Cyber Bullying Policy

The following policy should be read in conjunction with the Behaviour Policy.

Preamble

Mitcham Primary School is firmly committed to providing equality of opportunity for all students and employees. If students and employees are to perform to their best, they must learn and work in environments free from discrimination, harassment and bullying.

This policy has been updated in line with the new recommendations of the Cossey review.

This policy aims to promote positive, protective and supportive behaviours and to eliminate various forms of cyber bullying.

What is Cyber Bullying?

Cyber bullying uses e-technology as a means of victimising others. It is the use of an internet service or mobile technologies such as email, chat rooms, discussion groups, instant messaging, web pages or SMS - with the intent of harming another person.

Activities can include repeated negative messages, sexual and racist harassment, denigration, impersonation, trickery, exclusion and cyber stalking. Cyber bullying may involve varying levels of severity, ranging from occasional messages to frequently repeated and highly disturbing threats to a person's life.

Cyber-bullying can occur from a single act when the message or picture is sent to more than one person. For example, a person may only press ‘send' once, but the choice to send the message to multiple addresses, makes the action more than a single incident.

What is an E-Crime?

E-crime occurs when computers, mobile phones or other electronic communication devices are used to commit an offence, are targeted in an offence, or act as a storage device in an offence.

An e-crime can include sexting, impersonation, intimidation, harassment and using the internet or mobile phones to transmit suicide related material, to make a threat or to menace, harass or cause offence.

Sexting occurs when a person writes or takes a sexually-explicit digital photograph or message and/or transmits this image/text. If the image is of a minor, it may represent child pornography, that can result in imprisonment.

Does it matter when or where it is posted?

If a child or student behaves online in a manner that threatens the wellbeing of another student, even if this occurs off-site and/or out of school hours, the principal has the authority under Regulations 41.1.b to suspend or exclude a student from attendance at school. Hence all cyber-bullying reported to the school involving school students and/or staff whether on or off site, and/or during or out of school hours will be dealt with according to our school’s behaviour management policy.

What is the school response to a suspected e-crime?

Incident will be reported to SAPOL on 131 444 and their advice will be followed. The equipment used in the alleged e-crime will be confiscated by the member of the school’s leadership team dealing with the incident. They will then cease to further investigate the e-crime and will not open nor view any of the evidence. They will then hand over the equipment to the SAPOL investigating officer.

SAPOL will the decide whether to proceed with the investigation.

Irrespective of whether SAPOL investigate or not, all incidents of cyberbullying and e-crimes will be treated as a student behaviour management issue by the school. Where the incident is perpetrated by a student and affects the well-being of other students or staff members the school will follow the school discipline procedures.

Policy update and review

The school council and staff regularly monitor and review the effectiveness of the Cyber Bullying Policy (at least every three years) and revise the policy when required.

Policy last reviewed May 2020. Next review May 2023.

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