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Belridge Senior High School Bullying Policy Information.

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1 Belridge Senior High School Bullying Policy Information

2 It is important to realise that bullying cannot always be resolved in a matter of a couple of days. In fact, some bullying experts suggest that if the matter cannot be resolved in one school term (10 weeks), it may well be advisable for the ‘victim’ to look at changing schools, to avoid their antagoniser. (Bullying Solutions - Evidence-based approaches to bullying in Australian schools. McGrath and Noble) This statement shows the complexity involved in resolving a bullying complaint, and the challenges that the school community faces in combating this serious issue.

3 How can I tell if my child is being bullied? If your child is exhibiting the following behaviours – they may be a victim of bullying or intimidation. Anxious, insecure, cries Cautious, sensitive, quiet Has a low self-esteem May be over-weight or under-weight and as a consequence feels unattractive Has a negative view of self Looks upon themself as a failure Feels lonely or abandoned Has few good friends May be physically weaker

4 How can I help? Encourage your child to discuss the situation (there may be other reasons for such behaviours that may need to be addressed) Take the situation seriously, but try not to over-react Discuss the situation with school staff Be aware that your child may not be telling the whole story Encourage your child to be assertive – stand tall and look the bully in the eye. Teach your child to be assertive in the way that they speak to the bully. Encourage them to seek help (through the school psychologist) in being assertive.

5 What if my child is being a bully? Make sure that they realise that their bullying behaviour is serious and it will not be tolerated. Be consistent in your rules and disciplining. Work towards making your child feel appreciated and valued. Give praise and show appreciation when your child lives up to your expectations. Outline the ‘pay-off’ for positive behaviour and the ‘cost’ of inappropriate behaviour. Work with the school to help your child learn appropriate ways of interacting with their peers.

6 Belridge’s Action Plan Belridge takes a pro-active approach to bullying. All of our strategies are supported by current anti-bullying advice from experts. Early in Year 8, students are introduced to the successful Bully Busters Program, through a drama performance that demonstrates the various types of bullying and the impact it can have on both the victim and the bully. Students discuss the issue of bullying with their Peer Leaders as part of the 8’s Mates program, and are given advice about how to deal with bullying and who to approach for help.

7 The school takes a “no blame” approach to bullying - utilising a number of strategies to resolve the issue. The antagoniser is counselled about the effect of their actions, whilst the ‘victim’ is offered resilience strategies - to allow him/her to work through their feelings and how to manage potential future bullying situations. This is a strategy supported by the most recent anti-bullying research. It allows the ‘victim’ to speak up without fear of reprisal from the bully (a common concern) and teaches the bully appropriate behaviours - solving the problem in the long term.

8 Members of the Student Services team (such as Year Coordinators, Head of Student Services, School Psychologist, Chaplain and Nurse) are available to deal with bullying concerns. Students, parents and peers are encouraged to report any incidents of bullying so that they can be acted on immediately. Teachers are notified about bullying concerns, and are asked to monitor the situation and report any incidents immediately to the the appropriate member of the Student Services team, They employ additional classroom management strategies to ensure that opportunities for bullying are minimised, allowing for the victim to feel safe in the classroom. Strategies Employed by the School

9 Students are encouraged to undertake mediation sessions, where all parties gather to discuss the bullying and to reach an understanding. Year 8 students have a designated safe zone that is exclusively for Year 8 students. Safe zones can be implemented for students who are feeling vulnerable during break times; the library and Student Services building are places where staff are permanently on duty, and can provide a ‘safe haven’ whilst the issue is being resolved. Other areas can be established depending on circumstances. Parents of the student exhibiting bullying behaviour are notified, and encouraged to support the school in modifying the behaviours.

10 Bullying is an issue with which all schools deal. Schools have a duty of care to develop effective strategies to address bullying and minimise its harmful effects. What is bullying? Whilst it is difficult to define bullying – a working definition has been outlined in Bullying Solutions - An Evidence-based Approach To Bullying In Australian Schools as “a student being exposed, repeatedly and over time, to intentional injury or discomfort inflicted by one or more students. This may include physical contact, verbal abuse, making obscene gestures or facial expressions, and intentionally excluding the child. (It is) an imbalance of power or strength in which one child is victimised by others.”

11 Resources Available We have a number of books available for parent loan that deal with the issue of bullying; Bullying Solutions - An Evidence-based Approach To Bullying In Australian Schools by Helen McGrath & Toni Noble New Perspectives on Bullying by Ken Rigby Confronting Bullying by Roxanne Henkin Our School Psychologist and Head of Student Services can work with students to build resilience and can recommend outside agencies for further assistance.

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