Bi Cinealta Procedures to Prevent and Address Bullying Behaviour for Schools Published

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1 month ago

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD launched the ‘Bí Cineálta procedures to prevent and address bullying behaviour for primary, post-primary and special schools'.  These ‘Bí Cineálta’ (‘Be Kind’) procedures were developed in collaboration with the education partners and are heavily informed by the views of children and young people, parents, school staff, board of management members and the wider education community.

The new procedures had been developed following huge levels of engagement with over 4,600 responses to a public questionnaire and participation with all the education partners and with over 170 children and young people.

The ‘Bí Cineálta’ (‘Be Kind’) motto underpins the procedures and the approach to preventing and addressing bullying behaviour. The Cineáltas flag, which recognises the good work that schools are already doing to prevent and address bullying behaviour, has been distributed to every primary and post-primary school in the country. A Cineáltas showcase event is planned for 25 September in Croke Park to allow schools to show what they have already done to promote Cineáltas in their school community.

The ‘Bí Cineálta’ procedures are centred on a child rights-based approach and support a partnership approach where all members of the school community work together to prevent and address bullying behaviour. The procedures have been updated to take account of gender identity bullying, cyberbullying, racist bullying, sexist bullying, and sexual harassment. They support schools to develop clear strategies to prevent and address these bullying behaviours.

The new procedures result from a review of the 2013 ‘Anti-bullying procedures for primary and post-primary schools’. This is a flagship item in the ‘Cineáltas: Action Plan on Bullying.’

MPEB was one of the working group members involved in the development of the procedures and attended the launch of the Bi Cineálta, Be Kind, Procedures for schools.

Minister Foley said:

“Every child deserves an experience in school that is safe, that is happy and that is inclusive. We know that bullying can rob a child or young person of their happiness and satisfaction, and it can cause significant damage to them. These new procedures will provide schools with valuable resources and guidance on supporting students and on preventing and addressing bullying behaviour.”


Implementation of these procedures will be supported by a suite of professional learning resources and information sessions for school staff, board of management members and parents. Detailed information on these will be made available early in September 2024.

The new procedures include:

  • Getting the entire school community – students, parents, teachers, secretaries, special needs assistants, caretakers, cleaners, board of management etc – to work together to maintain a school culture where bullying behaviour is unacceptable
  • Tackling hidden spaces in hallways, around staircases and in the schoolyard where there is a greater risk for bullying behaviour to occur. The options that could be considered include installing mirrors for greater visibility and planting shrubs to avoid students congregating in certain areas
  • The importance of visible and vigilant supervision in schools, particularly for students who are more at risk of experiencing bullying behaviour
  • Supporting a ‘telling’ environment by producing and displaying publicly a student-friendly version of the school’s ‘Bí Cineálta’ policy in the school reception, classrooms, or in student journals. This will allow students to easily see what they need to do if they think they are being bullied, and what actions the school will take to help them.
  • Checking back with students who have been bullied and their parents after 20 school days to see if the bullying behaviour has ceased.
  • Getting feedback and input from students and parents and the whole school community for the annual review of their school’s ‘Bí Cineálta’ policy
  • Working with parents as a key partner to prevent and address bullying behaviour.
  • A verbal bullying behaviour update report by the school principal at every Board of Management meeting, including the number of incidents of bullying behaviour and the measures taken to prevent and address bullying behaviour. No personal details of students are provided to the board.
  • Recording each incident of bullying behaviour, which it is intended will form part of a national database on bullying behaviour and an annual national report. This information will not identify individual schools or students.

The rise in the use of technology such as smartphones, laptops, tablets and other digital devices mean that more children are exposed to the risk of cyber-bullying. The procedures clarify that schools cannot be responsible for cyber-bullying after school hours – but they can and must take action when this bullying behaviour continues in the classroom and on school grounds. As the Minister Foley outlined:

“The sweeping increase in the reach of technology has offered children and young people access to a wealth of information, making learning engaging and effective. However, we must recognise that technology can also be a tool used to cause hurt and pain. We therefore will embrace the positives of technology but we equally need to armour ourselves and the children in our care against the negative impacts.”

 

Download the ‘Bí Cineálta’ Procedures

 

More about ‘Bí Cineálta’ procedures is available on the Department's website

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