of bullying is observed.
- encourages and positively reinforces behaviour which is courteous and considerate.
- has a policy for detecting, preventing and dealing with bullying.
- is educating the boys about issues related to bullying behaviour.
- offers support to all students through our pastoral care system and the pastoral care role of all teachers.
What can you do if you are a witness to Bullying?
There is a risk that you can become the victim, or be labelled a dobber, but we need to work together if we are to be effective.
- we hope that you care enough to want to do something
- if possible, you could intervene as the bullying occurs by simply saying “cut it out”, “leave him alone”, “quit it”. This is very useful if you have influence with the bully: eg. are older, a friend, a College prefect, or team captain.
- if you cannot act immediately, it is helpful to report the incident to someone you trust as soon as you can. You may need to establish that you want privacy and confidentiality. Alternatively you may wish to make an anonymous report that will advise of a troublespot, a bully or a victim.
- offer support and friendship to the victim. Encourage the victim to get help through staff, family or a prefect.
What can you do if you are Bullied?
- As the victim, you are the one who should take action most strongly.
- Try not to retaliate by becoming a physical or verbal bully yourself.
- Try to ignore the bullying. If you show that you are not upset, the bully may stop.
- Tell the bully to “quit it” or “get lost” or “cut it out”.
- Laugh it off, use humour.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about it with your friends or family.
- Leave the area and go directly to a responsible adult.
- Talk to some of the other students at school, your SRC representative or the College prefects. They may help you decide how to handle the situation.
- Establish a friendship network.
- Be smart about avoiding high risk places and times.
There are many adults at school who want to help you too; perhaps you could talk to your teachers, your Year Master, the College Counsellors, or the Chaplain. They can help you decide how to handle the situation and they can take action.
Remember, we are on your side. We take bullying seriously and want to stop it.
There must be clear consequences for bullying and, if a student is found to be bullying, then he could expect some of the following responses or sanctions:
- written records being kept on the student’s file and in the College Bullying Register.
- stern warnings accompanied by a formal letter to the student and parents.
- monitoring behaviour by use of the Student Levels.
- consultation with parents.
- reparations for any damage caused.
- detentions and community service.
- referral to the Pastoral Care Co-ordinator, Deputy Headmaster and/or the Headmaster.
- counselling and behaviour modification programmes.
- exclusion from privileges.
- suspension from school, resuming only on the condition that a formal contract is signed undertaking to cease all bullying behaviour.
Those who bully or harass others are themselves in need of help. This could be by way of assistance with behaviour modification strategies, counselling and the provision of very clear boundaries.
PARENTS – YOU CAN HELP!
As parents you are the most influential models for your son
- in what your son does at school.
- in your son’s social, sporting and cultural life.
Build a welcoming and tolerant home environment
- encourage your son to bring friends home.
- accept and tolerate differences in others.
Encourage your son’s self esteem
- value your son for who he is.
- be positive in the things you say and do.
- nurture your son’s positive qualities.
Discuss social, community and relationship issues openly
- discuss the College’s expectations about behaviour.
- discuss how your son could best respond if bullied.
- discuss what your son could do as a witness to bullying.
Be observant. Look out for tell-tale signs such as
- unwillingness to attend school.
- declining academic performance.
- loss of self confidence.
- loss of interest in social events.
Your son may be reluctant to talk over such matters with parents because they fear that decisions will be taken out of their hands. It is important to create trust by respecting your son’s right to judge what action to take.