Signs of Bullying

It is important to realise that these signs do not necessarily mean that bullying is involved. For example, reluctance to come to school may often involve anxiety about separation from parents or home rather than anything happening at school.

However, if these signs are repeated or occur in combination then investigation is warranted in order to establish what is affecting the child.


  • Unwillingness to go to school
  • Loss of enthusiasm and interest in school
  • Deterioration in educational performance
  • Unexplained changes in mood or behaviour – particularly before returning to school after weekends or holiday breaks.
  • Visible signs of anxiety or distress – stammering, nightmares, difficulty sleeping, crying, not eating, bed-wetting, vomiting, withdrawing.
  • Possessions damaged or missing, clothing damaged
  • Requests for money
  • Patterns of physical illnesses – headaches, stomach problems
  • Unexplained bruising or cuts
  • Reluctance or refusal to say what is causing distress

Sanctions  (Excerpt from the schools Code of Behaviour)

The following strategies may be included as appropriate ways to show disapproval of unacceptable behaviour.

  • Reasoning with the pupil
  • Advice on how to behave
  • Reprimand
  • Temporary separation from peers, friends or others
  • Loss of privileges
  • Detention during a break
  • Prescribing additional work for home or school
  • Referral to Principal
  • Communication with parents

Communication with parents will be verbal or by letter, depending on the circumstances. The parents concerned may be invited to come to the school to discuss their child’s case.

Where there are repeated instances of misbehaviour, the Chairperson of the Board of Management may be informed and the parents shall be invited to meet with the Principal and the Chairperson and the class teacher or any combination of the above as appropriate. If the parents and, where appropriate, the pupil, do not give an undertaking that the pupil will behave in an acceptable manner in the future the pupil may be suspended for a temporary period. Suspension will be in accordance with the terms of Rule 130 (5) of the Rules for National Schools.

In the case of serious misbehaviour the Board has authorised the Chairperson and/or the Principal to sanction an immediate suspension pending discussing the matter with the parents.

Expulsion will be considered, where appropriate, in accordance with Rule 130(6)

Bullying by Adults

  • In the case of intra-staff bullying, St. Paul’s NS will adopt the procedures outlined in Section C (c2) of the INTO booklet: “Working Together: Procedures & Policies for Positive Staff Relations”.  A copy of this document is available for free download on the INTO website.
  • In the case of Teacher-child bullying, a complaint should in the first instance be raised with the teacher in question by the parent/guardian of the child if possible and then if necessary referred to the Principal. Where it has not been possible to agree a framework for resolution, the matter should be referred in writing by both parties to the Board of Management for investigation.
  • In the case of Parent-Teacher bullying, the Principal should be informed in the first instance and if deemed necessary the Board of Management should subsequently be informed in writing.
  • In the case of Parents/Visitor to the school-child bullying, the complaint should be referred in the first instance to the child’s class teacher and subsequently to the Principal if unresolved.
  • In the case of Principal- Parent/Child Bullying, the matter should be raised with the Principal if possible or referred to the chairperson of the Board of Management.

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