What is bullying?
Bullying is behaviour by an individual or group, repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally.
Bullying can take many forms such as name calling, taunting, mocking, making offensive comments, kicking, hitting, pushing, taking belongings, sending offensive or degrading images by phone or via the internet, producing offensive graffiti, gossiping, excluding people from groups and spreading hurtful and untruthful rumours.
Students at St Andrew the Apostle Greek Orthodox School have summed this up as:-
Bullying is the deliberate act of upsetting an individual or putting them under undue stress.
For example, physical or verbal abuse, ignoring someone, taking or destroying his or her property. Bullying may include racist, homophobic, sexist comments or taunting about appearance, ability or a particular special need. Bullying may take many forms including the use of mobile phones or the internet (cyber-bullying)
Incidents could fall in the following categories and are repeated acts of behaviour –
- Any kind of behaviour that the victim is frightened to report.
- Bodily contact, which is aggressive and hurtful and is given without provocation.
- Persistent name-calling.
- Physical assault on persons and/or their property
- Persistent teasing.
- Any form of extortion.
- Persistent intimidation e.g. pushing and nudging.
Specific Types of Bullying
Bullying Related to Race, Religion or Culture
Some surveys across the UK have found that a high proportion of bullied students have experienced racist or faith-based bullying. Recent political and social issues also appear to have been a factor in bullying and harassment. There is research to support the suggestion that where black and minority ethnic (BME) children experience bullying, it is more likely to be severe bullying.
Bullying related to special educational needs and disabilities
Children and young people with SEN and disabilities are more at risk of bullying than their peers. Public bodies have new responsibilities to actively promote equality of opportunity for all disabled people and eliminate disability-related harassment. Children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, whether in mainstream or special schools, do not always have the levels of social confidence and competence and the robust friendship bonds that can protect against bullying.
Bullying related to appearance or health conditions
Those with health or visible medical conditions, such as eczema, may be more likely than their peers to become targets for bullying behaviour. Perceived physical limitations, such as size and weight and other body image issues can result in bullying.
Bullying related to sexuality
Evidence of homophobic bullying suggests that children and young people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered (trans) person (or perceived to be) face a higher risk of victimisation than their peers. Homophobic bullying is perhaps the form of bullying least likely to be self-reported, since disclosure carries risks not associated with other forms of bullying. People do not have to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans to suffer homophobic bullying. This bullying not only impacts on the individual person, but on their families and others perceived to be from that same group. It may be based on gender stereotyping.
Bullying of young carers or looked-after children, or otherwise linked to home circumstances
Children may be made vulnerable to bullying by the fact that they provide care to someone in their family with an illness, disability, mental health or substance misuse problem. Young carers may be taking on practical and emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult. Research has highlighted the difficulties young carers face, including risks of ill-health, stress and tiredness, especially when they care through the night. Many feel bullied or isolated. Children in care may also be vulnerable to bullying for a variety of reasons, such as they’re not living with their birth parents or because they have fallen behind in their studies. Some students are heavily influenced by their communities or homes where bullying and abuse may be common. Some bullying at school may arise from trauma or instability at home related to issues of domestic violence or bereavement or from the experience of being part of a refugee family. Siblings of vulnerable children may themselves be the subject of bullying by association.
Sexist or Sexual bullying
Sexist and sexual bullying affects both genders. Boys may be victims as well as girls, and both sexes may be victims of their own sex. Sexual bullying may be characterised by name calling, comments and overt “looks” about appearance, attractiveness and emerging puberty. In addition, uninvited touching, innuendos and propositions, pornographic imagery or graffiti may be used.
Cyberbullying is a “method” of bullying, rather than a “type” of bullying. It includes bullying via text message; via instant messenger services and social network sites; via email; and via images or videos posted on the internet or spread via mobile phone. It can take the form of any of the previously discussed types of bullying – i.e. technology can be used to bully for reasons of race, religion, sexuality, disability etc. Though the evidence base is narrow, UK studies indicate that around 20% of children and young people have suffered cyberbullying. Unlike other forms of bullying, cyberbullying can affect a child for 24 hours a day and invade their personal space and even enter the ‘safe’ home environment.
At St Andrew the Apostle Greek Orthodox school staff, parents and children work together to create a happy, caring, learning environment. Bullying be it verbal, physical or indirect is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. It is everyone’s responsibility to aim to prevent occurrences of bullying behaviour and to deal with any incidents quickly and effectively.
Bullying behaviour can be brought to the attention of staff either by the pupils who are affected, their friend(s), their parent(s) or other interested parties.
- The school will provide a safe and caring environment. All staff will be aware of their duty of care towards students and the need to promote well-being.
- Bullying is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Students will understand through assemblies, bulletins and in activities delivered in PSHCE and across the school curriculum that there is a zero tolerance approach to bullying behaviour.
- All reports of bullying will be taken seriously. Staff will know that they must act on instances of bullying which are brought to them and must involve the Head of Year and Senior staff where necessary and appropriate.
- Everyone will be listened to, will know it is “OK” to tell, who to tell and how.
The ethos of the school will discourage any form of bullying behaviour and encourage good relations through the following measures:
- The Anti- Bullying Pledge – signed by all Team Groups
- The use of CCTV cameras.
- The school’s Code of Conduct
- Student guidance and mentoring.
- Display material in rooms/public spaces
- Vigilance of all e.g. duties, on time to lessons, general presence.
- Staffed sanctuary at lunchtimes for vulnerable students.
- 1: 1 support as appropriate.
- Guidance to both students and parents in relation to the use of IT and mobile phones
- Within the PSHCE curriculum, and other curriculum areas there will be a commitment to teaching and exploring the impact of bullying. This will help to:
- Raise awareness about bullying behaviour, its effect on emotional health and well-being, and how it will be combated.
- Develop personal and social skills through the promotion of friendship skills, assertiveness skills, conflict resolution and problem solving skills, communication skills and the exploration of spiritual and moral values.
- Build and maintain self-esteem.
- Promote positive role models and positive pupil/staff relationships.