It is a requirement at Fremantle College that every member of the college behaves in a way that respects the rights of others so that all students flourish.
It is the college’s intention to create a safe climate for its students and ensure minimal bullying behaviours by students by adopting:
- A focus on positive character strengths through Positive Education and the highlighting of each individual’s positive contributions in recognition of the importance of good self-esteem in students. Students cannot flourish in their learning if they are feeling unsafe so our stance on anti-bullying is a clear focus on our students’ wellbeing.
- A focus on peer support programs and programs that aim to build the social skills and capacity of students, especially in the area of safe and positive online social media use.
- A clear understanding by all staff on our Positive Behavioural Policy and Five Agreements, including the classroom management strategies required to ensure vigilant supervision of classes. These Rights and Responsibilities and college Five Agreements are published in our diary and around the college.
- A responsive approach which ensures that action is taken by teachers and Student Services to the best of our ability and that aims to restore relationships between students and identify the core reason for targeting behaviours.
- A focus on bystander behaviour and how student choices form the basis of a safe and happy, inclusive environment. We will focus on student voice and their understanding that they need to be part of and lead the solution by being effective bystanders who stand up for others and don’t tolerate negative behaviours by their friends.
Definition Of Bullying
Bullying is the willful desire to hurt, threaten and harass someone over time. It has three characteristics:
- It is repeated over time
- It involves an imbalance of power
- It may be verbal, physical, social, or psychological.
Although some of the behaviours might be the same, and the end result is hurt, anxiety, fear and disempowerment, sometimes students have social conflict and relationship breakdowns that need support. These affect student wellbeing but, depending on the situation, might not always be construed as bullying. At Fremantle College we are committed to assisting our students resolve these conflicts so that they do not result in an ongoing, targeted bullying situation occurring.
Acts Of Bullying
- Physical harm – hit, push, kick
- Threat of physical harm
- Ongoing nasty name calling or teasing
- Extortion, demand for money or favours
- Exclusion, deliberately leaving someone out of an activity
- Written abuse – sending nasty notes
- Interference with personal property.
How do you know that a student/child is being bullied?
The student may:
- be frightened of walking to or from college
- be unwilling to go to college
- want to be driven to college
- change their route to college
- begin to do poorly in their college work
- go home regularly with clothes or books destroyed
- become withdrawn
- change their eating habits
- cry themselves to sleep
- have nightmares
- have unexplained bruises, scratches or cuts
- ask for money or begin stealing to pay the bully
- continually lose their money
- refuse to say what is wrong
- be late to class
- refuse to work in a particular group or sit next to a particular student
- refuse to come to college
What A Student Can Do
- Not retaliate by physical or verbal bullying.
- Preserve evidence of bullying, especially with online bullying i.e. screenshots.
- Simply knowing that you can do something about it makes a difference.
- Share your feelings with others. They can help you make a decision. Talk about it with friends and parents.
- Ignore it. Show that it does not upset you. The perpetrator is not encouraged and may stop.
- Get off social media, ban or block students responsible and take a break from being online.
- Talk it over with a student representative or leader.
- If the bullying is happening at school, take your concern to your class teacher, Student Services Manager, nurse, college chaplain or college psychologist. Go the Associate Principal or Head of Learning Area. Formally report the incident(s) of bullying.
What Fremantle College will do:
When the college becomes aware of a student who reported being bullied, they will investigate the issue. They will talk to the target about his/her feelings and find out who is involved. The college will show empathy and reassure the target that we will follow up and do everything we can to assist it to stop.
Ask the student to write a script of events (Who? What? Where? When?).
If the report comes to a teacher in the college, they are asked to immediately report the incident to the relevant Student Services Manager. This alerts the college to the problem and allows for possible parent involvement if required.
Student Services Manager will meet with the student being targeted. If it is in a class context the classroom teacher should be present to assist and monitor. Notification of incidents to parents and an outline to parents of all the steps being taken to intervene should be prompt and occur regularly to update the parent on actions taken by the college.
Student Services Managers will meet with the perpetrator/s. It is helpful to include some bystanders who joined in but did not initiate the bullying. It is important to meet each member individually to take the power away from the group.
Explain the problem to the perpetrator/s. Tell them about the way the target/victim is feeling. Aim to achieve a commitment to stop, set boundaries and work towards gaining commitment for a resolution and mediation if required.
Share responsibility with the group involved in the situation. Adopt a shared concern approach. The Student Services Manager does not attribute blame but works to find a resolution and a set of agreements that will work for everyone in the group involved. Through everyone finding a solution and understanding the other’s point of view, restorative justice is achieved. Ask the group (perpetrator/s) for ideas. Encourage each member of the group to suggest ways in which the target could be supported.
Give adult guidance in this restorative meeting, however, encourage the group of students to solve, with the bottom line being that the bullying has to stop. Pass over the responsibility to the group to solve the problem.
Make clear the boundaries and responsibilities of the group once decided. Again communicate with parents the outcome of this meeting. Document the meeting for future use. Through the shared concern approach, establish if specific students need individual support to improve their skills in the situation, or to assist them to self regulate. This offer of support might extend to the target in the form of counselling, a support person, a safety support plan etc. The offer of support might also be directed at the perpetrator/s who might require some additional and targeted social skills training, anger management support, a support person or similar.
Monitor the situation carefully to ensure that all participants are meeting the agreements of the restorative meeting. Meet them again about a week later. The Student Services Manager discusses with each student, including the targeted student, how things are going. Continue to work with bystanders.
Parent contact if bullying continues after shared concern approach has been implemented. If ongoing bullying by perpetrator/s continues to occur, and evidence shows that the perpetrator/s is not meeting their obligations for all to feel safe, suspension from college may result.