Bullying Prevention and Response Policy
Policy Name: Bullying Prevention and Response Policy
Policy Adoption Date: 15/10/2019 (Review by 15/10/2020)
Rationale or Purpose:
The Tamariki School Board of Trustees seeks to take all reasonable steps to develop high standards of behaviour in order to fulfil the charter expectation and the requirements of NAG 5. The Board of Trustees seeks to foster and develop a safe, positive physical and emotional school environment that creates a climate of trust. Students, staff, parents and wh?nau share the responsibility for making Tamariki school a respectful and inclusive environment.
We are committed to ensuring that our school provides an environment where bullying behaviours are not tolerated. In accordance with point 3 of Tamariki’s Special Character Statement 3. “The children are deeply involved in creating and maintaining the social structures by which the school functions. This involves rule-making, and dispute resolution through the mechanism of whole school and small meetings, which, when called take priority over all other activities. The school rejects punishments as a source of control or a response to inappropriate behaviour.” “All members of our school community – Board of Trustees, school leaders, teachers, staff, students and parents and wh?nau should have an understanding of what bullying behaviour is; and know what to do when bullying does occur.”
In our environment bullying is defined in the following ways:
• Bullying is deliberate
• Bullying involves a power imbalance
• Bullying usually has an element of repetition
• Bullying is harmful
• Bullying behaviours can be physical, verbal, or social, and can take place in the physical world or digitally
• Bullying behaviour is not an individual action. It involves up to three parties; initiators (those doing the bullying), targets (those being bullied) and often bystanders (those who witness the bullying).
We recognise that real change happens when students, staff, parents, wh?nau and other members of the community share responsibility for making our school a respectful and inclusive environment In order to help this to happen we will:
• Regularly hold special character forums on the meeting system which involve Students, Caregivers, and Teachers to inform our community about our conflict resolution policies and procedures.
• Encourage students to call meetings when they are unhappy with a situation or call them on the students’ behalf if they are either unable or unwilling to call a meeting themselves
• Continue to informally train and help both new and young Chairpersons
• Highlight and discuss any incidences of bullying behaviour during our before school, Wednesday and Friday meetings
• As part of our Traffic Light process we will regularly monitor all incidents of bullying and establish a strategy to address these behaviours.
Bullying Response, for when bullying occurs:
• Use the “Bullying Assessment Matrix” as a whole staff when incidents of bullying behaviour are identified
• We will endeavor through enquiry to determine the needs, circumstances and underlying motives of “anyone who has been affected by, engaged in or witnessed bullying behaviour”
• All reported incidents of bullying will be taken seriously and followed up as appropriate an appropriate adult will support the affected students
• We will involve parents and wh?nau as early as possible and as appropriate
• More serious incidents will be investigated by management and we will seek advice about involvement from outside agencies
• We will provide appropriate support for targets, bystanders and initiators of bullying behaviour
• All of the aforementioned actions will be achieved through our school meeting system which is the model of Restorative Justice we use to solve all conflict within the school.
The Meeting system as it relates to bullying:
“The meeting system is a complex interplay of dynamics, which include the relationships between children, teachers, the values of the school, and the school’s Special Character, the different values and objectives of the children and staff.”
We recommend for new parents and new staff to take an observers role in their initial meetings, and if they are unsure of why/how a meeting progressed to discuss the meeting with the staff member who attended the meeting after the meeting.
The staff are expected to make many decisions within the meeting process, counter weighing many factors, such as:
• Their relationship with the child and how much trust has been established
• Their knowledge of the history /background knowledge of the child
• The staff discussions about any prior/similar situations/meetings and their outcomes
• The experience level of the chairperson
• Whether the participants are respecting the meeting process
• The age of the participants.
The chairperson has the ultimate responsibility for the meeting, the teacher does not have the right to overrule the chairperson’s decision.
Any person may challenge a meeting’s outcome and call another meeting to discuss the events of the previous meeting.
The one exception regarding overruling a meeting’s decision is when it is to do with a ‘Safety Matter,’ nor can they over-ride the special character of the school; “The principal has ultimate responsibility for the all safety rules.”
Meetings are compulsory
The meeting system is the backbone of the school and if a child is not prepared to regularly participate within the school’s process it is considered a serious matter, as this is a prime focus of our special character and how our school functions.
It is expected that any child or adult within the school community must come to a meeting if requested as soon as possible. In practice, we may delay a meeting to allow tempers to cool but refusing to attend a meeting is a very serious matter.
Guidelines for parents supporting a child at a meeting
Sometimes a parent might be asked to come into school to attend a meeting to either support or (sometimes) challenge their own child’s behaviours. This is often where there has been a serious incident, or to challenge a behaviour that has previously had many meetings called about it. The role of the parent in these meeting may be a more active role.
• For ‘standard’ meetings it is expected that the parents who attend the meeting would be there in the ‘Observer Role’
• Parents are there to support their child but not speak for their child in meetings, as this disempowers the child and the aim of the meeting is to empower the child to express themselves
• For meetings about serious incidents, if one student’s Caregiver/s is required or wishes to attend then it is important that the other student’s caregiver/s are in attendance as well
• It is important for the caregivers to be able to refrain from putting their own views into the meeting, but they can discuss the content of the meeting with their child and support them as needed after the meeting – or later on in the day
• Parents should understand that teachers may be privy to confidential information about the children in the meeting and this may affect the way teachers advise the Chairperson
• Parents need to know that ‘one meeting’ will not ‘fix’ a behaviour and that the meeting system is a process to facilitate change over time.
Refusing to come to meetings
If a child is outright refusing to be part of the school and come to meetings, sometimes a more formal stand-down process may be used. This may lead to suspension if a child totally refuses to participate in the school’s system and take responsibility for the behaviour. “Flexibility is given when the child is very young or new to the school.”
Stand-downs, suspensions and exclusions
Sometimes bullying can lead to a stand down, however this is at the discretion of the Principal and based on the specific circumstances. Only the Principal/ acting Principal of a school may stand down or suspend a student from the school, and this must happen as soon as information around the incident has been obtained through a meeting. The principal may decide to stand down or exclude a student when the student:
• consistently refuses to comply with meeting protocols including refusing to come to meetings, repeatedly refusing to follow consequences decided by a chairperson
• If there are repeated or extreme cases of violent behaviour.
In making their decision the Principal must ascertain the following in order to ensure the legal requirements for a stand down or exclusion are met.
• “Did the student’s behaviour constitute gross misconduct, continual disobedience or behaviour risking serious harm?
• If the incident was gross misconduct or continual disobedience, did it set a harmful or dangerous example to other students at school?
• What part did the student’s individual circumstances play?
• What action is appropriate in these circumstances? ”
MOE Recommendations if considering a stand down or exclusion
“Students who experience stand-downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsion from school are more likely to experience negative longer-term educational and health outcomes it is therefore it is important to use these options carefully and to balance the safety of those who are the targets of bullying behaviour with the need to support all young people to develop the skills needed to have healthy social relationships. In cases where stand-downs and exclusion processes need to be used they should always be part of a more comprehensive response ”
We recognise the importance of good communication between home and school to promote consistent messages and to ensure that any reported bullying can be recognised and responded to effectively. We will regularly raise the awareness of our school community’s approach to bullying through whole school meetings, community meetings, society Meetings and special character forums. We will communicate about these events and policy implementation to our wider school community will include reports to the Board of Trustees, school newsletters, and information (including this Bullying prevention policy) on the school’s website. We will make the policy available in multiple formats (in print, on the web, and in school notices and newsletters) and ensure it is translated into other languages as necessary.
Evaluation and Review
We will review this policy annually and revise as appropriate to ensure that the school's bullying prevention practices are relevant and are kept up to date.
The Traffic light process/’on-going systematic long-term tracking:
Each student is systematically reviewed twice a year in-depth with the staff discussing them, and taking notes. The staff can review what they have said previously and they discuss what growth, progress, skills they have noticed for each child. The staff also record notes about the student’s academic learning. The Staff discuss appropriate strategies to best support the student as an individual both socially and academically.
Tracking Learning at Tamariki means looking at a child as a whole person.
We focus strongly on creating deep, trusting relationships with the students and we aim to know who they are, and understand how they function.
When we refer to learning we mean learning in a broader sense and not just academic learning (although we do value this). We also mean their social learning:
• How do they go about making friendships?
• How do they ask to join in games? Do they have appropriate approach skills?
• How do they relate to other people?
• What is their emotional learning or awareness? Can they see another person's point of view?
• How do they manage stress?
• How do they respond if things don't go ‘their own way?’
This page was last modified on: 09 Nov 2020 16:04:32