To fulfil its vision, every public school is empowered (by section 8 of the South African Schools Act of l996) to draw up a code of conduct. The code sets out to explain the rules through which the rights and corresponding responsibilities of each pupil are realised. Once formulated, approved and announced, the code has the force of law. The code is currently being revised.
The purpose of the code of conduct is to establish a disciplined, safe and purposeful school environment, dedicated to the improvement and maintenance of the quality of the learning process.
Sanctions must change rather than punish misbehaviour. We believe in restorative discipline. A misdemeanour requires a pupil to make amends with those offended or harmed, as part of the sanction. All disciplinary interactions have a pastoral element. We seek to identify the source of misbehaviour and not just to tackle the symptoms thereof. To that end, we have both an educational psychologist and guidance counsellor who are constantly tending to the needs of pupils. The rules are also clearly defined so that pupils are aware of their boundaries.
Ultimately, pupils will face suspension and a hearing before the school’s governing body if they seriously transgress the code of conduct.
We have 4 categories of offences:
- Category 1 offences are dealt with by the educator at hand;
- Category 2 offences are dealt with by the grade heads;
- For category 3 offences, the parents are involved in a disciplinary intervention;
- Category 4 offences involve a disciplinary hearing with the school governing body.
This is not a “paint-by-numbers” approach. We walk the tightrope between consistency and individualised treatment as every misdemeanour provides an opportunity to educate. After all, that is what we are … educators.
FISH HOEK HIGH SCHOOL ANTI-BULLYING POLICY
Our mission is for staff and learners, supported by the parents, to work together to provide for the growth of each individual through building mutual respect and responsibility within a secure and supportive structure. Fish Hoek High School is committed to working with learners, educators and parents to create a safe school environment where quality learning and teaching can take place. We believe that every learner has rights, among which are:
● the right to feel safe
● the right to belong
● the right not to be subjected to victimisation or harassment
● the right to learn how to resolve difficulties which arise in such situations, and
● the right to be treated with politeness and respect
Anti-social behaviour: Bullying is ongoing verbal, psychological or physical aggression conducted by an individual or group against others. Such bullying can include what is commonly known as “cyber-bullying” which involves aggression through the use of verbal or visual signals on various social networking sites. Bullying behaviour may occur repeatedly and is intended to be harmful in some way or another. Some examples/aspects of bullying may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Name calling of any kind (including verbal and/or written name calling).
- Jokes and/or pranks during School time.
- Pushing and shoving (e.g. in the tuckshop line).
- Comments made by learners regarding the gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, race, academic abilities and politics of others.
- Learners excluding other learners from groups (whether during class or on the FHHS premises).
- Intimidating actions directed by a learner at another learner and/or at a staff member
- Sarcastic remarks made by one person to another person.
- Damaging the property of another person.
- Derogatory remarks made on social network sites like WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, Email, Facebook and Twitter.
- Constantly asking for tuck shop money or food.
Any incident of bullying that occurs outside of the physical campus may have an adverse impact on the well-being of learners enrolled at Fish Hoek High School, the school environment and the good reputation of Fish Hoek High School. This applies when dressed in the school uniform or clearly identifiable as a learner of ours. Such incidents would be addressed but not to the same extent.
The following points should be a part of the school’s anti-bullying policy:
It is the responsibility of pupils, learners and educators to report incidents of alleged and/or actual cyber-bullying and to provide relevant evidence of such bullying (including, for example, screenshots of offending cyber activity). Given the elusive nature of cyber-bullying, the school’s ability to enforce the anti-bullying policy in relation to cyber-bullying is limited by the extent to which incidents of alleged or actual cyber-bullying are reported and to the extent that relevant evidence is made available to Fish Hoek High School.
Fish Hoek High School cannot be expected to intervene in a cyber-bullying matter where (i) the incident in question was not reported to the School; (ii) the incident occurred on personal devices not operated or owned by the School; (iii) no credible evidence of the incident is available to the School; and (iv) the School was otherwise not aware of the incident.
A clear commitment by Fish Hoek High School to have regular, age-appropriate and educational discussions / engagements with learners and parents regarding the dangers of cyber activity, how to identify cyber-bullying and how best to respond to cyber-bullying.
PROCEDURES FOR CREATING EARLY AWARENESS OF BULLYING BEHAVIOUR
Due to the nature of bullying, it is often difficult to identify until repeated offences have occurred. This often is very late in the bullying cycle. Whilst we strongly encourage children to report to an adult if they feel they are being bullied, some will not do so and may indicate by signs or behaviour that something is wrong. Adults at home and at School should be aware of these possible signs and should investigate if a child:
● is unwilling to go to school
● displays noticeable changes in their behaviour e.g becoming withdrawn or disruptive
● sleeps badly
● feigns illness to miss school
● presents school work of an inferior quality
● starts picking on siblings at home
● stops eating properly
● is afraid to use the internet or mobile phone
These signs and behaviours could also indicate other problems, however bullying should be considered as a possibility and investigated. Thus, in order to ensure that potential bullying is brought to the attention of the School Management as early as possible, the following procedures will be implemented:
● SRC and teachers will be placed on duty at breaks with a particular awareness of areas of the playground where bullying has occurred or been sited.
● Regular interventions will ensure that learners are aware of their rights and their responsibilities with regard to interpersonal behaviour.
● Anti-bullying awareness workshops will be conducted annually for the grade 8s/ 9s.
● Learner-centred methods of communicating bullying issues will include: the SRC- orientation programme; the peer counselling programme; the class representative system and the school counsellors.
● Regular communication between parents and management regarding these issues to be constantly encouraged.
● On-going work of the school counsellors.
● The victim approaches an educator/ Grade Head/ school counsellor/ Grade Supervisor.
The victim reports bullying on our School Reporting System. QR codes are displayed throughout our school.
The alleged perpetrator is made aware of possible unhappiness and allegations of bullying and is warned off while the matter is being investigated. The parents of the alleged victim are contacted up front with the reassurance that the school is investigating and have warned both parties off.
● The issue is dealt with by discussing the matter with both parties and taking any necessary steps. At this stage it is not necessarily dealt with as bullying if there is a sense that it is not yet ongoing. However, the perpetrator will be warned that any future offences of this nature will be treated as bullying behaviour.
It is recorded in Ed-admin under notes link to the pupil profile as a record.
● If the bullying persists, the Grade Head will deal with the matter. The Grade Head will now treat it as bullying and a parent meeting with the offenders parent may be convened.
● At this meeting the issue, possible consequences and steps to address/resolve the matter will be discussed and agreed upon.
● If the bullying persists, then the Grade Supervisor/ Deputy Principal will address the matter.
● At this level, there is a Disciplinary Intervention where after the future possibility of suspension or a request for the perpetrator/s to leave the School, may be a possible course of action.
● The name of the bully is entered on our internal management system.
● Formal interviews with all concerned parties may/will include witnesses.
● Counselling takes place at each level and a written account is kept on file.
● The appropriate form of discipline depends on the severity of the bullying behaviour and may take on any of the following forms:
- Verbal warning,
- General Detention,
- Saturday Detention,
- Disciplinary Intervention
- Internal or External Suspension, or
- Request to leave the School (as determined by the SGB Disciplinary Committee)
● Physical areas of concern are monitored especially during break and recreation times.
● Peer support teams are established.
● Issues are integrated throughout the curriculum on a continuous basis and at designated times e.g. assembly.
● Awareness is created with certain events such as an ‘Anti-Bullying Week’ and permanent display classroom posters