Bullying Policy

Rationale
Our school has a zero tolerance to bullying.  Our staff is committed to ensuring a safe and supportive environment which promotes personal growth and development.

Each person brings their own unique qualities to our school, therefore all members of our Gingin District High School community are committed to treating each other with care and respect and accepting individual differences.

Bullying is a learnt behaviour which is unacceptable and can be successfully changed.  Schools take an educative approach to managing and preventing bullying. Our school’s processes and activities promote the development of the values and behaviours that create and maintain inclusive, safe and supportive education environments.

Definition
Our school accepts and uses the nationally agreed definition of “Bullying” defined through the Safe and Supportive School Communities Working Group:

“Bullying is an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that causes physical and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power over one or more persons. Bullying can happen in person or online, and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert).

Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders. 

Some conflicts between children are a normal part of growing up and are to be expected.  Single incidents and conflict or fights between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying. However, these conflicts still need to be addressed and resolved.

Behaviours that do not constitute bullying include:

  • mutual arguments and disagreements (where there is no power imbalance);
  • not liking someone or a single act of social rejection;
  • one-off acts of meanness or spite;
  • isolated incidents of aggression, intimidation or violence.

Online bullying (sometimes referred to as cyberbullying) is bullying carried out through the internet or mobile devices.”

Cyberbullying
The definition of Cyber-Bullying is taken from the Safe and Supportive School Communities Working Group:

“Online bullying (also referred to as cyberbullying) can be conducted in many ways, using different media including:

  • the sending of abusive texts or emails;
  • taking and sharing unflattering or private images, including naked or sexual images;
  • posting unkind messages or inappropriate images on social networking sites;
  • excluding individuals from online chats or other communication;
  • assuming the identity of the victim online and representing them in a negative manner or manner that may damage their relationship with others;
  • repeatedly, and for no strategic reason, attacking players in online gaming.

While online bullying is similar to real life bullying it also differs in the following ways:

  • it can be difficult to escape and invasive—it can occur 24/7 and a person can be targeted while at home;
  • it can involve harmful material being widely and rapidly disseminated to a large audience, for example, rumours and images can be posted on public forums or sent to many people at once;
  • it can provide the bully with a sense of relative anonymity and distance from the victim, so there is a lack of immediate feedback or consequences.”

Mostly, cyber-bullying occurs outside school.  The school cannot be responsible for student behaviour outside of school, but will deal with issues that impact within the school (e.g. conflict that arises from cyberbullying, or well-being issues for students).

Please refer to our mobile phone policy which articulates consequences for misuse of phones or other devices in school.

Our Approach to Bullying:
Gingin District High School adopts the following strategies to ensure the school has a whole-school approach to achieving a positive and harmonious environment:

  • Whole‑School Prevention Strategies – such as effective supervision and teacher visibility;
  • Preventive whole‑school classroom strategies – such as developing resilience;
  • Playground strategies – such as wearing high visibility vests and communicating issues;

What happens when a Bullying Incident occurs?

  1. The student is interviewed to find out what has happened.
  2. Details of incidents will be recorded in a Bullying Intervention Record.
  3. The Teacher/Leadership Team will determine the most appropriate level of intervention from Level 1 to Level 4.
  4. When problem involves a number of incidents or other individuals the school will investigate further and mediate between those involved.
  5. The school uses a process of Restorative Practice; we try to develop empathy and resilience while providing students with better ways to deal with the problem.

Parents can support the school by encouraging children to work in a positive way with their class and school peers, and by encouraging their children to report incidents of bullying to a teacher or administrator.

 

Levels of Bullying
Level 1 – Minor incidents

Level 2 – referred to a Year Coordinator or Leadership Team.  Higher level of harm and are repeated or targeted

Level 3 Incidents – Incidents of this type occur where there is significant physical, psychological or emotional harm to a student.

Level 4 Incidents – Where the bullying reaches the level of a ‘Critical Incident’, as defined by the Department of Education Critical Incident Policy, the incident will be referred to other agencies for resolution.

Interventions including consequences will be applied based on the level of bullying.  See our comprehensive Behaviour Management Policy on our website for further information.

Communication and Confidentiality
Sometimes, for confidentiality reasons, parents and students may not always see these programs and/or activities being implemented.  The school is bound under the Education Act to keep information about students confidential, except to their parents.  While this is sometimes frustrating for parents, it protects all students in the school.

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