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Bullying and school violence

Any act of physical or psychological, intentional and repetitive violence that occurs without obvious motivation, practiced by an individual or group, against one or more people, with the aim of intimidating or assaulting them, causing pain and anguish to the victim.

Bullying and school violence

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 06/06/2022

By: Cláudia Verardi - Librarian at Fundação Joaquim Nabuco - PhD in Librarianship and Documentation

Violence and bullying are increasingly common in schools. This scenario of violence in schools may have consequences for children’ and adolescents’ lives, requiring studies on possible forms of control and the best way to make parents and teachers aware of their role in this process.


And what is bullying? According to Law No. 13,185 called “Program to Combat Systematic Intimidation” (bullying) sanctioned on November 6, 2015:


Systematic intimidation (bullying) is considered to be any act of physical or psychological, intentional and repetitive violence occurring without evident motivation, practiced by an individual or group, against one or more people, aiming to intimidate or assault them, causing pain and anguish to the victim, in a relationship of power imbalance among the involved parties.

These acts of violence committed by one or more aggressors towards a victim can be of verbal, moral, sexual, social, psychological, physical, material and virtual nature. As examples we can cite humiliation or contempt for a person’s characteristic: the use of glasses, if there is any non-standard physical trait (very overweight or underweight, stuttering, etc.), being a studious individuals, shy, new to school, among others.


Aggressors usually look for seemingly “easy” targets, who are defenseless people, to feel powerful by performing these acts. Usually people who bully others are aware of their actions and feel the need to stand out somehow, thus revealing a perverse mind.


There are several forms of violence involving children and adolescents in society. Among them, intra-family violence, violence at school and in the community stand out. It is even more evident when physical or psychological violence occurs in an intimidating and systematic way, being conducted by an individual or group, without apparent motivation, within the places where the teaching principles provided for in article 206 of the Brazilian Federal Constitution should be worked. It is how it is ensured that all Brazilians be able to remain in school, with respect for freedom, living with the pluralism of ideas, which are hallmarks of a democratic society and with guarantees of fundamental rights (JOTZ, 2016, p.2)


The way to minimize the problem involves moral education, which can start with dialogue with students and be complemented with lectures and other awareness-raising actions. The objective is to show that some attitudes harm personal and social growth in addition to interfering with learning.

The term school violence refers to all aggressive and anti-social behavior, including interpersonal conflicts, property damage, criminal acts, etc. Many of these situations depend on external factors, whose interventions may be beyond the competence and capacity of educational institutions and their employees. However, for many people the possible solution can be obtained in the school environment (LOPES NETO, 2005, p. 165).


A positive educational scenario requires good relationships among its members. Respect and cordiality are part of this dynamic.

To what extent does homeschooling influence student behavior at school? Respect for hierarchy and respect for the rights of others, as well as the appropriate behavior for each occasion, are normally developed in the family environment.

Learning to listen to others and to discuss their difficulties or doubts as well as respect for individuality and other people’s things can and should be learned in the family environment, as this attitude will probably be extended both to the school environment and to social life.


People who come from violent homes may tend to be violent in society as well or, conversely, to behave in a withdrawn or antisocial manner. In this aspect, psychological support is important to contain such tendencies and reorganize thinking towards respect for others, which is the basis of any relationship.


The issue of aggression by students towards their teachers is also worrying, as the latter should be seen as those who will help them in personal growth and in the construction of knowledge to guarantee a more promising future, as the more knowledge an individual acquires, the more easily he/she will have a job placement in the future. These confrontations in general can have the same origin as the bullying with colleagues: the need to stand out, albeit in a negative way, or the false sense of power that these attitudes bring, requiring, in most cases, psychological monitoring and greater observation and family interference in order to inhibit these acts, thus treating the causes.

Silva (2018) reflects on the difficulty of identifying the causes or factors that contribute to violence in the school context, as the very definition of violence is relatively presented and differently understood differently according to the facts and approaches of each field researcher


Unlike “mocking,” bullying is not fun and can cause trauma to the victim, in addition to being a crime. The Commission for Public Security and Combating Organized Crime approved the proposal that includes in the Penal Code (Decree-law 2.848/40), the crime of vexatious intimidation (or bullying) on November 20, 2013, from one to three years and a fine. If the crime occurs in a school environment, the penalty is 50% higher.


The proposal classifies as crime intimidating, constraining, offending, punishing, submitting, ridiculing or exposing someone to continuous physical or moral suffering.


In Brazil there are few studies on bullying, but it is common knowledge that aggressiveness in schools is a common and universal problem and that it has negative consequences for both aggressors and victims and even mere observers of the process. Cultivating respect for yourself and others can be a way to combat bullying and violence in schools.


What to Do in Bullying Cases? Some acts of bullying need to be seen as a police case! It is necessary to gather evidence and have a witness so that the aggressor is punished. In case of bullying, the victim or witness can call Dial 100 (Dial Human Rights). The call is free and the hotline works 24 hours a day.



Recife, November 28, 2018.


sources consulted

Bullying é crime? Saiba como agir [Foto neste texto]. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 28 nov. 2018. 

DIREITO e Justiça: Comissão aprova inclusão do crime de bullying no Código Penal. 2013. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 28 nov. 2018.

JOTZ, Maria Eunice Viana. O Combate à intimidação sistemática sob a tutela da constituição federal: “Bullying” é questão de direito. 2016. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 27 nov. 2018.

LOPES NETO, Aramis A. Bullying – comportamento agressivo entre estudantes. Jornal de Pediatria, Rio de Janeiro, v. 81, n.5, p.164-172, 2005. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: 27 nov. 2018.

SILVA, José Antonio da. Educação Moral Como Forma de Combater a Violência e o Bulling nas Escolas. Revista Científica Multidisciplinar Núcleo do Conhecimento, a.3, ed. 8, v.1, p. 104-114, ago. 2018.

how to quote this text

VERARDI, Cláudia Albuquerque. Bullying and school violence. In: PESQUISA Escolar. Recife: Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, 2018. Available from: Access on: Month. day, year. (Ex.: Aug. 6, 2020.)