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Wednesday, 12 April 2023

Brazil hit by two new school attacks in 24 hours

A 13-year-old boy stabbed three classmates Tuesday at a school in Brazil, the second such assault in 24 hours, adding to fears over spiraling school violence after a series of deadly attacks.

Brazil is on edge after a man armed with a hatchet burst into a preschool last week and hacked four children to death, shocking the nation and thrusting the issue of school safety into the spotlight.

Police said a student in the central city of Santa Tereza had thrown a firecracker into a classroom, then attacked classmates with a knife when they fled into the hallway.

He wounded three before being subdued by a janitor.

On Monday, a student in the northern city of Manaus stabbed a teacher and two classmates, media reports said.

Justice Minister Flavio Dino said Monday that a climate of panic was spreading in the wake of last Wednesday’s attack on the Good Shepherd preschool and day care center in the southern city of Blumenau.

The 25-year-old attacker climbed over the school’s wall and went on a rampage on the playground, killing four children between the ages of four and seven before handing himself in to police.

Messages have been circulating on social media warning of further school attacks, including a viral video telling parents not to send their children to school on April 20, the anniversary of the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in the US state of Colorado.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s government has announced 150 million reais (around $29 million) in federal funding to local governments to bolster security in schools.

Dino called for social networks to actively monitor content related to school violence. The government has proposed requiring the companies to fast-track requests from authorities to remove such posts.

Deadly school violence used to be relatively rare in Brazil, but has been increasing in recent years.

Last month, a 13-year-old boy killed a teacher in a knife attack at a school in Sao Paulo.

In November, a 16-year-old shooter killed four people in twin attacks on two schools in the southeastern city of Aracruz.

Brazil’s deadliest school shooting was in 2011, when a man opened fire at his former elementary school in the Rio de Janeiro suburb of Realengo, killing 12 children and then himself.

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