São Paulo, Brazil – After two violent attacks in 10 days that left a teacher and four children dead, Brazil’s government announced the creation of a working group to develop a national policy to combat violence in schools.
The group, formed by the ministries of education, justice, human rights and the general secretariat of the presidency, will have 90 days to create proposals. The first meeting is already scheduled for this Thursday morning, in Brasília, the country’s capital.
According to the Minister of the Secretariat of Communication, Paulo Pimenta, the idea of the inter-ministerial group will be “to value in society a culture of peace, a culture of non-violence.”
The announcement was made hours after a 25-year-old man invaded a daycare center in Blumenau, in the southern state of Santa Catarina, and killed four children between the ages of four and seven. Five other children were injured. After the attack, the suspect was arrested and the police have opened an investigation.
On March 27, a 13-year-old entered a school in São Paulo and stabbed four teachers and one student. A teacher, 71-year-old Elizabeth Tenreiro, died from her injuries. The other victims survived.
Due to the uptick in attacks in schools, which are not generally common in Brazil when compared to the United States, the federal government announced the creation of the working group.
In addition, the Ministry of Justice is going to send R$150 million (USD $30 million) to states and cities to reinforce security around schools.
The ministry will also focus on monitoring internet forums and the deep web, where violent attacks are often planned and even encouraged.
Currently, the government has a group of 10 police officers to monitor the situation. Starting this Thursday, the group will be expanded to 50 police officers with the aim of identifying possible new attacks on schools.
“Right now we are seeing an idea of panic. That is why we will have 50 police officers who will dedicate themselves exclusively to monitoring possible threats on the internet,” said Minister of Justice Flávio Dino.
Suspected of isolated case in Blumenau
The police chief of Santa Catarina, Ulisses Gabriel, said that the attack on the daycare center in Blumenau was an isolated case, unrelated to other violent acts. “Previous interviews with the suspect indicate that this is an isolated incident. It is not related to games involving other criminals,” he said.
Blumenau police chief Ronnie Esteves said the suspect had no connection with the daycare center and chose the location of the attack at random. “It was random. He was at a nearby gym and chose the school as a target,” he said.
According to Esteves, the suspect arrived at the daycare center on a motorcycle and jumped over the wall. He attacked the children who were in the playground and then jumped the same wall to flee the scene. Soon after, the suspect turned himself in at a police station and was arrested. He had a hatchet and a pocket knife, used in the attack.
The man is currently in jail and will undergo a psychological evaluation to identify eventual mental disorders. The police have asked the courts for permission to unblock and search his phone as well to see if others may have been involved in the attack.
Also according to the police, the suspect has four charges in his criminal record. In 2016, he was involved in a fight at a nightclub. In 2021, he was arrested for possession of cocaine and later for stabbing his stepfather. Last year, he broke down the gate of his stepfather’s house and stabbed a dog.
Brazil Reports, along with other media in the country, has chosen not to publish the suspect’s name to avoid giving him notoriety.