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The law on ... Bullying

Basic issues

If allegations of bullying are not addressed promptly and specifically, this can lead to problems in the future. There is currently a case being heard in the High Court against a private school where a 23-year-old man has sued his school for failing to address his complaints of bullying while at school.

Who is responsible?

The headteacher and governing body are responsible for ensuring that bullying policies are in place. Ensure that these policies are brought to the attention of staff and made available to parents on request. A bullying policy must cover what steps the school will take if made aware of allegations and to ensure that an adequate and fair investigation is undertaken. This would include obtaining statements from children and teachers, taking steps to identify if bullying is taking place and how to eradicate it.

What of the future?

Bullying is a grey area of the law in that it is not governed by statute. Teachers have a duty to ensure that the issue is dealt with by implementing internal procedures and to take a stance of "no tolerance" within their grounds.

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