Anti-Bullying at SCAS

Anti-Bullying Initiative

St Columba Anglican School is committed to providing an environment that is safe, supportive and one that nurtures individual students to achieve his or her potential.

The School has the responsibility to foster an educational environment where every attempt is made to eliminate barriers to learning and where all students feel safe and valued. The School acknowledges that bullying does occur. Bullying behaviour is recognised as being anti-social and unacceptable and as such not only affects the victims of bullies and the perpetrators but also those who witness bullying. Left unchecked, bullying behaviours can have a profound long-term effect on the culture of a school.

St Columba aims to work with students, parents and teachers to prevent bullying, raise awareness and to encourage reporting. The Policy applies to all members of the school community which includes students, teaching and non-teaching staff, parents/caregivers and visitors to the School. It is the responsibility of all members of the community to support and promote our Anti-Bullying Policy.

The School aims to create a safe, supportive and caring environment free from intimidation, where difference is respected. The School will not tolerate any behaviour that contradicts this philosophy. Each student is of equal importance at St Columba. Students who bully, in any of its forms, or harass others and do not respond to behaviour management strategies, which may include counselling, could ultimately be asked to leave the School.

Anti-Bullying Policy

Bullying is the repeated and intentional behaviour of causing fear, distress or harm towards another person that involves an imbalance of power. It can involve humiliation, domination, intimidation, victimisation and harassment. In any bullying incident there are likely to be three parties involved: the bully, the person being bullied, and bystanders.

Bullying can take many forms including:

  1. Physical bullying which involves physical actions such as hitting, pushing, obstructing or being used to hurt or intimidate someone. Damaging, stealing or hiding personal belongings is also a form of physical bullying.
  2. Psychological bullying which is when words or actions are used to cause psychological harm. Examples of psychological bullying include name calling, teasing or making fun of someone because of their actions, appearance, physical characteristics or cultural background.
  3. Indirect bullying which is when deliberate acts of exclusion or spreading of untrue stories are used to hurt or intimidate someone.
  4. Cyber bullying which is the ongoing abuse of power to threaten or harm another person using technology. Cyber bullying can occur in chat rooms, on social networking sites, through emails or on mobile phones.

What Isn't Bullying?

There are many negative situations which, whilst being potentially distressing for students, are not bullying. These include:

  • Mutual Conflict Situations which arise where there is disagreement between students but not an imbalance of power. Mutual conflict situations need to be closely monitored as they may evolve into a bullying situation.
  • One-Off Acts (of aggression or meanness) including single incidents of loss of temper, shouting or swearing do not normally constitute bullying.

St Columba Anglican School recognises its duty to students to provide a safe and positive learning environment where individual differences and diversity within the School is respected and accepted. Bullying is not tolerated at St Columba Anglican School. It is our policy that:

  • bullying be managed through a ‘whole-of-School community’ approach involving students, staff and parents/caregivers
  • bullying prevention strategies are implemented within the School on a continuous basis with a focus on teaching age-appropriate skills and strategies to empower staff, students and parents/caregivers to recognise bullying and respond appropriately
  • bullying response strategies are tailored to the circumstances of each incident
  • staff establish positive role models emphasising our no-bullying culture
  • bullying prevention and intervention strategies are reviewed on an annual basis against best practice.

Bullying Prevention Strategies

St Columba Anglican School recognises that the implementation of whole-School prevention strategies is the most effective way of eliminating, or at least minimising incidents of bullying within our community. The following initiatives form part of our overall bullying prevention strategy and our strategy to create a ‘no-bullying’ culture within the School:

  • a structured curriculum and peer group support system, that provides age-appropriate information and skills relating to bullying (including cyber bullying) and bullying prevention, to students over the course of the academic year
  • awareness and professional development of staff in bullying prevention and response strategies
  • provision of information to parents/caregivers, to raise awareness of bullying as a School community issue to equip them to recognise signs of bullying, as well as to provide them with clear paths for raising any concerns they may have relating to bullying directly with the School
  • promotion of a supportive environment that encourages the development of positive relationships and communication between staff, students and parents/caregivers
  • promotion of responsible bystander behaviour amongst students, staff and parents/caregivers
  • reporting of incidents of alleged bullying by students, bystanders, parents/caregivers and staff are encouraged, and made easy through the establishment of multiple reporting channels (as specified below)
  • risk assessments of bullying within the School are undertaken by surveying students to identify bullying issues that may ordinarily go unnoticed by staff
  • records of reported bullying incidents are maintained and analysed in order to identify persistent bullies and/or victims and to implement targeted prevention strategies where appropriate
  • education of staff, students and parents/caregivers on health conditions to promote understanding and to reduce stigma and fear
  • anti-bullying posters are displayed strategically within the School.

Reporting Bullying

Students and their parents/guardians are sometimes reluctant to pursue bullying incidents, for fear that it will only make matters worse. A key part of the School's bullying prevention and intervention strategy is to encourage reporting of bullying incidents as well as providing assurance to students who experience bullying (and parents/caregivers) that: bullying is not tolerated within the School, their concerns will be taken seriously, the School has a clear strategy for dealing with bullying issues, follow-up communication is provided.

Bullying incidents can be advised to the School verbally or in writing through any of the following avenues: informing a trusted teacher, using the 'nobullying@scas.nsw.edu.au' email address, informing a student’s teacher or Director of Wellbeing, Head of School or the Principal.

Bullying behaviours vary enormously in their extent and intent and, as a consequence, each incident needs to be dealt with on its facts. In all circumstances the School:

  • takes bullying incidents seriously
  • provides assurance to the victim that they are not at fault and their confidentiality will be respected
  • takes time to properly investigate the facts including discussing the incident with the victim, the bully and any bystanders
  • takes time to understand any concerns of individuals involved
  • maintains records of reported bullying incidents
  • will escalate its response when dealing with persistent bullies and/or severe incidents.

Actions that may be taken when responding to bullying include:

  • The “Method of Shared Concern” Approach (Pikas)
  • The “No Blame” Approach (Maines & Robinson). These approaches may be used to intervene in group or relational bullying situations. They are only appropriate during the initial stages. They are not appropriate for persistent or severe bullying incidents.
  • notification of/consultation with parents/caregivers
  • offering counselling to persistent bullies/victims
  • implementing effective follow up strategies
  • disciplinary action, at the Principal’s discretion, including suspension and expulsion of persistent bullies, or in cases of severe incidents.
  • St Columba Anglican School staff will act promptly on complaints of bullying. All students and staff should be consistently vigilant and support students who are being excluded, teased or bullied.