Bullying Information for Parents and Students
What is bullying?
Bullying is repeated aggression by a person or group against another person. Bullying can be verbal, psychological or physical - this means it can be anything such as name calling, teasing, hitting or picking on someone. Once-off aggressive behaviour is not the same as bullying. When this behaviour goes on for some time, it is bullying. Bullying can also take the form of racial abuse. With developments in modern technology, children can also be the victims of non-contact bullying, via mobile phones, the Internet and other personal devices.
Bullying of children can also be perpetrated by adults, including adults who are not related to the child. Bullying behaviour when perpetrated by adults, rather than children, could be regarded as physical or emotional abuse. However, other major forms of child abuse, such as neglect and sexual abuse, are not normally comprehended by the term ‘bullying’.
Who is responsible for dealing with bullying in schools?
In the first instance, it is the school authorities that are responsible for dealing with bullying in school. It is recognised that bullying in schools is a particular problem. All schools must have an Anti-Bullying policy that sets out how the school will deal with bullying behaviour. School authorities should exercise this responsibility by having regard to the existing advice and to the Guidelines on countering bullying behaviour in primary and post-primary schools from the Department of Education (1993).
In situations where the incident is serious and where the behaviour is regarded as potentially abusive, the school should consult the HSE Children and Family Services with a view to drawing up an appropriate response, such as a management plan.
Where can I get information about bullying in schools?
There are a number of bodies/groups that provide information and assistance in the area of bullying including the Anti-Bullying Centre at Trinity College Dublin or the National Parents Council.