We know that the bullying of children with unusual appearances is all too common

emPowering teachers

For specific advice for teachers in Scotland, please scroll down.

emPowering teachers

  • School should be a nice place to be and a safe place for everyone
  • Bear in mind that a child who has a condition, injury or mark that affects their way they look will be especially vulnerable to ostracism, ‘banter’ and bullying at school
  • Notice any change in a pupil’s behaviour or mood
  • Notice changes in who they hang out with at breaks and lunchtimes
  • When you overhear a pupil’s remark or notice an action that seems disrespectful, step in and find out what’s going on
  • ‘Just banter’ often means ‘We’re having a laugh and we don’t care how our fun makes someone else feel’. Never accept ‘banter’ – step in and find out what’s going on
  • Share concerns with colleagues. Is this a one-off or is it bullying? (If a child is subject to ‘one-off’ incidents from a number of different individuals this will amount to harassment and, in law, harassment is a crime)
  • A child who is bullied may also be a child who needs help with social skills etc. But never mix this up with the immediate task of addressing bullying behaviour. Organise social skills sessions if required, for another time. Remember: it’s someone’s impulse or desire to hurt someone that causes bullying. Unusual appearance or poor social skills never ‘cause’ bullying
  • Take time to remind yourself and all pupils that they are all equally respected and cherished individuals
  • Make sure your school’s anti-bullying policy is up-to-date and fit for purpose, fully understood by all staff, parents and pupils, and fully applied
  • Send an email letter to all parents reminding them of your school’s ethos and values
  • Make sure all parents understand that all incidents of bullying, disrespect and unkindness will be challenged; this includes social media

Want further advice? Contact our education specialist, Dr Jane Frances or call 0345 450 0275.

emPowering teachers in Scotland 

  • School should be a nice place to be and a safe place for everyone
  • Bear in mind that a child who has a condition or injury or mark that affects the way they look will be especially vulnerable to ostracism, “banter”, and bullying at school
  • In Scotland, the document ‘A National Approach to anti-bullying for Scotland’s Children’ states that all staff (not just teaching staff) and children should share a common, language about bullying so they can discuss bullying and its effects on them
  • Notice any change in any pupil’s behaviour or mood
  • Notice changes in who they hang out with at breaks and lunchtimes
  • When you overhear a pupil’s remark or notice an action that seems disrespectful, step in and find out what’s going on
  • “Just banter” often means “We’re having a laugh and we don’t care how our fun makes someone else feel”. Never accept “banter” – step in and find out what’s going on
  • Share concerns with colleagues. Is this a one-off or is it bullying? (If a child is subject to ‘one-off’ incidents from a number of different individuals this will amount to harassment and, in law, harassment is a crime)
  • Use definition of bullying used by Respectme as a guide to find out if it is bullying: ‘Bullying is behaviour that impacts on a person’s capacity to feel in control of themselves; Bullying makes people feel hurt, frightened and left out; This behaviour may not be repeated but the threat can be sustained’ 
  • A child who is bullied may also be a child who needs help with social skills etc. But never mix this up with the immediate task of addressing bullying behaviour. Organise social skills sessions if required, for another time. Remember: it’s someone’s impulse or desire to hurt someone that causes bullying. Unusual appearance or poor social skills never ‘cause’ bullying
  • Take time to remind yourself and all pupils that they are all equally respected and cherished individuals
  • Make sure your school’s anti-bullying policy is up-to-date and fit for purpose, fully understood by all staff, parents and pupils, and fully applied
  • Send an email letter to all parents reminding them of your school’s ethos and values
  • Make sure all parents understand that all incidents of bullying, disrespect and unkindness will be challenged. This includes social media.

Want further advice? Contact our Face Equality Advisor, Lorna Telford, or call 0345 450 0640.

#powerforgood

Photograph: Marcus and friends, photographed by Christopher Thomond for The Guardian