Relationship Education Policy

St Kevin’s College is committed to ensuring a harmonious and safe environment for all members of the College community, where students, teachers and parents work co-operatively to ensure the Mission of the College and its educational and pastoral goals can be successfully met.

Value Statements

  • As a Catholic school, in the Edmund Rice tradition, we encourage each member of our community to sustain an individual point of view whilst respecting the rights and beliefs of others.
  • St Kevin’s College affirms the right of all members of our community to be treated with a profound sense of dignity and respect where each person is valued and personal growth is nurtured.
  • We are committed to providing a safe, supportive and compassionate environment where friendship and care for others are evident.
  • We believe that every person has the right to learn, free of humiliation, intimidation and abuse.
  • We acknowledge that all people are different and value diversity and inclusion.
  • We believe that relationships that are damaged should be restored.
  • Each person is held responsible for his or her actions and the consequences.
  • All members of the St Kevin’s community have a responsibility to work collaboratively to ensure the respect and wellbeing of each other.

What Is Not Bullying

There are numerous behaviours that may require staff intervention and management that are not examples of bullying.

  • Mutual conflict is one such example, where there is a recognized disagreement but no imbalance of power between the two parties.
  • Social rejection and exclusive friendships are also not examples of bullying, unless there is a deliberate and repeated effort to cause the excluded student/s distress.
  • A single, random episode of meanness whilst aggressive may not be categorized as bullying as it is not repetitive.

 What Is Bullying

Bullying is when a person is repeatedly exposed over time to negative actions on the part of one or more people.

Bullying can include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • PHYSICAL – fighting, kicking, punching, hitting, shoving, pinching, abusive gestures, moving in on one’s personal space.
  • VERBAL – use of words in an insulting and malicious way, teasing, swearing, put downs, spreading rumours, repeated abusive phone calls.
  • EXTORTION / INTIMIDATION – blackmailing, threatening, forcing one to give money.
  • VISUAL – insulting letters, graffiti, rude and suggestive gestures, intentionally mimicking
  • another’s actions to mock or embarrass, drawing on someone’s equipment.
  • SEXUAL – obscene drawings and gestures, rude jokes about the target, touching, brushing up against the target, asking questions of a sexual nature, taunting over sexuality or gender, displaying rude and embarrassing photographs.
  • RACIAL – can be expressed verbally, physically, socially or psychologically when one is labelled negatively as being different from others according to one’s race.
  • EXCLUSION – being deliberately left out of a game or group activity, being ignored, made to feel invisible, when the group runs off and hides.
  • CYBER BULLYING – use of any communication technology to bully others through the use of phone calls, text messages, email, internet sites or digital images.

 The Effects Of Bullying

A number of physical and mental health factors can be associated with bullying.

These may include:
  • Feeling frightened
  • Feeling unsafe
  • Feeling embarrassed
  • Lowered self esteem/confidence
  • Withdrawn behaviour
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Reduced ability to concentrate 
  • Declining work standards
  • Negative impact on relationships with family/friends
  • Increased levels of anxiety
  • Physical complaints including headaches and nausea
  • An unwillingness to attend school
  • Higher levels of depression/mental health issues. 

St Kevin's Prevention Strategy

The College endeavours to prevent bullying from ever happening and has adopted a range of programs that raise awareness and develop resilience. These programs are supported through student curriculum, inservicing staff, providing counselling support, educating parents and encouraging appropriate student response. Trends are monitored through annual wellbeing surveys.

Counselling is available to any party involved in incidents of bullying. This is a confidential service and can occur via student self-referral, staff or parent referral. 

St Kevin's College Response

St Kevin’s College believes there are a number of ways to respond when dealing with bullying issues. The choice of method is dependent upon a number of factors; the nature of the incident, the harm caused, its frequency and the individuals involved.

St Kevin’s College adopts a multi-level restorative approach to the management of reporting incidents of bullying. In all incidents, our focus is on the individuals taking responsibility for their actions. Ultimately our goal is to restore relationships and to help the individual understand the seriousness of the incident and to appreciate the feelings of the other person/s involved.

Incidents of bullying may be reported by a student, parent or staff member. Staff will assess the information and determine at which level the incident needs to be managed. There are three incident response levels ranging from non-punitive to punitive. Parents will be informed and may be involved in the resolution process at the second and third stage. At each level, the situation will be monitored by the staff member managing the incident to determine if the matter has been resolved or requires further action. All incidents are documented and prior history becomes relevant when responding to bullying and harassment issues. These records are confidential and remain on file for the entire time a student is at St Kevin’s College.

Bullying Reported to Year Level Coordinator, House Head or Other Member of Staff



 

Bullying Outcomes



What Students Can Do

If you experience bullying, recognize that you can take positive action. Consider the following strategies and remember that a solution can take time:

  • Do not retaliate with physical or verbal aggression
  • Tell the person that their actions offend you and ask him to stop. They may not have realized that their actions were offensive.
  • Remain calm and ignore the behavior or remove yourself from the situation if possible.
  • Use humour and laugh it off.
  • Build your own protection by establishing friends and avoiding high risk places and times.
  • Talk about it to someone you trust who can help you decide how to handle the situation. This could be a parent, Tutor, teacher, senior student or family friend.

If you witness an incident of bullying, you should consider the following strategies:

  • Avoid involving yourself in the behavior which may hurt or harm others in any way.
  • Provide your support to the person being bullied and make suggestions about how to handle it. Encourage him to speak to someone about it.
  • Report the incident to a staff member or an adult you trust. You can ask for privacy and confidentiality.

What Parents Can Do

You have a role to play in the management of bullying behavior. Effective communication between school and parents is important in helping to eliminate bullying behavior at school and assisting the victim. Parents naturally want immediate action but these situations often need careful consideration and the best interests of everyone involved need to be addressed.

The following strategies could be considered:

  • Always model appropriate behavior at home and in all interactions with the College.
  • Watch for signs of distress and anxiety in your son. These might include reluctance to attend school, lack of motivation, unpredictable changes in mood, damage or loss to uniform or personal equipment and unexplained physical ailments.
  • Be willing to listen and support your son when he wants to talk about bullying but do not interrogate him.
  • Encourage him to report the incident of concern to a relevant staff member.
  • Inform the College if bullying is suspected and continuing.
  • Encourage your son not to retaliate under any circumstances.
  • Monitor telephone and electronic communication from peers.
  • Encourage your son to seek assistance in how to be more assertive and less vulnerable in the situations he finds himself in.

What Staff Can Do

It is the responsibility of all staff to endeavour to uphold the rights of students to a safe and caring environment. Minimizing bullying is essential. This can be supported by the following strategies:

  • Always model appropriate behavior in all interactions with staff and students.
  • Actively supervise students in and outside the classroom to minimize opportunities for bullying.
  • Identify and respond to signs of distress that may indicate that a student is being bullied, intervening where appropriate.
  • Report suspected incidents to the appropriate staff member.
  • Be proactive in fostering positive social interactions between students.