The aim of the policy is to prevent bullying of any sort at WASHK. We intend to promote a culture of kindness and one in which the entire school community stands against bullying in all its forms, thus ensuring that all members of the school can operate in a supportive, caring and safe environment without fear of being bullied. All members of the community, including teaching and non-teaching staff, pupils and parents should have an understanding of what bullying is and be familiar with the School policy on bullying: therefore the aim of the policy is to help members of the school community to deal with bullying when it occurs and, even more importantly, to prevent it. Bullying is an anti-social behaviour which affects everyone; it is unacceptable and it will not be tolerated. Everyone in our community has a responsibility to report any incident of bullying that comes to their attention through the correct channels as described below. Reports of bullying will always be taken seriously.
This policy is available on the school website, the shared staff area on the School network and on request from the Deputy Head. It should be read in conjunction with the following policies:
The Terms and Conditions
Definition of Bullying
Bullying may be defined as any deliberately hurtful behaviour, usually but not exclusively repeated over a period of time, which intentionally hurts another pupil or group physically or emotionally. This policy recognises that it is often difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves. Bullying is often motivated by prejudice. Examples of unacceptable bullying behaviour may include:
Verbal abuse, by name calling, teasing or making offensive remarks;
Online abuse, which is defined as the use of ICT by an individual or group in a way
that is intended to upset others. Examples may include, but are not limited to, using social websites, mobile phones, text messaging, photographs, video and e-mail;
Indirect emotional tormenting. Typical examples would be excluding from social groups or spreading malicious rumours.
Bullying may involve complicity that falls short of direct participation by, for instance, manipulating a third party to tease or torment someone. Bullying may be overt and intimidatory but is often hidden and subtle. It can include actions or comments that are racist, religious or cultural or which focus on disabilities or other physical attributes (such as hair, colour or body shape) or any reference to social status, Special Educational Needs and/or disability.
The seriousness of bullying cannot be emphasised enough and is among the highest concerns that parents have about their children’s safety and wellbeing. Bullying is also a primary concern of children and young people themselves. Bullying makes the lives of its victims a misery: it undermines their confidence and self-esteem and destroys their sense of security. Bullying impacts on its victims’ willingness to attend and attain at school. Bullying marginalises those pupils who may be particular targets for bullies and can have a life-long negative impact on some young people’s lives. Bullying can be psychologically damaging.
The School recognises that bullies may have complex reasons for their behaviour and may well need help too. It should also be recognised that the consequences of being allowed to continue with their bullying behaviour can be as detrimental to them as to their victims. All pupils deserve the opportunity to be helped to understand what acceptable behaviour is. Pupils are educated through our PSHE lessons, assemblies, and the wider curriculum and culture to:
Raise awareness of bullying;
Celebrate the differences between people;
Understand the importance of avoiding prejudice;
Understand the laws of Hong Kong that apply to harassment, discrimination, assault and threatening behaviour.
The School recognises that sometimes group dynamics can lead to negative behaviour. In such situations we aim to educate the group around appropriate, healthy and positive behaviour.
Pupils who are being bullied may show changes in behaviour, such as becoming shy and nervous, feigning illness, taking unusual absences or clinging to adults. There may be evidence of changes in work patterns, lacking concentration or absence from school.
Members of staff and all members of the school community must be alert to the signs of bullying. Neutral by-standing in the case of known bullying situations is not an acceptable option for any member of the school community.
What to do:
The way to stamp out bullying is for people to be aware of the issues involved, and to be clear in their own minds what action to take should cases arise.
If you are the victim:
If you feel able to, make the bully aware that you think that what he/she is doing is wrong.
Share your feelings with someone else.
If possible, talk to your Teacher, the Deputy Head or any other member of Staff about the incident.
If you would rather not go straight to a member of staff, talk to your friends or any trusted adult. They may well be able to advise on an appropriate course of action, or will be able to involve other people who can.
Procedure if a pupil should witness bullying behaviour:
Support the victim by offering your friendship and make it clear that in your opinion what is happening to them is wrong.
Courageously report the bullying behaviour or accompany the victim to a trusted adult.
Procedure for members of staff should you witness an incident of bullying or it is reported to you:
Reassure and support the pupils involved.
Advise them that you are required to pass details on to the Class Teacher or the Deputy Head.
Inform the appropriate colleague as soon as possible.
Any member of staff involved in dealing with a case of bullying will inform the Headmaster.
The Headmaster will keep a central log of all recorded bullying incidents of all complaints or incidences of bullying and record the way in which they were dealt.
What Will Happen?
The victim will be interviewed by their Class Teacher or the Deputy Head and asked to write or describe an immediate account of events. The process for dealing with bullying will be explained clearly to them. The victim is also given the opportunity to discuss his own reactions and behaviour towards the bully. The victim is given support and advice and counselling is suggested if deemed appropriate.
Once the Class Teacher and/or Deputy Head are clear that a bullying offence has been committed, the bully and any others involved will be interviewed individually and asked to write an immediate account of events. The process for dealing with bullying will be explained clearly to them.
Details of the incident may be recorded in pupils’ files. In the first instance, and depending on the severity of the case. Usually the Class Teacher and/or Deputy Head will interview the pupil or pupils whose behaviour has caused distress and give them a warning, making it clear that any further incident (or discussion about the current incident) would be considered to be further bullying. It will be made clear why the behaviour was inappropriate and unacceptable. Support and counselling may be offered. A commensurate punishment will also be given.
If it is appropriate, or it is a pupil’s second offence, the Deputy Head will become involved. Sanctions may be applied in accordance with the School’s Behaviour Policy.
In cases of repeated bullying the Headmaster may Suspend or Exclude a pupil. (Refer to the School’s Terms and Conditions).
Incidents of reported bullying will be followed up by Class Teachers, to monitor that the problem has been resolved. The Headmaster’s Record of Bullying Incidents will be reviewed by the SMT Half-Termly, to identify any concerning patterns of bullying behaviour and to check that the policy is effective.