Be informed. Be challenged. Be inspired.

In Brazil, Christian leaders say school attacks connected to “culture of violence”

São Paulo, Brazil

A growing number of school attacks in Brazil are connected to the promotion of “a culture of violence” in the country over the past few years, according to Christian leaders in the country.

Brazil has seen a surge in attacks on schools in recent years including a 27th March incident in the city of São Paulo in which a 13-year-old student stabbed to death a teacher and injured six other people. 

Brazil - Sao Paulo - school attack memorial

Students from the Thomazia Montoro State School and high school students from the student movement pay tribute to the victims of the 27th March, 2023, attack, outside the school, in Vila Sônia. PICTURE: Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil

Data shows that between 2002 and 2019, only seven school attacks were reported in Brazil. Between August, 2022, and March this year, however, reported attacks have occurred at the rate of about one a month, with an unprecedented number in April this year, when several cases were seen in different regions and the police monitored thousands of threats on social media. 

The worst occurrence happened in a daycare in the city of Blumenau, Santa Catarina state, which resulted in the deaths of four children.

“A culture of violence was very present in our country over the past few years,” said Roman Catholic Archbishop João Justino Silva of Goiânia, who heads the bishops’ conference’s commission on education. “There is a process of deterioration of relations and lack of respect for human life and dignity.” 

While Brazil has been historically a violent country, the “promotion of weapons [by politicians] has been working as an endorsement of violence”, he said, alluding to former President Jair Bolsonaro who campaigned in 2018 to loosen gun controls and under whose administration the number of fire weapons circulating in the nation rose to an unprecedented extent.

Bishop Humberto Maiztegui Gonçalves, of the Southern Diocese of the Anglican Episcopal Church, said the promotion of gun culture can be very harmful when they reach emotionally unstable people, with terrible consequences for the society as a whole and especially for schools.

“To make things worse, the Nazi ideology has been disseminated on the internet and grew strong especially in states like Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul,” he told Sight.

Experts in hate crimes who monitor neo-Nazi and other radical groups on social media affirm that the April attacks were orchestrated and incentivised in online forums. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s administration has detained hundreds of people since the end of March in connection to such incidents.

We rely on our readers to fund Sight's work - become a financial supporter today!

For more information, head to our Subscriber's page.

Lutheran Pastor Odair Braun said some evangelical groups have been supporting ideas connected to the culture of violence, such as the extra-judicial killing of suspected criminals.

“Rationally, someone who follows Christ should never be an endorser of weapons. That is the opposite of the message of the Gospel,” he told Sight.

Another pastor, Augusto Amorim, Jr, a member of the United Presbyterian Church, said Christians must work for a culture of peace and oppose every idea of violence.

“Young people are very susceptible to violent speech on social media,” he said. “Our church has denounced on several occasions the dissemination of hate speech over the past few years.”

Brazil Blumenau school attack

People react after a daycare centre was attacked in Blumenau on 5th April, 2023. PICTURE: Eduardo Valente/Government of Santa Catarina

Bishop Maiztegui said it has been challenging for Christian leaders who oppose such ideas “to announce Christ’s loving project of justice and dignity”. 

“Christianity can show a colonialist nature and work as an instrument for the propagation of hate speech. Our church has not only denounced Bolsonaro’s pro-gun policies, but also combats violence on different levels, including racism and homophobia.”

Pastor Braun said Lutheran schools have taken the opportunity to discuss peace and diversity, stressing the need to establish harmonic relations with people who have different opinions.

“We have been emphasising that we can open new paths to live and cherish diversity in society and in our schools,” he said.

In Catholic communities, people have been discussing Pope Francis’s Global Compact on Education, which incentivises deep transformations on the relations between schools and society in order to educate for fraternity and promote hospitality, justice, and peace.

“We have to overcome many violences in our society, like social inequality, discrimination, and corruption. Our evangelisation must be effective to build an encompassing notion of peace,” said Archbishop Rev Silva.


sight plus logo

Sight+ is a new benefits program we’ve launched to reward people who have supported us with annual donations of $26 or more. To find out more about Sight+ and how you can support the work of Sight, head to our Sight+ page.



We’re interested to find out more about you, our readers, as we improve and expand our coverage and so we’re asking all of our readers to take this survey (it’ll only take a couple of minutes).

To take part in the survey, simply follow this link…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.