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9. Policy Extracts and Statements

A – Student Welfare – Anti Bullying Policy

Catholic Ethos and Core Values

St John’s College takes a whole school approach to safety and well-being that promotes compassion, support and acceptance of differences, founded on the teachings of Jesus Christ. Our programs, processes and procedures are inclusive and help build trusting, respectful relationships which recognise the dignity of the human person as made in the image and likeness of God.

This policy fosters a cohesive approach to the issue of bullying to create a safe, respectful, supportive and ordered learning environment free from bullying, harassment and violence. Bullying, including cyber bullying, harassment and violence, is not accepted or expected at St John’s College and will be considered serious and dealt with expediently.

The prevention of and responses to incidents of bullying, inappropriate use of technology and disrespectful behaviour are more readily achieved in a caring and supportive school culture that promotes positive relationships and reflects Gospel values. At St John’s College we expect that learning technologies are used ethically and responsibly.  Bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment, aggression and violence disregard core values of our faith including dignity, respect, justice, equity, compassion, trust and courage. Bullying adversely affects the well-being of our students and is therefore unacceptable.

Scope of the Policy

All members of this school community are expected to:

  • prevent and challenge instances of bullying or harassment in order to build respectful relationships;
  • respond effectively and sensitively to the needs of each student.

The College will work with the school community and other services and agencies to develop students’ resilience and wellbeing so that they can be responsible and productive members of our community.

All students at St John’s College need:

  • to know they have the right to be safe from bullying.
  • to know what bullying is, how to keep safe and what to do if  they witness an incident of  bullying or are bullied
  • to be involved in the development and review of school anti-bullying policies
  • to know what to do to help stop any student, including disabled students, being bullied


Definition of Bullying

At St John’s College we define bullying as:

A pattern of repeated physical, verbal, psychological or social aggression that is directed towards a specific student by someone with more power and is intended to cause harm, distress and/or create fear. Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term physical and psychological effects on those involved, including bystanders.

Bullying may be carried out overtly (e.g. face-to-face) or covertly (e.g. through repeated social exclusion or via technology). It is a sub-category of aggression and is different to, but also related to, harassment and violence. It is not the same as conflict or social dislike even though, in some cases, the outcome of both can be bullying.

The different types of bullying identified by the National Safe Schools Framework (NSSF) include:

Face-to-face bullying (sometimes referred to as direct bullying) involves physical actions such as punching or kicking or overt verbal actions such as name–calling and insults.

Covert bullying (sometimes referred to as indirect bullying) is a subtle type of non-physical bullying which isn’t easily seen by others and is conducted out of sight, and often unacknowledged by adults.

Cyber-bullying occurs through the use of information or communication technologies such as Instant Messaging, text messages, email and social networking sites. Cyber-bullying involves the use of any information and communication technology involving deliberate, isolated or repeatedly hostile behaviour by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others or is undertaken recklessly, without concern for its impact on others. By virtue of its nature, technology facilitates repeated access to harmful content. It has many similarities with offline bullying but it differs in that the student(s) who is/are bullying can be anonymous, it can reach a wide audience and the sent or uploaded material can be difficult to remove.

Most students who cyber bully also bully off-line. It is now recognised that many forms of covert bullying appear to have significant potential for serious harm.

This definition refers to the use of digital technologies which are very much a part of life and learning, because they offer such a wide range of tools and platforms for social and educational engagement. However, the risks of the digital environment must be acknowledged and constantly addressed. Being cyber safe and acting ethically when using electronic communications is the responsibility of all members of this school community.

At St John’s College Woodlawn a conflict between equals and single incidents are not defined as bullying although, of course, such incidents will require intervention by the school and are treated as serious.

What bullying is not: Bullying is not a one off incident of harassment, aggressive or inappropriate behaviour or inappropriate use of technology. Bullying is intentional. Bullying is targeted, sustained over time and intended to cause harm and has an imbalance of power. Students, staff and parents should report an incident of bullying type behaviour so it can be investigated and recorded.

Duty of Care at St John’s College

Staff at St John’s are aware of the possibility of bullying and take action to prevent bullying.

How is bullying reported?

When a student or parent/caregivers reports an incident, it is taken seriously. Each report of an incident or allegation of bullying is to be investigated. The reporting procedure is outlined in the Anti-Bullying Response pathway.

Who to report to?

Parent/caregivers and students may choose to report incidents of bullying, including cyber bullying, to the Home Group teacher and or class teacher in the first instance. If the incident is serious or unresolved, to the relevant Year Coordinator, Assistant Principal, College Counsellor, or Principal.

How to report?

In the instance of an allegation of bullying that involves students at St John’s College:

  1. The student(s) reporting the incident will be asked to write down the details of the incident on the Student Incident Report/Reflection Form as the first step.
  1. This discussion may lead to further investigation following the guidelines in the Bullying Incident Report form by the investigating teacher.
  1. This may be followed by a face to face discussion and parent/caregivers may be informed.
  1. The investigation may lead to disciplinary action or referral in accordance with the College Welfare and Discipline procedures.
  2. Each incident or allegation of bullying is electronically tracked against the name of the alleged victim(s) and the bully using the College’s learning management system.
  1. If the parent/caregivers or student has serious concerns about the matter and does not feel that the school has managed the situation they are advised to take the matter to the Assistant Director of School Resources Catholic Schools Office of Lismore Diocese and/or other community agencies.

When to report?

The reporting of an incident should occur as soon after the incident as possible.

The Anti Bullying Policy can be found in its entirety attached to a link at the side of the Newsletter.