STATEMENT OF INTENT
- Rondebosch East Primary School is committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all learners so they can learn in a relaxed and secure atmosphere that fosters knowledge and promotes respect.
- Bullying of any kind is unacceptable at Rondebosch East Primary School and will not be tolerated under any circumstances.
OBJECTIVES OF THIS POLICY
- This policy outlines the REPS’ position on bullying, establishes the procedures and processes for responding to bullying incidents and sets out what outcomes and consequences may be pursued by the School when bullying occurs.
- In particular, this policy aims to facilitate the following:
- Support the implementation of other school rules, together with the School’s Code of Conduct for Learners, policies and programmes, so that a caring, friendly and safe environment for all Learners can be created;
- Assist in creating a climate in which the Governing Body of the School, educators, non-teaching staff and learners are informed about bullying, understand the various types of bullying that can occur and are empowered to report and act against it.
- Assist in creating a climate in which parents and caregivers are informed about bullying, understand the various types of bullying that can occur and are empowered to report and act against it.
- Establish the framework and procedures for addressing and preventing bullying consistently and effectively.
WHAT IS BULLYING?
- Bullying is the repeated singling out and deliberately hurting or harming a learner with the aim of hurting or harming them physically or psychologically. Bullying results in pain and distress for the victim.
- Bullying can occur in many different forms, including the following:
- Physical bullying: This includes hitting, pushing, slapping, tripping, pulling someone’s hair, as well as forcibly removing another learner’s belongings;
- Verbal bullying: This includes verbal threats, insults, ridiculing, name-calling and making racist or sexist slurs;
- Non-verbal Bullying: This includes writing messages, letters or graffiti, or distributing pictures or videos, that shame, hurt or damage a learner’s reputation;
- Social bullying: This includes gossiping, spreading rumours, leaving people out of social activities on purpose and breaking up friendships;
- Sexual Bullying: This includes passing inappropriate notes or pictures, making inappropriate jokes or taunts and starting rumours of a sexual nature. This can also include uninvited touching and forced sexual behaviour.
- Cyber Bullying: This includes using the internet, cellphones or other electronic technologies to insult and harass learners, spread rumours about learners, damage the reputation of learners and spread harmful videos and pictures.
- Different forms of bullying can overlap and occur simultaneously.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ADDRESSING AND PREVENTING BULLYING
- Bullying hurts. Everybody has the right to be treated with respect. No one deserves to be a victim of bullying.
- Bullying also undermines the ability of learners to learn and the ability of teachers to teach.
- Learners need to be empowered with the knowledge and skills to address and prevent bullying.
- The School is responsible for ensuring that learners who are bullied receive appropriate support and assistance.
- The School is also responsible for disciplining the perpetrators of bullying and supporting them in learning different and appropriate ways of behaving.
RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF LEARNERS
Every learner in the School has the right to:
- Learn, work and play without fear of being hurt physically or emotionally;
- Be happy and fee to play with friends;
- Feel a sense of belonging, acceptance and friendship;
- Be included in class and other school-related activities;
- Be treated politely and with respect by others; and
- Ask for bullying to stop and ask for help if it does not.
Every learner has the responsibility to:
- Be respectful, friendly and caring towards others without discrimination;
- Co-operate with others in school-related activities;
- Report behaviour that may constitute bullying; and
- Encourage other learners to carry out responsibilities in terms of the policy.
RESPONSIBILITES OF EDUCATORS AND OTHER STAFF MEMBERS
- Every educator and staff member of the School has theresponsibility to:
- Treat learners with dignity and respect and always act in the best interests of learners;
- Help create a bully-free school environment where every learner, educator and staff member is treated with respect;
- Monitor learners’ behaviour in the classroom and on the school premises and to note and investigate behaviour that my constitute bullying;
- Intervene immediately and appropriately in cases where bullying is suspected;
- Report all bullying incidents for further action;
- Assist the School to provide appropriate support to learners who are bullied; and
- Assist the School to support learners who are perpetrators of bullying in learning different and appropriate ways of behaving.
RESPONSIBILITES OF PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS
Every parents and caregiver has the responsibility to:
- Report suspected bullying when it occurs;
- Support the School in its efforts to address and prevent bullying; and
- Help equip learners with the knowledge and skills required to address and prevent bullying.
RESPONSIBILITES OF THE GOVERNING BODY
- The SGB has the responsibility to:
- Deal decisively with bullying as and when it occurs;
- Ensure that procedures and processes are followed consistently and fairly; and
- Initiative and manage formal disciplinary procedures in line with the South African Schools Act where necessary and appropriate.
PROCEDURES TO BE FOLLOWED WHEN BULLYING OCCURS
- Educators are responsible for addressing minor incidents of bullying or other forms of minor but undesirable conduct that occur in the classroom and/or on the school premises. Learners should report these types of incidents to educators in charge or on duty at the time.
- More serious incidents of bullying should be reported to the school principal for further action.
- Once a serious incident is reported to the school principal, he/she should:
- Interview separately the learners involved and witnesses to establish what happened;
- Inform the learners’ parents or caregivers of the incident and call a meeting with such parents or caregivers to discuss the incident and the way forward;
- Determine the appropriate intervention and sanctions;
- Report the incident to the Governing Body of the School where appropriate;
- Provide the learner who was bullied with the necessary help and support, including but not limited to referrals to counselling and other special services where necessary and appropriate; and
- Monitor the learners responsible for the incident to ensure that the bullying in question does not escalate; and
- Create a written record of the incident and the steps that were taken to address the matter. This record should be used when monitoring the learners concerned and when making any further interventions (as the case may be).
POSSIBLE OUTCOMES AND CONSEQUENCES
- The School’s response to all incidents of bullying will be sensitive to and guided by what is in the best interests of all learners concerned.
- Any consequences to an incident of bullying will be determined having due regard to the severity of the bullying, the age of the learners involved and the history of the incident.
- The School will ensure that, as far as possible, all consequences to an incident of bullying are rehabilitative in nature and directed at addressing problematic behaviour.
- Possible consequences to an incident of bullying could include any or more of the following in no particular order:
- Verbal or written reprimands and/or warnings;
- Requiring the learner(s) responsible for the bullying incident to apologize verbally or in writing to the learner who was bullied;
- Establishing a behavioral contract between the School and the learner(s) responsible for the bullying incident;
- Isolation from other learners;
- Brief period of suspension (in school or out-of-school);
- Referral to a counsellor;
- Brief withdrawal of privileges;
- Additional work related to the incident;
- Community service or school-based chores; and/or
- A formal disciplinary process.