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Bullying Prevention in Schools

Matosinhos Municipal Police Project

"Beating", "Screaming", "Making fun of others", "Violence", were some of the expressions that some students from Matosinhos Elementary School used to explain what is bullying, in a lecture promoted by the Matosinhos Municipal Police.

Like in the rest of the country, there are also identified cases of bullying in the schools of the municipality of Matosinhos that obviously worry the educational community.

The goal of the action is, in a school context, to raise awareness in order to prevent it. The session lasts about 40 minutes and challenges students to participate in various exercises.

Bullying is behavior that is intensely aggressive, violent, and humiliating, repeated over time. It can be perpetrated by one or several individuals and has various forms: verbal, physical, psychological, material, and cyberbullying.

Teresa Alves, agent of the Matosinhos Municipal Police, appealed to the students present to seek help from an adult if they witness any bullying situation.

In the lecture, emotions were addressed, both those that are at the origin of violent behavior, such as anger and sadness, and those that the victims feel, such as fear, sadness, demotivation or shame.

The awareness action identified the warning signs of this phenomenon: isolation, lack of appetite, drop in school performance (grades), difficulty sleeping, crying easily, not lifting their eyes from the floor, not leaving the classroom for the playground, not wanting to go to school, not doing the activities they previously liked, or dressing in a way that goes unnoticed by others.

In some cases, aggressive behaviors are influenced by the family environment, "venting anger on others", and by fear of what is different.

Therefore, the Matosinhos Municipal Police points out some emotional management solutions for aggressors and victims.

In the case of aggressors, when they feel anger, they are advised to take a deep breath, run around the school, talk to someone they trust, think of different things. A friend can help with a friendly word, a hug, or an invitation to participate in a game or a game with other classmates, in order to feel integrated in a group.

Regarding victims, he encouraged sharing, asking an adult for help, joining one or several groups, and always being accompanied.

When asked what to do to have healthy interpersonal relationships, students mentioned the importance of talking, knowing how to forgive, how to help and respect others, but also the ability to put themselves in the other's shoes and know what they are feeling.

Bullying is just one of the awareness actions that a team of four officers of the Matosinhos Municipal Police conducts throughout the year in all schools in the municipality, from pre-school to 2nd cycle education. Besides bullying, themes such as internet safety, dating violence, road safety, recycling and pets are approached.

Last year, a total of 159 awareness actions were carried out, involving a total of 3,249 participants.

Also during school vacations, the Matosinhos Municipal Police goes to schools and to ATL (Free Time Activities) spaces, which serve as support to families during extension periods.


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