08/11/2023 – 20:57
Will Shutter / Chamber of Deputies
Professor Goreth; “Acting against violence in schools requires multiple strategies”
Deputies, education experts and representatives from three ministries were unanimous in stating this Wednesday (8) that the problem of violence in Brazilian schools must be combatted with integrated and comprehensive actions in the areas of public security, health and social assistance. They participated in a seminar promoted by the Chamber of Deputies working group responsible for proposing standards to guarantee a safe school environment.
Coordinator of the education bench, deputy Professor Goreth (PDT-AP), who chaired one of the seminar’s panels, said that the event showed that it is necessary to understand the complexity of the scenario before acting. “We have learned that acting on violence in schools requires the creation of multiple strategies, since a violent act permeates multiple spheres,” she said.
In the same sense, deputy Tabata Amaral (PSB-SP), who chairs the Mixed Parliamentary Front for Education, highlighted the importance of resisting the urge to look for easy answers to a complex problem. According to her, the response involves actions in the areas of public safety, health and social assistance. “That we know how to give tough and firm answers to each of the problems”, she proposed.
Hatred and bullying
When commenting on the complexity of the problem, the deputy cited the involvement of hate groups, the practice of bullying and cyberbullying and aspects linked to mental health, such as anxiety and depression. “During the pandemic in São Paulo, seven out of every ten students in the state network showed symptoms of depression and anxiety. It’s not an individual problem, it’s a collective problem,” she pointed out.
The vice-president of the National Council of Education Secretaries (Consed) and secretary of the area in the government of Rio Grande do Sul, Raquel Teixeira, reported that violence against schools is a recent fact in Brazilian culture. “From 2002 to now, we have had 49 deaths caused by attacks on schools and 115 injuries. These are unacceptable numbers when we remember that school is a sacred place, it is the place where children dream, live and learn to interact”, she lamented.
She highlighted other data on violence and suicide in schools. “The number of cases of anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide has increased, as well as aggressiveness. There is a case of a 7-year-old girl taking a knife to school to kill her classmate who gossiped about her boyfriend. This shows that we need a new look at teacher training, the school safety net and legislation,” she added.
The member of the working group on violence in schools at the Ministry of Education, Miriam Abramovay, presented a profile of the attackers. “They are all male, motivated by hate speech and online communities that recruit based on emotional resentment, reactionary values, using violent, sexist and racist language. We also cannot forget that there is a gun culture in Brazilian society, a glorification of violence and exhibitionism,” she said.
Miriam Abramovay also pointed out that violence in schools is a global phenomenon that usually presents itself through everyday events. According to her, this should not be treated with punitive and repressive logic, but with concrete and comprehensive public policies.
“We must not forget to talk about everyday violence, which has to do with social relationships, the school climate, bullying, cyberbullying, prejudice, discrimination. One of the ways to prevent and combat this violence are school coexistence programs, which range from participatory diagnostic research to the training of education professionals, the active participation of children and adolescents and the mapping of support networks”, he suggested.
Role of parents
Alesandro Barreto, coordinator of the Cyber Operations Laboratory at the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, also defended the focus on prevention actions and drew attention to the role of parents. “It has surprised us – and in today’s search and seizure it once again occurred: the father and mother don’t know what their son is doing on the internet. Leave your child connected all day and he ends up being co-opted by criminals,” he reported.
According to him, another important aspect is that the attacker does not have notoriety. “We have to create some type of resource to prevent people looking for likes and engagement on their social networks from publishing images of criminals. The criminal must not have notoriety, he must have jail time.”
The president of the Instituto Singularidades and former global director of education at the World Bank, Claudia Costin, recalled the tragedy in Realengo, west of Rio de Janeiro, which left 12 children dead in 2011. At the time, Claudia Costin was Secretary of Education at the state. The crime was committed by a 23-year-old former student who took two revolvers to the Tasso da Silveira Municipal School and shot the students, all aged 13 to 15. “It is important to take advantage of some of what has been learned in Brazil since then,” he said.
For Claudia Costin, it is necessary to be careful to avoid formulas that have not given good results in Brazil and other countries. “School patrols are important, but care must be taken with sensitive issues, such as the idea of placing metal detectors and armed police inside each school. International experience does not support this type of measure. Most of the schools attacked in the United States had metal detectors and police officers present,” she commented.
She also highlighted a “healing” process for students and teachers after acts of violence as a desirable measure. Among the measures would be the cancellation of classes the following day and the referral to psychological treatment of those who need additional support, in addition to dynamics with children and teachers.
Representative Jorge Goetten (PL-SC), coordinator of the working group, recalled the attack on a daycare center in Blumenau in April this year, when four children were killed and five were injured by a 25-year-old man. He stated that the collegiate’s expectation is to approve suggestions to combat violence in schools by the end of November.
“When we initially brought the families of the Blumenau victims who came here, they believed that it was possible to create a national public policy to combat violence in schools. We went deeper listening to you and it has been a great enrichment. We see that the best idea is the sum of several ideas,” he said.
The collegiate rapporteur is deputy Luisa Canziani (PSD-PR).
Report – Murilo Souza
Editing – Francisco Brandão