Anti-Bullying

Anti-Bullying Policy and Procedures

 

Introduction

This policy has been created to support our school’s mission, to support our commitment to provide a safe environment for all, and to support our students in growing in our core values, particularly those of Developing Character and Promoting Teamwork, in order to further become incredible young men and women shining as the Light of Christ for all.

Our policy and procedures are based on the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, and are designed to guide our community in responding to bullying and other negative social behaviors both so that the negative behavior do not continue and to ensure that each student is further growing in his or her character.

This policy applies to all students, parents, faculty, and adults connected with Lumen Christi, whether attending school, employed by the school, working as contractors, volunteering or visiting. These policies apply at all times, we are all members of the Lumen Christi community from wherever we are.

Policy Statement

At Lumen Christi Catholic School we believe that all people are children of God, worthy of love, respect, compassion, and support in growing towards their full potential. We further believe that as a Catholic Christian community we are called to work to reflect God’s love for all in everything that we do. In this way, we build up the Body of Christ within our school community, and provide a physically and emotionally safe environment for all members.

Any form of bullying directed toward any member of our school community by another member of the community is contrary to these Christian values and is not acceptable at any time.

The school will provide ongoing, age appropriate, faith-based anti-bullying and social skills education for all students, as well as education for staff and parents on these same topics, in order to promote the prevention of bullying behaviors within our school community.

All adults and students are called to report incidents of bullying behaviors whenever they witness or hear about such behaviors. In this way, we care for one another and make sure our community is safe.

Prevention and Education

Bullying prevention begins with all members of our community being able to communicate clearly about the concerns and issues. In any school community, there will be times when students do not get along. Learning to distinguish the difference between normal social ups and downs, negative social behaviors such as meanness and rudeness, and actual bullying is part of the process for all of us. To that end, we provide the following definitions for our common understanding:

Bullying:

A person is bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending him or herself. At different points or in different situations, people may find themselves committing bullying behaviors, experiencing bullying behaviors, or being a bystander to bullying behaviors. Because of this, we strive not to label students as “bullies” or “victims”, but rather to address the behavior that has occurred in any situation.

Physical Bullying:

Using physical force to hurt another student by behaviors that may include but are not limited to hitting, punching, pushing, shoving, kicking, spitting, pinching, getting in the way or holding. It is also physical bullying to interfere with another student’s belongings, to take or break possessions, and to demand or steal money.

Verbal Bullying:

Directing words at another student with the intention of putting down or humiliating. This includes but is not limited to threatening, taunting, intimidating, insulting, sarcasm, name-calling, teasing, put-downs and ridiculing. It is also considered verbal bullying when a student uses hostile gestures towards another student, such as making faces, staring, giving the evil eye, and eye-rolling.

Relational Bullying:

When a student influences other students’ friendships and relationships by actions that include but are not limited to deliberately leaving them out, spreading gossip and rumor, whispering about them, giving the silent treatment, ostracizing or scape-goating. Relational bullying also includes writing words or creating cartoons, posters or drawings about another student designed to hurt or humiliate that student.

Cyber Bullying:

The use of cell phones, text messages, e-mails, instant messaging, web blogs and postings to bully another student in any of the ways described above. Examples of cyber bullying include but are not limited to sending threatening or insulting messages by phone and e-mail, posting embarrassing pictures and personal information about others on blogs or social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace, forwarding to others a private e-mail or text message that was meant for a single individual, and spreading hurtful rumors online.

Reporting Procedures

All members of the Lumen Christi Catholic School community have the right and responsibility to report incidents of concern regarding negative social behaviors and bullying so that together we can maintain a safe environment for all and practice the skills necessary for positive relationships within the community. School leadership and teachers are not always present to witness incidents or areas of concern, and therefore can only intervene when they are informed about them.

Students are encouraged to report bullying concerns to their Dean or another administrator by way of a verbal report or written note.

Parents are also encouraged to report directly to faculty or school leadership their concerns about any bullying behaviors. E-mails, phone calls, or verbal reporting early in a situation can help us deter bullying behaviors before they become more egregious. Teachers and Staff will report to the school leadership all bullying concerns and incidents that come to their attention through either direct observation or reports from others.

Intervention Procedures

When intervening with respect to bullying behaviors, we act with the following principles in mind:

  • All people are made in the image of God and are deserving of love, compassion,
    and support, especially those experiencing bullying behaviors and including those
    committing bullying behaviors.
  • Our primary goals in intervening as a school are first, to stop the negative
    behaviors immediately and second, to grow students in faith and character.
  • Knowing the negative impact of bullying behaviors, we must investigate quickly
    and thoroughly.
  • As a school, we seek to give power back to those experiencing the bullying
    behaviors and make them agents in choosing how to address the situation.

When bullying behaviors are reported early, we avoid negative consequences and seek instead to stop the behavior. This is intended to encourage early reporting and to create investment from all stakeholders in stopping the bullying behaviors.

We use a four-option process. People experiencing bullying behaviors meet with a Dean or Counselor, and after processing the situation choose:

  1. To try to work through the situation on their own.
  2. To practice responses to the bullying behaviors with safe adults to try to address
    the behavior on their own.
  3. To have the Dean and Counselor reach out to proximal adults and students to
    create awareness of the bullying behaviors so that opportunities for bullying
    behaviors are removed and quick intervention can take place if bullying behaviors
    happen.
  4. To have the Dean or Counselor meet separately with the student committing the
    bullying behaviors to create a contract to stop the behaviors. All parents are
    contacted, in the case of students, to be aware of the contract.

Whichever option is selected, the Dean or Counselor will follow up with the person experiencing the bullying behaviors for several weeks to ensure that the bullying behaviors have stopped. If the person exhibiting the bullying behaviors violates the contract or retaliates in anyway, he or she is immediately moved to the most severe and significant punishment available – in the case of a student, this would be suspension.

Please note that this process applies to bullying behaviors caught early. Egregious behaviors, whether bullying or single incident behaviors, will be addressed separately and individually, and will almost always have immediate, significant consequences.

Appropriate confidentiality will be maintained in order to protect all of the individuals involved in the matter.