“Stray bullets are also flying around in schools in Rio.” “Under threat, the schools are closing.” “Students are injured as a result of [nearby] shoot-outs.”
These are the titles of stories that ran in Folha from 1996, 2003 and 2006, but could be referring to the scenario in 2017, due to the resurgence of violence in the city.
On 93 out of 100 school days this year at least one school in the municipal network has had classes interrupted due to cases of violence, according to the Secretary of Education.
These cases are episodes in which a school either didn’t open or suspended activities already in progress. In total, 381 schools (25% of the municipal network), went without classes on at least one day due to shoot-outs taking place nearby. The result: 129,000 children were affected.
This is what happened to Thayanne Galati, 13, during all of last week. She goes to school at the Daniel Piza Municipal School in the Acari neighborhood in the northern zone, the area where education has been affected the most this year.
Thayanne was friends with Maria Eduarda da Conceiçao, 13, who died from a stray-bullet fired in a shoot-out between police and drug traffickers.
“I tell my teachers that we have to dedicate ourselves as if each day was our last one. We don’t know if we’re going to be able to teach class the next day”, declared Isadora Souza, Principal at Nova Holanda, located in the Maré Complex, which ranks in second place as the region in which education was most affected by violence.
Both areas are controlled in a similar fashion by more than one criminal faction and are frequent staging grounds for police operations.
With a R$ 21 billion (US$ 6.4 billion) short-fall in the State’s coffers, Rio’s public security services are dismantling.
In the resulting vacuum, criminal groups increasingly enter into confrontation between themselves, which, in turn, ends up bringing in the police and provoking even more conflict.