The underlying principle of the ABC is ‘peer mediation’. Students helping and giving support to other students experiencing difficulties.
Each class in every year group elects an ABC rep. This election takes place in the week preceding Easter in first year. Each of these class reps will represent her class at the weekly ABC meeting. This person will remain the primary contact person for her class throughout the Junior Cycle at Cluny. Another election is held at the beginning of fourth year to elect each class’s senior rep. Though rarely enforced the ABC Co-ordinator has the right to remove a student representative at any time should he/she feel it is warranted.
At the beginning of First Year each class tutor speaks to her/his class regarding the ABC. He/she outlines to them the responsibility of the ABC rep. They are then given until Easter before the election takes place. The election is deliberately delayed so as to give First Year students an opportunity to get to know her peers in the hope that they will vote for somebody they feel would be suitable for the position and not merely on friendship of popularity grounds.
Up until Easter each first year class is assigned a senior ABC rep. The senior rep will bring any issues that a First Years might have to the ABC weekly meeting during this period.
ABC training is done on an informal basis. Reps develop their skills and experience by attending meetings and working alongside more Senior reps.
An Issue – The ABC Process
If an issue exists which requires ABC intervention the students involved will be requested to attend an ABC meeting. These meetings are normally held during lunchtime. All students should bring their lunch to such meetings.
The ABC normally meets with each individual involved in the dispute separately to ascertain their side of the story. The approach taken is one which does not view anyone in trouble rather than an issue has arisen which needs to be resolved. A teacher and one other student rep attend the meeting on behalf of the ABC. Notes are taken at this meeting. These notes are usually read back to the student and signed by all present.
After hearing both sides the ABC encourages students to attend a meeting together in order to bring closure to the issue. Agreement is sought from both parties to a mutual acceptable way of dealing with each other and going forward. Again students are requested to sign any agreement reached at this meeting.
- Discipline rules may be applied in certain cases.
- Confidentiality may not always be assumed.
Contacting the ABC – Students
There are a number of ways a student can contact the ABC:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Approach any year rep or teacher representative directly. Reps can be easily identified by the yellow smiley face badge they wear.
- Put a letter into the ABC box. This box is yellow and is located in the main foyer.
- Through their class prefect.
- Through their tutor.
- Through their Year Head.
- Through any class teacher.
- Through the Principal and Vice-Principal.
- Through the Guidance Counsellor.
- Through the office by getting a parent/guardian to phone in.
Contacting the ABC – Parents
Any parent who has a concern which they feel is an issue is welcome to contact the school. Parents who do so should request to speak to one of the teacher representatives, either Ms Marren or Ms Ryan. They should clearly state that their concern is a matter for the ABC.
The ABC works on the basis that whatever is discussed at an ABC meeting remains within that meeting. A breach by any individual of this confidentiality is taken very seriously by the ABC.