Violent attacks on schools leave marks for students, educators and society as a whole. The origin of the problem is the subject of analysis and discussion among experts from different areas, including mental health and education professionals, in addition to public policy makers.
Extreme acts, such as the one registered earlier this week in the city of São Paulo, which led to the death of a teacher, highlight the importance of closely monitoring the behavior of children and adolescents for the early identification of possible harm to mental health.
Although it is not possible to predict the occurrence of a violent event, some indications may suggest that a student is facing problems that may trigger an aggressive episode. In a statement, the teenager who attacked a school in the city of São Paulo said he was being bullied.
For youth behavioral training specialist Alex Rosseti, the bullying suffered by the teenager was something that contributed to the tragedy.
“In the letter left by the young man we can observe the mention of various faults. It is notorious, the way he expresses and how he punctuates the explanation about the planning of the crime since he was 11 years old. He screamed for help, because he didn’t have a sense of uncontrollable fury”, explains the expert. “In an excerpt from the letter, the young man is emphatic and says ‘I’m sorry to disappoint you…’. There are several ways that a young person can release this anguish, such as self-mutilation or an attack on people he feels have harmed him”, says Rosseti.
Psychologist and professor of psychoanalysis Ronaldo Coelho points out that one of the first steps in dealing with bullying is welcoming the child or adolescent.
“The child who is bullied needs to be welcomed, heard, protected. Parents and caregivers who want to help their children must make themselves available to listen and trust what the child is saying. They have to make sure they believe in the child and that knowing what happens to them doesn’t disappoint or make them sad,” she says.
How is it possible to prevent attacks?
The prevention of violent attacks goes through the development of strategies to prevent and combat bullying as explained by psychiatrist Gabriel Okuda, from Hospital Alemão Oswaldo Cruz, in São Paulo.
“This is very important precisely because we are talking about childhood and adolescence, when that individual is building his personality. It is the moment of greater socio-emotional development. So, it is very important that both the aggressor, the person who practices bullying, and the person who is the victim are approached and understood in some way, precisely so that this does not persist into adulthood, ”he says.
Intimidation, which can result from physical, verbal and psychological violence, can lead to traumas that persist throughout life in the absence of a therapeutic approach.
“So that individual ends up not being an aggressor in the adult stage in some way and, for those who suffered bullying, they do not often have some consequence that can be devastating throughout life, especially in the adult stage. Precisely because of feeling incapacitated, sad, isolated, not being able to have more important social or affective relationships, precisely because of all these aspects suffered during childhood and adolescence”, points out Okuda.
Although bullying can contribute to an extreme violent reaction, other factors can also influence this context. Coelho states that each attack must be understood from an individual perspective.
“Giving guidance to schools in these situations is always very complicated because it implies thinking about what is going on in each case, thinking about the severity and scope of the situation in each case. However, the school must always consider it in a complex and unique way, trying to understand what is happening to intervene”, he says.
“Often, the violent student’s family is equally violent towards him and calling the family at school can be an occasion for violence to perpetuate itself. Collective strategies tend to be the best, it is worth calling on teachers to think together. There is always someone who is closer, who knows more and who may have interesting ideas for the situation, ”he adds.
For the specialist, the creating a listening environment at school favors the development of a relationship of trust between students and educators.
“It would be important for the school to have a space set up so that students could talk and reflect on relationships at school. A space where conflicts were discussed and thought about periodically. Children are still learning to relate. Nothing better than having a space to reflect on what is new and complex for them without having to reach extreme cases of violence”, explains Coelho.
The opinion is shared by the psychoanalyst Lidia Queiroz Silva Magnino, from the Brazilian Society of Psychoanalysis of São Paulo (SBPSP).
“Every human being needs opportunity to be, to participate, to contribute, as a way to deal with destructiveness with hope and confidence. The school, similar to the family, is a place to create bonds, to think and dream, to develop potentials, to mature. It is a space of diversity where differences circulate favoring identifications, as well as being a place of urbanity, of exercising freedom and security. A place to build and deconstruct narratives of the ethics of being, to internalize it in the heart, to make bonds of friendship, to let the language of the other manifest itself, express emotion, open paths with empathic compassion”, he highlights.
Psychiatrist Carolina Hanna, from Hospital Sírio-Libanês, says that events of extreme violence can configure a diagnosis of personality disorder.
“Unfortunately there is no way to predict if and when an event like this will occur, but the best form of prevention is to identify risk factors, addressing the problem to specialized professionals. When the figures who take care of the teenager, whether parents or other adults, do some kind of psychological follow-up, it also tends to prevent in general,” he says.
Source: CNN Brasil
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