Bullying and Harassment


Procedures for Preventing and Responding to Incidents of Harassment, Discrimination and Violence as per the 'PSSS Responsible Behaviour Plan for Students 2016 - 2019'.

All staff members are committed to consistent procedures for preventing and responding to incidents of harassment.

What is bullying/harassment?

Bullying and harassment are often thought of separately; however both involve a more powerful person or group oppressing a less powerful person or group, often on the grounds of 'difference'. These differences can be related to culture, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, ability or disability, religion, body size and physical appearance, age, marital status, parenting status or economic status.

Peregian Springs State School has adopted the following definition of bullying as provided by Dr Ken Rigby from the School of Education at the University of South Australia.

The definition of bullying is when the following sort of things happen again and again and again to someone who finds it hard to stop them happening:

1. Being ignored, left out on purpose or not allowed to join in

2. Being hit, kicked or pushed around

3. Lies or nasty stories are told about them to make other kids not like them

4. Being made afraid of getting hurt

5. Being made fun of and teased in a mean and hurtful way

Bullying and harassment

• may be physical (hitting, kicking, pinching), verbal (name-calling, teasing), psychological (standover tactics, gestures), social (social exclusion, rumours, putdowns) or sexual (physical, verbal or nonverbal sexual conduct)

• may be done directly (e.g. face to face) or indirectly (e.g. via mobiles or the internet)

• may be motivated by jealousy, distrust, fear, misunderstanding or lack of knowledge

• have an element of threat

• can continue over time

• are often hidden from adults

• will be sustained if adults or peers do not take action.

Indirect bullying

This form of bullying is harder to recognise and often carried out behind the bullied person’s back.  It is designed to harm someone’s social reputation and/or cause humiliation.  Indirect bullying includes:

• Lying and spreading rumours:

• Playing nasty jokes to embarrass and humiliate;

• Mimicking;

• Encouraging others to socially exclude someone;

• Damaging someone’s social reputation and social acceptance; and

• Cyber-bullying, which involves the use of email, text messages, chat rooms or other electronic means, to humiliate and distress someone.

What Bullying/Harassment is Not

Many distressing behaviours are not examples of bullying, even though they are unpleasant and often require teacher intervention and management.  There are three socially unpleasant situations that are often confused with bullying:

Mutual Conflict

In mutual conflict situations, there is an argument or disagreement between but not an imbalance of power.  Both parties are upset and usually both want a resolution to the problem.  However, unresolved mutual conflict sometimes develops into a bullying situation with one person becoming targeted repeatedly for ‘retaliation’ in a one-sided way.

Social rejection or dislike

Unless the social rejection is directed towards someone specific and involves deliberate and repeated attempts to cause distress, exclude or create dislike by others, it is not bullying.
Single-episode acts

Single episodes of nastiness or physical aggression are not the same as bullying.  If a student is verbally abused or pushed on one occasion they are not being bullied. Staff may refer to individual cases as a mean moment.
Nastiness or physical aggression that is directed towards many different students is not the same as bullying.

Discrimination is treating one person or group less fairly or less well than others. Discrimination may be direct or indirect and based on factors such as ability, culture, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, physical appearance, age, religion, marital status, parenting status or economic status.

Violence is the damaging and destructive use of force. Violence is often used to assert power over individuals.
• is not just physical – it takes many forms
• affects the safety, rights and freedom of others
• may be a one-off incident between individuals or groups
• can involve an ongoing relationship between parties
• may involve provoked or unprovoked acts
• may be used by those victimised by bullying to redress the imbalance of power.
The procedures for preventing and responding to incidents of harassment, discrimination and violence are
• explicit teaching about harassment, discrimination and violence and its effects on individuals and groups
• explicit teaching in what to say and do when experiencing or observing these events, including clearly defining the difference between asking for help and ‘dobbing’
• a school culture of ‘Walk and Report’
• thorough investigation of all reports
• counselling for the victim and the perpetrator – this may include the use of restorative justice for reaching agreements and resolving conflict
• recording of incidents to determine patterns of behaviour or ‘problem’ areas in the school.

Last reviewed 13 May 2019
Last updated 13 May 2019