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Anti-Cyber Bullying

Introduction

Definition of Cyber-Bullying

Cyber-Bullying is any action that uses information and communication technologies to harm
other people in a deliberate, repeated and hostile manner. It is aggressive behaviour
conducted by an individual or a group against others - via electronic means or via exclusion
from electronic communities. Cyber bullying includes (but is not limited to) the use of mobile
phones and the internet with the objective of causing upset, hurt, fear, embarrassment,
humiliation, alarm and/or distress to one or more persons. It may take the form of general
insults or impersonation, defamation or prejudice based bullying.


Scope

Cyber-Bullying has become more prevalent in recent times and can be very damaging to 

individuals, and disruptive to school life. Though new technology brings incredible
opportunities for educators as well as young people, it is crucial that everyone knows how to
use this technology responsibly and that policies are in place to support and encourage
responsible use. St Mary’s College already has anti-bullying policies and procedures in place
but cyber-bullying presents new challenges not encompassed in these policies. This
document is aimed at combating cyber-bullying and should be read in conjunction with the
Anti-Bullying Policy of St Mary’s College.
While this policy addresses issues related to cyber-bullying of students (i.e. situations in
which one or more students are the victim(s) of bullying), the policy also applies to teaching
and other school staff, parents/guardians, and others insofar as measures under the policy
relate to them.
This policy applies to activities and events that take place:
● During school time (including break times)
● Going to and from school
● School tours/trips
● Extra-curricular activities

St. Mary’s College acknowledges that while it is primarily the role of the parent/guardian to
address/help prevent cyber-bullying, the school reserves the right to take action against
bullying perpetrated outside the school which spills over into the school.

Objectives:

This policy aims to ensure that:
1. Students, staff and parents know about cyber bullying and its effects;

2. Each student’s right to enjoy her learning environment free from cyber-bullying while at
school and while involved in extra curricular activities is highlighted and protected as far as
possible;

3. Each staff member’s right to enjoy his/her work environment free from cyber-bullying
while at school and while involved in extra curricular activities is similarly highlighted and
protected as far as possible;

4. Members of the school community have the knowledge, policies and procedures to prevent
and, if necessary, to deal with cyber-bullying in school or within the school community;

5. Help and support is offered to victims of such bullying;
6. Persons involved in cyber-bullying are confronted and assisted in controlling and
understanding the consequences of their behaviour;

7. The school monitors the effectiveness of its procedures and amends them where necessary.

Relationship to characteristic spirit of the school (school’s mission/vision/aims)
St. Mary’s College is committed, to the extent permissible by available resources, to helping
members of the school community to enhance their learning experiences through the use of
modern technology. The school acknowledges that information and Communication
Technologies (ICT) can play an important role in supporting learning, but also that they can
be misused and can present risks.
The School aims to equip members of the school community with the skills and knowledge
needed to use these technologies in a safe and responsible manner and to assisting those who
encounter difficulties. The School also recognises that it must be vigilant towards bullying
perpetrated outside School which spills over into the School.
St. Mary’s College aims to create a caring environment where those in the school community
can work and learn without fear of being bullied. St. Mary’s College aims to educate and
inform its students as to how to use communications equipment responsibly and about the
serious consequences of cyber-bullying. The school will continue to inform and educate its
pupils in these fast changing areas.


Goals

1 To create a school ethos which encourages students to disclose and discuss incidents
of cyber-bullying behavior.
2 To raise awareness of cyber-bullying as an unacceptable form of behaviour with
school management, teachers, students, parents/guardians.
3 To ensure that the school’s Social, Personal and Health Education programme raises
awareness of the factors associated with cyber-bullying behaviour and develops
appropriate knowledge, skills and behaviours.
4 To take practical actions to prevent incidents of cyber-bullying behaviour e.g. to
ensure comprehensive supervision and monitoring measures through which all areas
of school activity are kept under observation.
5 To develop procedures for reporting and recording incidents of cyber-bullying
behaviour.
6 To develop procedures for investigating and dealing with incidents of cyber-bullying
behaviour.
7 To develop a programme of support for those affected by cyber-bullying behaviour
and those involved in cyber-bullying behaviour.
8 To work with, and through, the various local agencies in countering all forms of
cyber-bullying and anti-social behaviour.

Key Measures
● The Principal will act, or will appoint a staff member to act, as a Cyber-Safety
Officer, to oversee the practices and procedures outlined in this policy and monitor
their effectiveness.
● The Cyber-Safety Officer will ensure that the school maintains details of agencies and
resources that may assist in preventing and addressing bullying.
● Staff will be trained to identify signs of cyber bullying and will be helped to keep
informed about the technologies that children commonly use.

● A code of advice will be developed, periodically reviewed and communicated to help
students protect themselves from being involved in bullying (as perpetrator or as
victim) and to advise them on reporting any incidents.

● Students will be informed about cyber bullying in the course of their education at the
School.

 Students and staff are expected to comply with the school’s ICT policy on the use of
computers in the School. This is displayed prominently in the Computer Room and
the Code of Conduct is explained and discussed with pupils in assemblies, general
classes and IT classes.

● Parents will be provided with information and advice on cyber bullying.

Examples of Cyber-Bullying and Media used.
These guidelines provide assistance in identifying and describing the types of behavior
involved in cyber-bullying. The means of cyber-bullying are constantly changing and the
following list of types of bullying behaviour can be expanded in light of the experience of the
school community:
Hate sites
● Building websites that are dedicated to making fun out of someone.
● Encouraging other people to join the bullying by publishing someone’s
personal details or linking to their social network page.
Abusive messages
● Transmitting abusive and/or threatening messages.
Chat rooms and discussion forums
● Posting cruel and/or or abusive comments about someone.
Mobile phone
● Sending humiliating and abusive video messages or photographic images
messages.
● Making silent or abusive phone calls.
● Sending abusive text messages.
Interactive gaming
● Locking victims out of games.
● Spreading false rumours about someone
● Hacking into someone’s account.
Sending viruses
● Sending hacking programs to another person.
● Unauthorised interference with a computer device.
Abusing personal information
● Transmitting personal photos, videos emails

Blogs
Posting blogs where others could see them without the owner of the blog’s
permission.
Prevention and Response
The school informs students about cyber bullying and also takes available steps to counter
and respond to it.
The following measures represent the core of the School’s anti cyber-bullying activities:
● A positive school culture and climate;
● School-wide approach;
● Effective leadership;
● A shared understanding of what bullying is and its impact;
● Anti-bullying policies;
● Consistent recording of reported bullying behaviour;
● Education and training;
● Prevention strategies including awareness raising;
● Intervention strategies.

St. Mary’s College trains its staff to respond effectively to reports of cyber-bullying or
harassment and has systems in place to respond to it.
St. Mary’s College records all reported incidents of bullying behaviour including anonymous
bullying reports.
St. Mary’s College provides information on cyber-bullying to all members of the school
community.
St. Mary’s College engages prevention and awareness raising measures and implements
strategies to engage students in addressing problems when they see them.
St. Mary’s College is a “telling school”. If a member of the school community “speaks out”
and reports an incident of cyber-bullying appropriate action will be taken.
St. Mary’s College endeavours to block access to inappropriate web sites, using firewalls,
antivirus protection and filtering systems and no pupil is allowed to work on the internet in
the Computer Room, or any other location within the school which may from time to time be
used for such work, without a member of staff present.
St Mary’s College endeavours to prevent cyber-bullying through its code of behaviour where
the use of mobile phones on school grounds is prohibited. As a result, students are not
permitted to access the internet from their phones.
Whilst education and guidance remain at the centre of what we do, St Mary’s College
reserves the right to take action against those who take part in cyber-bullying.
St. Mary’s College supports victims and, when necessary, will work with the Gardaí and
other State agencies to identify those involved in criminal acts and to support victims.
St. Mary’s College will use, as appropriate, the full range of sanctions to correct, punish or
remove pupils who bully fellow pupils or harass staff in this way, both inside and outside the
school.
All members of the School community are aware they have a duty to bring to the attention of
the Principal any example of cyber-bullying or harassment that they know about or suspect.

GUIDANCE FOR STAFF

If you suspect or are told about a cyber-bullying incident, follow the protocol outlined below:

Mobile Phones
 Ask the pupil to show you the mobile phone
 Note clearly everything on the screen relating to an inappropriate text message or
image, to include the date, time and names
 Make a transcript of a spoken message, again record date, times and names
 Tell the pupil to save the message/image
 Go with the pupil and see the Principal.
Computers
 Ask the pupil to get up on-screen the material in question
 Ask the pupil to save the material
 Print off the offending material straight away
 Make sure you have got all pages in the right order and that there are no omissions
 Accompany the pupil, taking the offending material, to see the Principal.
 Normal procedures to interview pupils and to take statements will then be followed.


GUIDANCE FOR PUPILS

 If you believe you or someone else is the victim of cyber-bullying, you must speak to
an adult as soon as possible. This person could be a parent/guardian, your tutor, or
your teacher
 Do not answer abusive messages but log and report them
 Do not delete anything until it has been shown to your tutor or teacher,
parents/guardian or the Principal (even if it is upsetting, the material is important
evidence which may need to be used later as proof of cyber-bullying)
 Do not give out personal IT details
 Never reply to abusive e-mails
 Never reply to someone you do not know

GUIDANCE FOR PARENTS

 It is vital that parents and the school work together to ensure that all pupils are aware
of the serious consequences of getting involved in anything that might be seen to be
cyber-bullying. St. Mary’s College informs parents of the cyber-bullying policy and
the procedures in place to deal with cyber-bullying.
 Parents can help by making sure their child understands the school’s policy and,
above all, how seriously St Mary’s take incidents of cyber-bullying
 Parents should also explain to their children legal issues relating to cyber-bullying
 If parents believe their child is the victim of cyber-bullying, they should save the
offending material (if need be by saving an offensive text on their or their child’s
mobile phone) and make sure they have all relevant information before deleting
anything
 Parents should contact the Principal as soon as possible. A meeting can then be
arranged which may involve other relevant members of staff
 If the incident happens outside of school then the school reserves the right to take action
against bullying perpetrated outside the school which spills over into the school.


Ratification & Communication

This Anti-Cyber Bullying Policy has been ratified by the Board of Management on 16th day
of April 2013. Teachers, staff, parents and guardians will be involved in communicating and
implementing this policy. A copy of this policy will be uploaded to the school website.

Review

This policy will be reviewed annually from the date of ratification above and all noted reports
of Anti-Cyber Bullying will also be reviewed.

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