What is bullying?
Bullying is when someone keeps doing or saying things to have power over another person.
Some of the ways in which people bully others are repeatedly: calling them names, saying or writing nasty things about them, leaving them out of activities, not talking to them, threatening them, making them feel uncomfortable or scared, taking or damaging their things, hitting or kicking them, or making them do things they don't want to do. Bullying is unacceptable behaviour which makes the person being bullied feel afraid, sad or uncomfortable. Bullying can affect adults in the workplace as well as students.
KISU Bullying policy
In my past few leadership roles I have often said to prospective parents that if they ever visit a school where the Headteacher tells them that there is no bullying in their school, they should turn around and walk back out of the door and find somewhere else to school their children.
The sad fact is that there is some bullying in all schools. The temptation to bully others is part of the human condition because one of the most powerful motivators behind our words and actions is the desire to be socially secure and accepted, or to advance our social status in some way at the expense of others. This is as true of adults as it is of children: there will be many among you parents who have now, or have previously had, experiences with colleagues or line managers where they have abused their position of authority or social status to make you unhappy or to undermine you in some way.
Children’s sense of empathy is still developing so the need for there to be thoughtful education, clear systems and careful monitoring is paramount. Something else I have often found myself saying in my career, but this time to teachers, is that there is absolutely nothing that we do in our wonderful profession that is more important than looking after the health, safety and happiness of the children entrusted to us. And this last is so important…remember the great words of Thomas Jefferson and his colleagues….?
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”
Every child has the right, in my view, to be happy at school and schools must guard that right jealously. That said, remember where we started: bullying will occur. The important things are:
· that students and teachers are thoughtfully educated about what bullying is
· that a school works hard to help students develop as caring and empathetic young people
· that students and teachers are vigilant for any bullying and know how to respond
· that there are robust policies and procedures in place to deal with bullying quickly and effectively
· that a school recognizes that the vast majority of bullies were once victims of bullying themselves and that education is the most effective way of changing their behaviour
· that a school will not waiver from applying the severest sanctions if a bully persists in his or her behaviour
This week in secondary school, children are beginning to feedback to us about their experiences of bullying at KISU in our Bullying Survey and something similar will also occur in primary school in due course. By its very nature bullying tends to take place in the dark corners and secret places and so unless one is pro-active in seeking it out, it can go unnoticed. This is even more so the case when we have the multitude of social media apps that we use to communicate with each other in the modern world.
We recently collated a list of all of the various approaches that we take at KISU to helping prevent and tackle bullying; it ran to some 22 bullet points and I am sure is not exhaustive. However, we do not fool ourselves for one minute; the results of our survey will undoubtedly help us to identify areas in which we could be doing even more.
And you can help us…..
Please trust us to deal with any concerns you have about how your child or another in our school is being treated. Refer to your parent handbook for guidance on how to go about things but essentially, just make sure that you tell one of us about your concerns.