Danebank is unwavering in our commitment to protect our students and we have a no-tolerance approach to relational aggression (bullying). We address such matters openly and in a timely manner and request students' and parents’ help in reporting, working through and resolving such matters.
To encourage better choices and help build stronger relationships we are making available a comprehensive set of resources explaining what constitutes “bullying” (relational aggression) and empowering all members of our community to address such behaviour and not to be a 'bystander'.
Below you will find some relevant information as well as links to online resources, prepared by Miss Lisa Romberg, Deputy Principal (Pastoral Care).
Furthermore, to enable us to act on relational aggression in our Senior School, we are trialing an online reporting facility called “Stand UP! Speak OUT!”. This can be accessed by our students via iDanenet. We have also placed a “bully box” near Student Services for girls to report incidents. Reports will be confidential and handled with discretion and empathy, and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Please be mindful, though, that while girls can report anonymously, this will mean the incident itself may never be fully resolved if we cannot verify the facts with all involved. Hard evidence such as screen shots will allow an incident to be more fully investigated.
- Rude: Inadvertently saying or doing something that hurts someone else.
- Mean: Purposefully saying or doing something to hurt someone once (or maybe twice).
- Bullying: Intentionally aggressive behaviour, repeated over time, that involves an imbalance of power. All three of these elements MUST be present.
Students who bully, say or do something intentionally hurtful to others and they keep doing it, with no sense of regret or remorse, even when targets of bullying show or express their hurt or tell the aggressors to stop.
We encourage you to discuss with your daughter her day. At school we often ask students what went well (“www”). When discussing the good parts of her day, your daughter may also then go on to tell you about situations that did not go so well.
During this discussion, please remember you are hearing your daughter’s side of the story. Listen, without questioning, until she has told you the whole story.
Now is a great time to set your emotion aside and seek to help your daughter to examine her emotions. Here you are helping her to find ways to resolve the issue or conflict, rather than inflame the situation.
Some conversation starters to help your daughter examine her own understanding of the issue, include:
- Name the behaviour: Was this behavior rude, mean or bullying.
- What was the other student(s) doing that upset you so much?
- Try to get her to use the “I felt ……… when ……… happened”
- Were you able to tell (name of other student) that you were upset when she did ……..?
- How would you word it if you were in this situation again?
- Were other girls around? What was their reaction to what happened?
- Develop empathy: What might (name of other student) be saying about this situation to their parents?
- Encourage forgiveness: Talk to your daughter about what forgiveness is and also what it is not. Forgiveness does not mean ignoring the reality of an offense or that you are trying to forget it. Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation.
Choosing to forgive is a personal, conscious and powerful choice. Forgiveness frees you of the deep anger that upsets you in an ongoing way if you choose not to forgive.
Following up on concerns
These are the steps we will take when following up on your concerns.
- We will speak to all students concerned following our ‘Procedural Fairness’ processes
- We will follow our processes for dealing with relational aggression
i. The incident will be investigated by the Class Teacher, Year Coordinator, Deputy Principal (Pastoral Care), or Head of Junior School.
ii. All parties (the target, the aggressor and all bystanders) will be interviewed independently and all viewpoints will be listened to impartially. The protocols of procedural fairness will be followed.
iii. If deemed appropriate, and the target agrees, target conferencing will be implemented.
- The aim of any conferencing is to find a resolution among the students which allows the target to feel safe, secure and comfortable at school, and for the aggressive student to acknowledge and apologise for the hurt they have caused and for the hurt to be healed.
i. Restitution: Apologise and make effort to remedy what has happened.
ii. Resolution: Develop a plan to prevent the same behaviour from reoccurring.
iii. Reconciliation: Find a way to heal the hurt. If necessary, the student will also be referred for further counselling or may have sanctions put in place by the school.
If you feel your daughter or another student is being bullied at school, please assist us by encouraging your daughter to see her Year Coordinator/Class Teacher about the situation. If she feels reluctant, please feel free to contact either your Year Coordinator or Miss Romberg in the Senior School, or your Class Teacher or Head of Junior School in the Junior School.
These are some things that allow us to deal with the situation:
- Be clear about your concerns: make a list of what is happening and to whom.
- If you have names and other evidence, please be prepared to use them. It is difficult for us to act in your interests if you are not prepared to name names.