Prevention of Harassment and Bullying Policy
- Foster a safe, caring, and orderly school environment
- Promote students’ physical safety, social connectedness, and inclusiveness
- Describe acceptable and unacceptable behaviour
- Protect students from all forms of bullying, regardless of their gender, race, culture, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity
Students who knowingly commit acts of harassment, intimidation, bullying, cyberbullying or violent behaviours will be subject to disciplinary action up to, and including, suspension or expulsion from school. All members of the school community have the responsibility of monitoring, reporting, and addressing harassment, intimidation, and bullying. The School’s commitment is to take all reasonable steps to prevent retaliation by a person against a student who has made a complaint of a breach of the policy.
Students are encouraged to be courageous and speak up when they see any behaviour that negatively impacts a safe, caring, and orderly school environment. Students who are disciplined for unacceptable behaviour are encouraged to take steps to “put right” or repair the damage caused by their actions or behaviour. Connected to this idea, the community demonstrates commendable behaviour when we allow the disciplined individual/s who remain in the community to re-establish a positive character.
Within this policy, there are four types of behaviour which, if found to be taking place, will be addressed as a disciplinary issue:
- Harassment: Any unwelcome or unwanted act or comment that is hurtful, degrading, humiliating, or offensive to another person
- Intimidation: The act of instilling fear in someone as a means of controlling that person
- Bullying: A pattern of repeated aggressive behaviour with negative intent directed from one person to another where there is a power imbalance. Bullying can take many forms: verbal, physical, social, or electronic (cyberbullying). It can focus on disability, sexual orientation, and sexuality, gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion, or other issues.
- Violent behaviours: Any behaviour by an individual that threatens or actually harms or injures the individual or others or destroys property. Violent behaviour often begins with verbal threats but over time escalates to involve physical harm.
The Importance of Speaking Up
Crofton House School is committed to providing a safe, caring, and orderly school environment that is respectful of everyone. The school teaches social and executive functioning (i.e. self-regulation) skills that will serve its students throughout their lives.
If a student has been harassed, intimidated, or bullied, or has witnessed such behaviour, she needs to confide in an adult at the School. It is part of her responsibility as a Crofton House School student.
If the School is not aware of an incident, it cannot act. A student is not tattling by contacting an adult; she is, in fact, upholding CHS’s core values and demonstrating courage by appropriately standing up for herself. No one has the right to harass, intimidate or bully another person. It takes courage to stop such behaviour maturely and responsibly.
An Important Distinction Between Conflict, Mean Behaviour and Bullying
It’s important to know the difference between bullying and single acts of aggression or conflict. Not all mean or rude behaviour or conflict is bullying.
Understanding the difference helps when it comes to knowing how to intervene.
A disagreement or difference between peers who have equal power
Conflict is an inevitable part of a group dynamic. Conflict generally happens between girls who usually hang out together and have equal power (size, age, social status). They are equally upset by the conflict and are interested in the outcome. They can work things out with adult help.
Conflict would be considered bullying if one of the girls continued an intentional campaign of blame against the other to hurt her feelings or alienate her from her friends. This could include several actions over a few days or weeks – doing things like calling her names, taunting her outside of the gymnasium, or even getting others to gang up on her.
Mean behaviour is
Saying or doing something on purpose to hurt someone without consistency
Mean behaviour aims to hurt someone. This includes making fun of someone, using a hurtful name, physically pushing or shoving, taking someone’s belongings, or deliberately excluding someone. Usually, mean things are said impulsively and then often regretted later. Adults responding quickly and firmly can stop girls from developing a pattern of behaviour that can escalate into bullying behaviour.
A persistent pattern of unwelcome or aggressive behaviour that hurts others physically and/or emotionally.
For a situation to be considered a bullying incident, three indicators are usually present:
- Power – individuals who bully acquire their power through physical size and strength, by status within the peer group, and by recruiting support of the group
- Frequency – bullying is not a random act. It is this factor that brings about the anticipatory terror in the mind of the child being bullied that can be so detrimental and have the most debilitating long-term effects
- Intent to harm – individuals who bully generally do so with the intent to either physically or emotionally harm the other child
A person who shows bullying behaviour says or does something intentionally hurtful to others and they keep doing it, with no sense of regret or remorse – even when it’s obvious that they’ve hurt a person or when they’re asked to stop. Bullying behaviour requires adult intervention at all stages of investigation, intervention and follow up.
Consequences of Harassment, Intimidation or Bullying
If bullying is witnessed by a student, the student is encouraged to report the conduct to a teacher or the director of the School. The situation will be thoroughly investigated and an appropriate sanction will be determined. The Crofton House School Code of Conduct describes the procedures related to reporting, investigation, documentation, and communication as well as potential sanctions for unacceptable behaviour including harassment, intimidation, or bullying. It also outlines mitigating factors which will be considered during the investigation including, but not limited to, a student’s age and maturity.