School Violence

The teaching quality of Portuguese learning institutions depends on the population that is receiving the training, their family background support, the teaching staff quality and motivation, the sociocultural environment and the economical development of that population. In some ghettos, specially in Greater Lisbon's suburbs where many immigrants, immigrant descendants from PALOP countries, among some other ethnic minorities, are concentrated, and also areas with higher unemployment rates and other severe social problems, exist schools with generalized high dropout and juvenile delinquency rates. In Greater Porto, there are no African or other significant immigrant ghettos like in Lisbon, but there is a high dropout and juvenile delinquency rates among nationals from former rural areas, of humble origins or from ethnic minorities from specific districts or quarters.

School violence in Portugal is not unique to public schools or the major urban centers. Public and private Portuguese schools have all experienced an increase in school violence. However, due to the general wealth and educational background of private school student's families, and the increased private security measures adopted, private schools have generally a lower level of violence.

Violence in Portuguese schools became an educational issue for the first time during the 1990s, mainly through the persistence of parental associations and teacher claims. However, it must be said that this was not the first time that violence appeared in Portuguese schools as a significant situation. After the 25 de Abril revolution of 1974 the occurrence of violent situations reached the highest point. This was a politically socialized and framed violence, quite different from the kind of violence we can find today. That one had political programs, this one is quite anomic. Its origin is very diverse, from poverty to psychological problems. Theft, random or systematic physical aggression, bullying, destruction of school or teachers properties are realities which become current in many schools.

In May 2006, a television program was broadcast in RTP 1, titled Quando a violência vai à escola (When violence goes to the school) by journalist Mafalda Gameiro. Using hidden cameras in the classrooms, the program shows the violent behavior of many young students (with ages between 10 and 13 years old) inside the classroom of a very problematic unidentified school, and the chaos and fear often generated. Students and teachers privacy was also protected during image recording for TV. In 2004 and 2005, the Portuguese Ministry of Education reported over 1,200 aggressions inside Portuguese schools.

School safety
Escola Segura provides a safety program to 11 thousand schools, it involves 600 police officers a day, 300 cars and 160 motorbikes.