On Monday (23/10), a 16-year-old teenager shot and killed a classmate and injured two others at Escola Estadual Sapopemba, in Jardim Sapopemba (east zone of São Paulo). This is the second case recorded in the capital of São Paulo this year alone one among many that have been reported throughout 2023. This is already the year with the highest number of cases of attacks in schools ever reported in Brazil.

The Attack and Motivation

The shooter, a 1st year high school student, entered the school at around 7:30, fired several shots and was apprehended by the Military Police after the action.

The motivations are still being investigated. According to the lawyer that represents the shooter, the teenager says he took action in an attempt to resolve the bullying and homophobia he suffered.

The attacks would have increased from the moment the teenager started wearing women’s clothes. In April, he says, the shooter’s mother filed a police report regarding attacks suffered at another school.

The Gun

The student who committed the attacks would have taken the firearm from his father’s house, without his knowledge. At the police station, the student stated that he learned how to use weapons on YouTube. The weapon was registered and in good condition, according to police.

Other Attacks

On March 27 of this year, a 71-year-old teacher died and four people were injured after being attacked with a knife by an eighth-grade student at Escola Estadual Thomazia Montoro, in the West Zone of São Paulo.

On 10 March, an attack on the Dom Bosco Professional School, in Poços de Caldas, in the south of Minas Gerais, left a 14-year-old student dead and three others injured. The attack was carried out by a former student of the school, who used a knife in the action.

On the morning of 5 April, a 25-year-old man broke into the Cantinho Bom Pastor daycare center, in Blumenau (SC), and killed four children.

On June 19, an armed attack at Colégio Estadual Professora Helena Kolody, in Cambé, in the north of Paraná, resulted in the death of two students — a couple of teenagers. The attacker was a 21-year-old former student.

On October 18, a fight between students at a state school in São Bernardo do Campo, in Greater São Paulo, ended with one person injured and the father of one of them arrested. This is because the person responsible for one of the students took out a gun to defend his son and shot it on the ground, but the shot ricocheted and hit the victim’s shoulder.


Police also found that the student had conversations on the Discord application, in which he mentions his intention to commit the attack. Platforms like Discord have become a space for the planning and debate of extremist ideas, with reports of sexual abuse and assaults involving young people. Therefore, the Civil Police are working with the hypothesis that more people may have indirectly participated in the attack.

Other Risks: Racism and Robberies

In addition to the acts of physical violence in schools reported, some cases of racism have appeared too, in addition to robberies in front of schools, targeting students, parents and teachers.

The mother of a student at the private Ábaco school, located in the Perdizes region, São Paulo’s West Zone, accuses the institution of inaction in the face of episodes of racism suffered by her teenage son. On 12 October, the mother filed a police report informing that, during class, another student pointed to the figure of a monkey and said it was his classmate. At another time, the attacker would have called the teenager a “slave” and “adopted black man”. The mother also reported to the police that the school did nothing in response to the incidents.

Across the country, many cases of robberies in front of educational institutions are reported daily. Criminals are normally armed, come on motorcycles and are quick to resume the attack. They know the students’ arrival and departure times, period when everyone is exposed, and wait for oversights or favorable scenarios to act.

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