2.11 School Manual: Anti-Bullying Policy

Bullying is managed in accordance with;
the NSW Dept of Education - Bullying of Students - Prevention and Response policy
and NSW Department of Education Anti-Bullying Policy
and the Behaviour Code for Students.
Local procedures also apply (see below).

2.11.1 Introduction

Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School is based on the principles of respect, fairness and the ongoing pursuit of excellence in all facets of school life in teaching, learning, welfare, agriculture, sport and cultural programmes. The provision of a safe and caring environment within the boarding and day sections of the school is of paramount importance to us, as it is this harmonious co-operation that is the best vehicle for student productivity and progress.

Farrer is committed to providing a safe, supportive and positive environment for students, staff and all other members of the school community.

The management of bullying issues will be within the framework of the Student Wellbeing, Good Discipline and Effective Learning Policy.

Bullying will not be tolerated at Farrer.

2.11.2 Definition of Bullying

Bullying involves REPEATED acts that aim to dominate, cause hurt, fear or embarrassment to another person. Bullying is generally deliberate and planned, but can also be a result of thoughtlessness. 

Bullying can be perpetrated by an individual or by groups. 

Bullying IS NOT one-off acts of aggression or nastiness, but such behaviours, if repeated, may be viewed as bullying. 

2.11.3 Forms of Bullying

Bullying may take many forms. It may include but is not limited to: 

The use of information, communication and imaging technologies such as email, mobile phone and text messages, instant messaging, and social networking sites to perform deliberate, inappropriate use of camera phones, repeated and hostile behaviour by an individual or a group that is intended to harm others 
Exclusion bullying 
Includes the deliberate isolation (both explicit and implicit) of an individual student from their peer group 
Extortion bullying 
The use of force or intimidation to obtain money, food or personal belongings from other students; harassing others to do tasks eg buying lunch, carrying materials 
Offensive notes, graffiti
Trashing a locker, hiding bags, compelling others to harass
Touching in a sexual manner, making untoward sexual advances, sexual name calling, telling sexual jokes about someone or commenting on sexual orientation that causes distress
Non-verbal bullying 
Includes making gestures, such as ‘dirty looks’, to intimidate or to embarrass 
Physical bullying 
Pushing or shoving (where hurt is intended), kicking, pinching, invasion of personal space, the destruction of property, tripping, punching, tearing clothes, standing over someone, pushing books from someone’s hands, throwing objects at someone 
Bystander Behaviour
Encouraging bullying behaviour, letting bullying behaviour occur and not speaking up or acting on it
Verbal bullying 
Any comment of an offensive nature that refers to ability, race, religion, gender, or sexuality; including name-calling, offensive language, spreading of rumours, mocking, imitating, teasing, abusive phone calls, laughing at someone’s mistakes, using unwelcome nicknames 

The behaviours outlined above are unacceptable at Farrer and will be managed in accordance with these Guidelines and those of the Student Welfare and Discipline Policy. 

2.11.4 Effects of Bullying

Both those who are bullied and those who bully are negatively affected by bullying behaviours. Continual bullying can have serious short-term and sometimes long-term effects on the wellbeing of those involved. 

(a) For those who are bullied, the effects may include: 

  • constant fear 
  • reluctance to attend school 
  • anxiety attacks and nightmares 
  • loneliness and isolation; low self-esteem 
  • stress, depression and unhappiness 
  • poor concentration 
  • school work suffering, grades slipping 
  • anti-social behaviour 
  • difficulties forming satisfactory interpersonal relationships 
  • self-harm, suicide 

(b) For those who bully, the effects may include: 

Short-term effects: 

  • those who bully others are sometimes viewed positively by their peers, however, it is more likely that people will fear them and those who have been hurt by them may have very strong negative feelings towards them. Potentially, as secondary school progresses those who bully end up having no real friends. 
  • those who bully may have trouble maintaining close friendships and get a reputation for their bullying behaviour
  • may not do well in school, inability to interact with teachers 
  • potentially negative feelings about themselves for doing the wrong thing/guilt over their actions

Long-term effects: 

  • a high proportion being less successful in school 
  • higher risk of not completing post-secondary education 
  • possibility of performing below their potential throughout their careers 
  • risk of not forming healthy relationships 
  • are four times more likely than others to be convicted for anti-social offences 

(c) For those that witness bullying behaviour:

  • may be reluctant to attend school
  • may feel fearful or powerless to act to stop the bullying
  • may feel guilty for not acting to stop the bullying

(d) Impact on staff and the school:

  • risk of developing an environment of fear and disrespect
  • students may experience difficulty in effective learning
  • potential feelings of insecurity
  • staff and school may be perceived as having little control and not caring about students

There are various strategies (refer to section 2.11.7) used to manage bullying behaviour at Farrer. All identifiable reports of bullying will be taken seriously and responded to using these Guidelines. The most appropriate intervention is determined by the developmental stage of the student(s) and the circumstances involved in the specific situation. 

There are also various levels of response which are determined by the seriousness of the bullying behaviour. 

2.11.5 Purpose of the Guidelines

Students, staff and parents can expect:

  • that all members of the Farrer community will be safe at school
  • to know what is required of them and others in relation to the Anti-Bullying Guidelines
  • that everyone involved will be provided with appropriate assistance should bullying occur

Students, staff and parents have a responsibility to:

  • promote positive relationships that respect and accept individual differences
  • support the school’s Anti-Bullying Guidelines
  • actively work together to resolve incidents of bullying behaviour 

2.11.6 Specific Responsibilities 

Students are expected to:

  • behave appropriately with respect and acceptance of others
  • respond to incidents of bullying according to the Anti-Bullying Guidelines 

Students can expect to:

  • know that staff will respond to their concerns
  • be provided with appropriate support
  • be involved with learning experiences that address issues such as building positive relationships, personal safety, harassment and discrimination 

Parents are expected to:

  • assist their sons in understanding bullying behaviour and its consequences
  • support their sons in developing positive responses to incidents of bullying consistent with the Anti-Bullying Guidelines 

Teachers have a responsibility to:

  • listen and be open to talking to students who seek help with any problems that may arise through bullying 
  • respond in an appropriate and timely manner to incidents of bullying in accordance with the Anti-Bullying Guidelines 

Farrer has a responsibility to:

  • provide learning experiences which promote a safe, positive and supportive environment
  • ensure the Anti-Bullying Guidelines clearly identifies the behaviours that are unacceptable, strategies that may be used for dealing with bullying and consequences of inappropriate behaviour
  • inform students, parents and staff about school expectations of behaviour as outlined in the Student Welfare and Discipline Policy and about the Anti-Bullying Guidelines
  • respond to reports of bullying, harassment, intimidation and victimisation
  • provide students with positive strategies for responding to incidents of bullying including the responsibilities of targets, perpetrators and bystanders
  • ensure all teachers receive on-going training as specified in the Anti-Bullying Guidelines

2.11.7 Strategies and Management of Bullying

At Farrer we promote a positive school culture that fosters student connection and inclusiveness in both the school and the wider community.

The school community identifies itself as the Farrer Family where each member has a reciprocal obligation to care for the wellbeing of its members and to maintain a quality home and school for its students.  

The students, parents, caregivers and teachers of the Farrer Family have both individual and shared responsibility for actively preventing and responding to bullying behaviour. Parents and/or students should contact their son’s Year Coordinator or Head Teacher Welfare to report any behaviour they may believe to be bullying. This may be done in the form of an email, phone call or written letter. 

Reports may also be made online through Stymie. The site allows for anonymous notifications to be sent directly to the school about bullying behaviours.  Stymie interface allows for evidence to be uploaded, such as screenshots of Facebook discussions, Snapchats, text messages, or instant message conversations.  Farrer will receive these notifications in the form of an email alert.  The notifications are encrypted, anonymous and confidential.  

The school will provide programs that develop self-discipline, self-esteem, self-evaluation, empathy, resilience, conflict resolution and communication by:

  • Explicitly teaching students to respond to bullying assertively by expressing an action, feeling and warning about continued behaviours i.e. “Stop it, I don’t like it. I will report it if it continues.”
  • developing in students the skills to take responsibility for their actions through the use of such strategies as the colour level system to reward and give consequences for behaviour, assemblies to recognise student achievement, restitution, meetings of shared concern and mediation
  • classroom and group learning experiences e.g.: counselling, PD/H/PE lessons, guest speakers, bullying workshops and the programs; Mental Fitness and Rock & Water. 
  • involving students in peer mentoring, year meetings, dormitory meetings, SRC, Prefect system, sporting and cultural representation, Peer Support, Orientation and Leadership Camps, and the Outdoor Activity Scheme (ODAS).

Weekly meetings are held by the Wellbeing team to discuss events and/or students of concern.  Millennium entries, merit and demerits, counsellor reports, Health Centre reports, prefect’s reports, student reports and parental contact are responded to at these meetings. Previous intervention by Year Coordinators, Head Teacher Wellbeing, School Counsellor, Social Workers, Aboriginal Support Officer, teaching staff, prefects and the Senior Executive Team is additionally examined.  These meetings are a communication strategy to actively support students, staff and the whole school.

A range of strategies and programs are used to support any student who has been affected by, engaged in or witnessed bullying behaviour. These include:

Reassuring of students, parents are contacted, duty of care is maintained, cognitive reframing – telling the bully to stop, avoiding retaliation, avoiding trouble spots, reviewing your own behaviour, controlling your anger, assertiveness training, anger management, victim support, grief and loss counselling, pro-social skill development, empathy, listening, safety and security plan of action dealing with the nature of the bullying, developing resilience. Restorative solutions puts repairing harm to relationships and people over and above the need for assigning blame and dispensing punishment.  This is a values based, collaborative approach to dealing with bullying and conflict and broadens the range of stakeholders involved in the incident/s.  

The guiding questions of restorative principles are:

  1. What has happened?
  2. Who has been hurt?
  3. What are their needs?
  4. Whose obligations are these?
  5. Who has a stake in the situation?
  6. What is the appropriate process for involving stakeholders in an effort to put things right?

Accountability by the wrongdoer/bully as punishment is limited as a deterrent to bullying behaviour.  True accountability only occurs when there is an intrinsic link between the act and the consequences. It involves taking responsibility for the results of the behaviour, being allowed and encouraged to help decide what will happen to make things right, and then taking steps to repair the damage.

2.11.8 Reporting Bullying

This information is then used to deal with the behaviour of concern, through the following levels:

Level 1

  • 1st instance, Year Coordinator interview and give student a warning.
  • Strategies to improve relationships and ways to build healthy relationships discussed.

Level 2

  • If Bullying has not ceased.
  • Interview with Head Teacher Wellbeing of all parties.
  • Referral made to Social Worker or Counsellor if required.
  • Head Teacher Wellbeing to contact parents of all parties involved and work with them in ways to improve behaviours and relationships.
  • Warnings of consequences if negative behaviours continue.

 Level 3

  • Repeated Bullying behaviour
  • Student referred to Deputy by Head Teacher Wellbeing or Year Coordinator
  • Appropriate consequences are determined and implemented
  • Student must meet with Social Worker/Counsellor to work on negative behaviours

2.11.9 Bullying General Procedures

(a) Confidentiality

Confidentiality and privacy require that all staff ensure that information regarding students is restricted to those who genuinely need to know. Furthermore, those people should only be told as much as they need to know and no more. 

(b) Record Keeping

Records will be kept of bullying matters under the confidential section of the student file in Millennium. The record will include the nature of the offence, the process followed and the consequences applied.

(c) Communication Policy

This Policy is available to staff, parents and students via the school’s website. New parents, students and staff will be advised accordingly.

(d) Training and Development

All staff will undergo professional development to ensure they have read and understood this policy. Training will be part of the induction process for all new staff. Ongoing training will occur at regular intervals.

Systemic and recurring problems will be addressed through such things as the development of training programmes and the provision of guidance directed to minimising the issues that may lead to such problems.

All staff are encouraged to review and supply feedback regarding this Policy so that amendments can be implemented as necessary. Staff are encouraged to take part in training courses and in-service opportunities that enhance their contributions to the school community.

External Resources:
Teens Health - Dealing With Bullying
Stop Bullying Fact Sheet

Last updated October 2023.

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