By Fernando Cardoso
(Reuters) – After two fatal attacks on schools in São Paulo and Blumenau (SC), educational entities across the country are promoting additional protection and security measures inside and outside classrooms to deal with fears of new attacks, stimulated by what the Lula government calls the spread of panic on social networks.
In addition to the efforts of the federal administration, which announced transfers to municipalities and the creation of a system to receive complaints, States, municipalities, universities and other private entities are also taking their own measures to improve security within the study centers.
In São Paulo, the State Department of Education stated that it has intensified operations to monitor and investigate threats reported by schools and is guiding the use of cameras in educational units.
In Rio de Janeiro, government authorities reinforced policing in schools and created a permanent security committee to monitor the situation, reported the Rio de Janeiro Secretary of Education.
In Santa Catarina, Governor Jorginho Mello (PL) announced a plan to place at least one armed police officer in state public schools.
Private schools and universities have also taken action to strengthen security for students and teachers.
In São Paulo, the Instituto Presbiteriano Mackenzie, one of the most traditional universities in the city, announced the hiring of more security professionals for its facilities and made access difficult at the entrance.
The FMU University Center, also in São Paulo, in addition to increasing the number of its own security staff, reported that it was in contact with police authorities to have more motorized rounds around its units.
Institutions linked to the area of education warn, however, that long-term solutions to the crisis of violence must also involve psychosocial measures, which accompany the development of students from a psychological point of view.
The National Association of Private Universities (Anup) stated in a note that “schools need to pay close attention to the signals that students send us” and “should reinforce their areas of psychopedagogical support, welcome and guide teachers and coordinators, combat bullying and any kind of intolerant or discriminatory action”.
The National Union of Students (UNE) argued that “intense work must be done for mental health in schools and universities, covering the entire community, in addition to the monitoring and cooperation of platforms against extremist posts and exaltation of violence”.
The days after the attack on a day care center in Blumenau, in which a man invaded the place with a hatchet and killed four children, have been filled with fear in the face of new threats and false reports of new attacks.
Content about false new attacks received thousands of views on social media this week. Some of the posts use old images to claim that there were recent attacks in Brazilian cities, as shown by Reuters Fact Check, Reuters’ fact-checking division. The aim is to spread panic and disrupt investigations, researchers say.
To deal with the attacks and the wave of fear, the federal government created an inter-ministerial working group on violence in schools. He also announced the transfer of 150 million reais by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security for use in schools and 100 million reais for municipal guards.
In addition, an ordinance was edited that establishes guidelines for social networking platforms to reinforce the monitoring of threatening messages and eventually remove them from the air.
According to the Minister of Justice, Flávio Dino, this is an emergency situation, with an “epidemic” of attacks and threats, in addition to the spread of panic.
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