Responding to bullying
Staff should consider the following actions, as recommended by the Department of Education (28 Nov, 2017) when responding to any form of bullying.
1. LISTEN CAREFULLY
- Find a private place to talk with the student.
- Let the student tell you about the issue and assure them you will help them.
- Avoid the terms ‘bully’ or ‘victim’. Use ‘the student who is bullying’ or ‘the student being bullied’.
- If you are concerned that what the student tells you is related to criminal activity, tell the school principal or their delegate who can contact the police or call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
- Ask clarifying questions to check your understanding of what the student has told you.
- Take screenshots of relevant material.
- Record the URLs or web addresses of the material.
- Record details of the conversation in Sentral and attach relevant material.
Videos on the Office of the eSafety Commissioner’s website describe how to collect this information of online bullying
2. DISCUSS A PLAN OF ACTION
Develop a plan of action with the student. This could include supporting the student to:
- not retaliate or respond to the person who bullied them (ignore 3 times in a row)
- ask the person to stop or if it’s online block them
- change the privacy and security settings on their social media accounts.
- report the online bullying to the social media service it happened on. The Office of the eSafety Commissioner’s social media safety centres page provides information about how to report material on various services.
If the social media service fails to remove the material within 48 hours of the student reporting it to them, they can make a complaint to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner.
3. INVOLVE RELEVANT SCHOOL PERSONNEL
- Notify the Deputy Principal
- Provide relevant information you have collected.
- Discuss a planned approach to work through the matter, including the responsibilities of the teacher reporting the bullying, the school executive, the student, and their parents or carers.
4. IMPLEMENT PLAN and FOLLOW UP
- Contact parents or carers about the incident and discuss a planned approach.
- Help the student or their family to contact social media platforms to have content removed if this has not already been done.
- Respond to others involved in the bullying. Consider what actions and support needs to be provided to all parties involved in the bullying. Document the chosen approach. Accurate records can assist in identifying patterns of behaviour and effective support strategies.
- Encourage students to report any future incidents if they occur.
- Schedule follow up meetings with all students over the following weeks and months.
Preventing further bullying can require a sustained effort, particularly if situations are long standing.
Visit the Department of Educations Antibully page for a suite of resources suitable for parents, students, and teachers.
Visit the Office of the eSafety Commissioner to learn more about responding to and reporting online bullying.