Turves Green Boys’ School prides itself on being a friendly school, where pupils and staff work together to achieve the best possible outcomes. However, we must not be complacent in thinking that there are never any instances of bullying. Bullying occurs in all environments and all schools are likely to have some problem with bullying at one time or another. It is essential that pupils feel safer in school and are able to discuss any incidences where they feel victimised, knowing that it will be dealt with. We have a zero tolerance approach to bullying and any reported incidents are taken very seriously.
We are a TELLING school.
This means that anyone who knows or suspects that bullying is taking place is encouraged to tell a member of staff and we promise it WILL be investigated.
What should I do if my child is being bullied?
If you suspect your child is being bullied, don’t ignore it. Find a quiet time to talk to your son and explain that bullying is always unacceptable and that no one should have to put up with it. Promise to do all you can to stop it. SPEAK TO THE SCHOOL AS SOON AS YOU CAN. Speaking to your sons Head of House is often the best place to start. Useful tips for the conversation:
• Decide what you want to say and what you’d like to achieve from the conversation before you go.
• Try to stay calm even though you may feel upset and emotional.
• Don’t blame staff - we may have been unaware of any issue.
• Give specific examples of how your child is being bullied.
What to do if your child is a bully?
If you have just found out or suspect your child has been bullying others, it is likely to be a shock and you may be at a loss on what steps to take. It is important to remain calm and not react in anger or frustration.
Find out all the facts
Your first reaction might be shock or anger that your son is being accused of bullying. It is important to calmly listen to what the school has to say about it and ask for as much information you can on the incidents. It is a completely natural reaction to want to defend your son, but you need to address the facts first.
Talking to your child
At some point, sooner rather than later, you will need to have a chat with your child about this. It is really important that you are calm and get their side of their story. Do not go in angry or they may shut off and not want to talk. Find out how they felt, what lead up to these incidents and what they feel would help to resolve this. Explore the feelings of the person who has been bullied and ask your child how they think they would be feeling. Get them to put their feet in their shoes to understand the impact of bullying and how it can cause long term issues.
Letting your child know to expect some form of sanctions or consequences is essential too and remind them that this could impact on their future choices.
What could be behind their behaviour?
Sometimes, changes or difficulties in a child's life could be behind a child behaving in a negative way. Has there been changes in the family recently, a bereavement or conflict perhaps? Maybe they have experienced bullying or a need to belong in a certain friendship group. They may have unresolved feelings due to an upset or emotional issue which needs addressing. Whatever the cause may be, it is important to try and delve behind the behaviour to find out the root cause and help them find another way to deal with this, whether this is through counselling, support or an activity where they may be helping others. Turves Green Boys School can help with this and we have a dedicated Mental Health Team including a school councillor who may be able to help.
Cyber bullying is when a person or group of people use modern technology, such as the internet, mobile phones or other digital technologies to deliberately cause upset to someone by threatening, harassing, abusing or teasing them.
Cyber bullying can include:
• texting offensive or rude messages by mobile phone
• sending unpleasant or personal photographs by mobile phone
• using online message boards, chat rooms or social networking sites to post cruel messages
• deleting the victim’s name from, or ignoring their messages on, social networking sites
Research suggests that cyber bullying is common among teenagers - at least one in five has been a victim of it. The practice is becoming more widespread. A major difference between cyber bullying and other types of bullying is that the cyber bully can follow your child into the house, even into his or her bedroom. Another disturbing aspect of cyber bullying is that the victim often feels there’s nowhere to hide.
What should I do if my child is being cyber bullied?
If you suspect your child is being cyber bullied, don’t ignore it, it is not as easy as telling them to simply ‘log off’. Consider the following approaches:
• Be aware of your child’s internet activity.
• Try to understand the technology and communication networks your child uses.
• Ask your child to show you any nasty messages he or she receives.
• Tell your child never to respond to an abusive text message - what the cyber bully most wants is a reply.
• Speak to staff especially if other students at the school are involved. Even if they aren’t, we will still be able to advise you on the best course of action and can help your son with any anxieties he might have.
• Discourage use of the internet in private spaces where adults are not present to monitor what is going on.
• Ensure your child does not set up social networking IDs with inappropriate personal pictures, ages and/or descriptions.
• Report the abuse through the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) website.
• Report the matter to the school and/or to the police depending on the circumstances.
No one wants to think of their child bullying other children. But cyber bullying is different from other forms of bullying, tactics can often be hidden and more subtle, so it’s sometimes difficult to detect. Cyber bullies don’t need to be bigger or more aggressive or even in the same place as the child they’re bullying. But like all bullies, they often rely on the support of bystanders - other children who observe what they’re doing and don’t challenge them. Ask your child if they’ve ever done anything online to hurt or upset anyone. It’s important to emphasise to your child that being cruel to other children and taking part in an activity that could hurt them is wrong.
Cyber bullying also gives children the opportunity to bully adults. Teachers are sometimes the victims of internet messaging that undermines or ridicules them. Make sure your child is aware that these activities are unacceptable and that the school will deal harshly with the pupils involved.
This is a matter which the school takes very seriously and thus we educate students about the damaging effects of this type of behaviour. Bullying and cyber bullying are covered in PSHE in all Year Groups in Form time, PSHE Lessons and on Flexidays.
You should advise your child:
• Not to reply to any messages they receive, as this may encourage the bullies. Advise them not to retaliate.
• Not to answer calls from withheld numbers or from numbers they do not recognise
• To keep a copy of the abusive emails, texts or messages that they receive and when these were sent.
• Never to give out any personal details on the internet such as their real name, address, age or phone number. Even telling someone which school they attend can help that person find out information about them.
• To change their online nicknames or user ID to something different.
• To consider changing their mobile number and to only give the new number to close friends.
• To block any offending user where possible from websites.
• To contact the service provider or host (ie: the chatroom, the social network provider, or mobile operator) to inform them of what has happened, and get their advice on how to stop this happening again. The service provider may be able to block particular senders or callers (for landlines), or advise on how to change contact details, and potentially delete the accounts of those that are abusing the service. What can I do to block nuisance calls, messages, etc?
• All UK Mobile operators have nuisance call centres set up and/or procedures in place to deal with such instances so you may wish to contact them directly (see below for contact details). Apps are available online for certain mobile phones which can be set up to block unwanted calls or texts. The caller/texter doesn’t know they’ve been blocked.
• It is normally possible to block / ignore particular users on social networking sites, which should mean the user can stop receiving unwanted comments. Users can do this from within the site. Many social network providers also enable users to pre-moderate any comments left on their profile before they are visible by others. This can help a user prevent unwanted or hurtful comments appearing on their profile for all to see. The user should also set their profile to ‘Private’, so that only those authorised by the user are able to access and see their profile.
• It is possible to block users, or change Instant Messenger IDs so the bully is not able to contact their target any more. Most providers will have information on their website about how to do this. In addition, the Instant Messenger provider can investigate and shut down any accounts that have been misused and clearly break their terms of service. The best evidence for the service provider is archived or recorded “conversations”, and most IM providers allow the user to “record” all messages.
• It is possible to block particular email senders or the person being bullied can change their email address. The email provider will have information on their website about how to create a new account.
• It is possible to get content taken down from video-hosting sites, though the content will need to be illegal or have broken the terms of service of the site in other ways. On YouTube, perhaps the most well-known of such sites, it is possible to report content to the site provider as inappropriate. In order to do this, you will need to create an account (this is free) and log in, and then you will have the option to ‘flag content as inappropriate’. The option to flag the content is under the video content itself.
If images are involved in the cyber bullying, it is important to ascertain if these might be illegal or raise child protection concerns. Indecent or sexual images of children (defined as people under the age of 18) are illegal to produce, circulate or possess in the UK. These include images that children have taken of themselves or their friends, using their mobile phone or other devices.
• Internet Watch Foundation, if the images are internet content (see www.iwf.org.uk).
• The local police, if illegal images have been taken of a child and circulated. Similarly if there is a recording of a crime, eg assault on another child, contact the local police.
Contacts for mobile phone companies
• O2: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0844 809 0200
• Vodafone: 191 from a Vodafone phone or 0870 070 0191 (pay monthly) and 0870 077 6655 (pay as you go)
• 3: call 333 from a 3 phone or 0843 373 3333
• T-Mobile: Call 150 from a T-mobile phone or 0845 412 5000 • EE: Call 150 from an EE phone or 07953 966250