Code of Conduct

Physical contact which may be misconstrued by a pupil, parent or other casual observer should be avoided. Such contact can include well intentioned informal gestures such as putting a hand on the shoulder or arm, which if repeated with an individual pupil could be misconstrued, as well as more obvious and more intimate contact which should never occur. There may be occasions when a distressed child needs comfort and re-assurance, which may include physical comforting such as a caring parent may give. Teachers should use their discretion in such cases to ensure that what is, and what is seen by others present to be, normal or natural, does not become unnecessary and unjustified contact, particularly with the same child over a period of time. Some teachers are likely to come into physical contact with their pupils from time to time in the course of their teaching, for example when showing a pupil how to use a piece of apparatus or equipment or while demonstrating a move or exercise during games or PE. Teachers should be aware of the limits within which such contacts should take place and of the probability of such contact being misrepresented by the pupil. 

Extracts taken from “Guidance for Teachers
- a professional response for Changing Times”
- an INTO publication.
Cumann na mBunscol earnestly requests teachers to ask Staff Rep. INTO for a copy.
Teachers who administer first aid should ensure, wherever possible, that other children, or another adult are present if they are in any doubt as to whether necessary physical contact could be misconstrued. Following any incident where a teacher feels that his/her actions have been, or may be misconstrued, a written report of the incident should be submitted immediately to the Principal of the school. This would apply especially in a case where a teacher had been obliged to restrain a child physically to prevent him/her from inflicting injury to others or self injury. Teachers should be particularly careful when supervising children in a residential setting such as a ski-trip, outdoor education camp or an extended visit away from home, where more informal relationships tend to be usual and where teachers may be in proximity to pupils in circumstances very different from the normal school environment.