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Children Arrested in schools: Brazil has hit rock bottom

sábado 29 de outubro de 2016, por , Rita Freire

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The police of the State of Tocantins raid an occupied school, handcuff students, and drive children and young to the police station. There are over a thousand schools occupied in protest of the government. Translated by Jennifer Cox

On Thursday (10/27) the government of the State of Tocantins decided to use force to empty a school occupied by students protesting against proposals in the National Congress and measures announced by the government of Michel Temer in relation to education. At the request of the prosecutor of Miracema City, Vilmar Ferreira de Oliveira, the state police entered the School D. Filomena Moreira de Paula, and handcuffed and led 26 students to the police station.

Among the detainees, 11 minors

The image of young handcuffed protesters leaves no doubt about the measures that the current government is prepared to use to enforce policies that have met popular resistance after the government of President Dilma Rousseff was revoked at the end of August at the end of a shameful process of impeachment. At rock bottom, the country watches stunned as children and young people are driven away in police vans.

Students are standing up to the Reform of Secondary Education, drafted without dialogue with either the educational community or with society in general, and the Proposed Constitutional Amendment (PEC) 241, which limits the ceiling of public expenditure.

The reform makes the curriculum flexible in key disciplines, and prioritizes technical education, in detriment to training for integral development, including the arts, physical education and philosophy. It also removes the teaching of Spanish, a language spoken by Brazil’s Latin American neighbors. The PEC 241 will freeze the country’s investments in social areas for the next 20 years. That’s right: 20 years.

Students of the School D. Filomena Moreira de Paula and the Federal University of Tocantins (UFT) are just a small group out of the more than one thousand schools occupied across the country, in numbers that are growing every day. And the use of police force has begun to escalate in an effort to suppress this resistance. On the 18th, the Municipal Guard of Campinas, in the state of São Paulo, detained a group of young people who were demonstrating against education reform. They took the students in a police van. A mother became ill at the police station, where the group was detained. Among them were six minors.

In Campinas, students in the police van

Police repression may frighten young people and worry the parents of the students, but it also serves to increase the boiling cauldron of post-impeachment protests. Social and trade union movements have called for a general strike, scheduled for November 11th, while the Congress that is responsible for approving the impeachment rushes to adopt measures that compromise the general welfare that is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.

Other measures have also been taken by the government to corner the students, causing a climate of accusations, incrimination and the threat of punishment.

A letter sent by the Ministry of Education (MEC) to the directors of the Federal Institutes of Education on Wednesday October 19th asked the units to inform the Secretariat of Vocational and Technological Education (Setec) of any student occupations of its units. It also demanded that they identify the occupiers.

"I request a formal report about the existence of any possible occupations of physical spaces in the institutions under your responsibility, and, where appropriate, the identification of the occupiers, within five days," said the text. The directors, however, refused to comply. In the case of Tocantins, it was the Secretary of Education which called on the authorities and the 3rd Prosecutor’s Office of Children and Youth, which called for the eviction.

Students continue to demand the opening of a dialogue on reform, and the rejection of PEC 241. To date the position of parents, students and most teachers is to support the student movement.