When to the victims and their families and

When dealing with suspected and/or alleged bullying it is vital to follow the school’s policies and procedures in order to correctly support both child and families in cases of bullying incidents. Children and young adults have the right to know that they are protected by law and that there is support out there for them and their parents in case they are victims of bullying. In fact, they should be able to attend school and feel secure and protected and their school has the legal duty to keep them safe and ensure that any bullying is dealt with immediately and effectively. Each case of bullying is different, but every member of the school’s staff has to ensure that they give all possible support to the victims and their families and reassure them in such distressing situation. It is crucial that the members of staff work as a team and follow the anti-bullying school’s policy in order to resolve the problem of bullying. As said in the previous assessment, the aim of an anti-bullying policy is to provide a school environment where all children feel safe and can ask the adults for help when they feel threatened. This means that they understand that their possible unfair actions against their peers will be disciplined similarly to the adult society where illegal deeds have consequences. The most effective way to prevent bullying in schools is to make children aware of the fact that they do not have to put up with it and help is always at hand. In fact, school’s practitioners need to make sure that children are aware of this policy and the consequences if they humiliate or treat their peers unfairly.
If we notice bullying amongst the pupils, or if a child or a young person approaches us and discloses any kind of bullying, firstly we should offer our support and take into consideration how difficult it may have been for that child to have spoken to me in the first place. In fact, children who become victims of bullying may be afraid that the bullying will get worse and spread to a wider group because they have told. Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to the ridicule and ostracism inflicted on people who snitched. They may feel even more intimidated if there is a gang of children/young adults involved, and they can be worried about an adverse reaction from their parents. Children and especially adolescents don’t want to be seen as failure, and certainly don’t want to admit that they are unable to cope with difficulties. Many victims unfortunately lack the social skills and confidence to come forward and believe that nothing can be done about the bullying, or that in schools where the anti-bullying ethos is weak, nothing will be done. Ultimately, if they are unaware of previous successes of staff in relation to handling bullying incidents, they may not feel safe and confident about the school’s ability to intervene. It is therefore important to be sympathetic towards their feelings and praise the child for being brave enough to talk about the incident. For a small child in foundation stage it could be that someone had said something silly using an offensive “name” which can be dealt with easily. For older children and adolescents, bullying could be a more serious problem which can then be tackled by the teacher, the pastoral head or another member of staff. In both incidents, all children concerned should be monitored and certain steps of supervision need to be set in place by their peers.
Practitioners should remind them that they are not alone. Bullying leads to a loss of self-confidence, therefore by boosting children’s self-image we can encourage them to be more independent and value themselves and each other. This way they will not allow their peers to bully them or they will have enough confidence to ask adult’s protection if they are being bullied in any way. If we support the pupils’ resilience they will be able to manage their feelings and emotions, being more effectively capable to maintain their confidence even in these difficult situations. Teachers and teaching assistants have to be approachable, calm, objective: they should avoid displaying shock or disbelief, facilitate opportunities for discussion, encouraging and reassuring children and young adults as needed. We need to protect the privacy of the children; having a colleague present is usually recommended if possible, although some pupils may insist on talking to a teacher alone. A useful strategy in this case would be to leave the door open so that the teacher can be seen by people passing-by, while the victim of bullying remains unseen inside the room.
In case bullying is alleged, we need to discuss and negotiate confidentiality. In fact, we need to be clear about how we can protect the victim’s safety and privacy where possible. We also must take notes which will form the basis of a report for dealing with the incident and can be kept on file as part of the school’s bullying records. The notes should be descriptive, objective, and should avoid giving opinions. They must include details such as the nature of the incident, date, time, location, names of people involved, names of witnesses, and where possible any other relevant element. We would then need to report the incident to the class teacher. However, information and advice may be available also from the anti-bullying coordinator, the line-manager, a school counsellor, and from outside organisations and networks specialised in supporting children such as the Child Line and the Anti-Bullying Alliance website.
Parents also could feel very distressed and alone on hearing that their child is a victim of bullying; therefore, it is important that they are given the same amount of respect that the child has received. We must listen to them, let them explain how they feel, share with them useful information so they can start thinking how to support their child. We can also suggest looking in the internet for some good sites of bullying: Bullying UK, Child Line, NSPCC, Kidscape.org. From the parents’ point of view, they may also be feeling angry to hear that their child has been bullied. To support parents in that situation we need to reassure them that our priority is to safeguard their child and that we’ll take their concerns very seriously. If a parent of a young child is worried or suspects bullying is occurring, then they can approach the class teacher who may be able to deal with it in the class. In case of older children, parents should approach the head teacher to discuss matters on how this can be tackled and stopped. The head will then monitor the situation in collaboration with other professionals at school (other teachers, teaching assistants, counsellors, etc). Parents can then request updates on how the situation is being dealt with. It is vital that everyone in the educational setting works in partnership in order to stop and prevent bullying.
If the bullying issue is not resolved but still goes on, and the bullies are disciplined according to the school policy, any possible complaints from the part of the admonished children and their parents can be prevented. If the teacher-parent cooperation still does not solve the issue, the school needs to contact specialised outside agencies and ask for their help.


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