Violence in High School. Factors and manifestations from a city in southest Brazil
by Maria I. F. De Miranda, São Paulo University – USP, José R. V. De Miranda, Unimes - Santos- SP, Maria G. C. Ferriani Eerp - USP, Alessandro Zito, Federal University of São Carlos.

Theme : International Journal on Violence and School, n°3, April 2007

Objective: Describe the manifestations and frequency of violent incidents involving social actors and actresses from schools; identify any possible correlation between violence at schools and social status. Method: Applicable approach and survey. The sample was 856 students. Considering the average number of students in a class, 28 classes were selected from 21 different schools using the Lahiri method. Precision and confidence in this study are 3.3% and 95% respectively. Results: Analyses point out that violence in schools is equally distributed in different social status. Drugs, use or sale, inside schools reach 35% and 18% of students in public and private schools respectively. Conclusion: Clarify and specify the concept of violence in schools and gather tools for research so that comparative studies can be done; search for ways to make the phenomenon public and make society aware of it can bring answers and questioning about such phenomenon. English text.

Keywords : .
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Introduction Violence in the Brazilian society became a major issue, which arouse some academic interest during the redemocratization process. Paradoxically, different kinds of criminality, delinquency and use of extralegal justice in urban areas co-existed with democracy.
    Urban violence, specially the type that causes casualties (fatal violence), is getting more and more intense in all urban centers in Brazil, remarkably in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, and it has speeded up along the last two decades. The CEPID (Center for the study of Violence), from the University of São Paulo, has recently concluded that the foremost cause of death between ages 15 and 24 is homicide. This growth of homicide rates induces several impacts on the population health standard because it influences indicators such as life expectancy and the country’s economic productivity (CARDIA, 1999).
    In the United States in the late 1980's there was a warning about the epidemic aspect of  fatal violence, when it was found that in 1987, the number of murders related to the use of drugs like crack reached 4,223  among 15 to 24 year olds. In this same year, in São Paulo state, 3171 15 to 24 year olds were killed (CARDIA, 1997).
    When one analyzes the present history through sociology one can find out that there are some factors that, while not justifying an increasing violence, can influence the ability of the State in restraining it. The democratization process took place when a serious economic crisis and intense world and national limitations were in the spotlight. The State was not able to invest, mainly in health, education, justice and public safety. The State could not enforce the law during that process of economic inactivity and institutional crisis. With no growth, job opportunity decreased and consequently, the access to primary possessions did so too, bringing on low quality of life. The vicious circle was formed, because budget cuts made the judicial system more precarious and health and education were not available for everyone, which enhanced social differences even more.
    Minayo and Souza (1993), talking about the growth of fatal violence in Rio de Janeiro in the 1980's, have correlated this growth to the escalating economic crisis, shrinking job market, and the replacement of the legal job opportunities for illegal ones –in the drug market. In the United States it is estimated that one third of deaths among young people is associated to drugs (CDC, 1997).
    Based on what has been presented so far, the following questions emerge: What kind of impact does outside violence have on schools? Is it possible to distinguish the violence in the neighborhood and in the family from the violence in school?
    Literature shows that the violence experienced and witnessed by the society has a direct and an indirect impact on school (CARDIA, 1999). The final considerations in our Master’s Degree Dissertation evaluated the Full Assistance Program For Student Health Assistance (PRIASE) in Porto Velho/RO and included some reasons why it is important to establish a new relationship between Education and Health and search for new practices, specially the ones that could address cooperation with students, their family, school, community, and organized popular movements within that community. Intervention strategies for outside causes as determinant factors in child morbimortality and in violence impact on child and adolescent health indicators were searched in this intersection between the existing student’s health programs and the Child and Adolescent Health Programs of the public health system (SUS) (MIRANDA, 1998).
    The discussion about kinds of violence is important for this study because it is a phenomenon that takes place in the school environment. The international literature referred to for theory basis – violence in schools –  is mainly by French, English and North American researchers such as Allan Guillote (1999), Eric Debarbieux (1990, 1997a, 1998), Jacques Dupâquier (2000), Michel Floro (1996), Angelina Peralva (1997), Peter K. Smith and Sonia Sharp (1994). Most of those authors are grounded in Norbert Elias’s (1996) ideas about the civilizing process.
    According to Norbert Elias (1996) small violence or daily small aggressions that happen over and over again, transgressions of good manners code (indiscipline), of established order, or incivility, should be distinguished from the criminal or delinquent acts. However, nowadays those can be very difficult to track because small aggressions can have an aggressive reaction like the one that took place on January 27th, 2003, in Taiuva – a small inner city in São Paulo, when a former 18 year old student raided the school, shot, and wounded eight students and killed himself. According to Professor Sergio Kodato, University of São Paulo Social Psychology Department, the student’s acts could have been an outbreak and not a madness issue. “They usually are people with a humiliating or humble background. There comes a day when they finally burst” (PAGNAN, 2003).
    Such constant and daily humiliation could be classified as a little transgression; but discourtesy provoked a criminal action. This situation is an example of the results of investigations performed by Charlot (1997) in French schools that synthesizes Elias's theory (1996), where the violence is a group of discourtesy and actions against the right of being respected. A man, during his process of civilization should learn to be a man, in other words, learn what is socially created by him through history. Then he is able to become acquainted with others and with himself. Charlot questions:

        “Is it possible to educate and grow without violence in a world that doesn’t share anymore, but otherwise is an arena where the main rule is high performance and competition? Is it possible to learn to be a man, socialize and become a simple subject,  bearing structural personal signs, in a society where the fellow man's exclusion (and it is always in the first place the one who “came from another place”) isn’t  taboo anymore, but a topic in a social exchange? What if everybody carries inside them their peer’s nemesis (...) representing contempt for themselves? Doesn’t that become the other one’s anger....and reciprocally?” (1997- P.20).
    Becoming a man turns out to be analogous to being violent because a society based on the rulers’ violence becomes contradictory in relation to being non-violence.
    This case that took place in Taiuva confirms the results of the research conducted by Bernard Charlot, indicating that the stress of school routine has increased much more than violence seen as physical aggression. “This stress maintains and exacerbates incivility; and it bursts as crises – injuries, disputes, tumults, spankings, etc.” (CHARLOT-1997- p.20).  Schools that were, some years ago, considered safe, nowadays because of the social tension that multiplies in it, are not a sanctuary anymore.
    Norbert Elias (1996) states that violence, as a consequence of a lack of control over behavior and incivility, incorporates the idea that it is the civilization that directs and establishes instinct restraint. Following this argument, school is considered responsible for teaching people to be a man; it should civilize students, teach them to control their behavior, emotions and aggressive impulses.
    Worldwide violent manifestations lead to the conclusion that the school hasn’t performed its role in teaching people how to be a man, because its socializing job hasn’t been done.  Back we are to the etymologic field. Lorrain apud Dupâquier (2000) defines violence as the use of violent force by anyone; employing force or intimidation, no matter what.
“Violence is just a social representation that depends on social-historic determinations. The definitions are not accurate and they lead to a question: Would it be violence in schools or violence from schools?” (Lorrain apud Dupâquier, 2000 p.5).
    When Dupâquier (2000 p.7) defines school environment and violence, he does so, if not as a verbal delirium, so does he at least as a sociologic one. For this author “school environment is seen as a result of a group intervention that bears a characteristic of a symbolic tool – writing - that aims to transform the natural world socially. Violence is viewed as a task that puts an end to the objective purpose of the school”. In other words, violence destroys the symbolic arrangement of the school.
“In his historical analysis on violence studies in France, Debarbieux (1997a) focus on the relevant changes in what is considered violence as well as the epistemological pole used for the research on this issue. The author has identified a stage where the analyses turned to the violence in the school system, especially from teachers toward students. In the recent literature, according to the opinions of anthropologists, sociologists psychologists, and nurses who work in a school environment, there is a special focus on student to student violence, student to school property violence, and to a lesser extent, student to teacher and teacher to student violence” (SPOSITO, 2001).
    The meaning of violence is not consensual; violence changes according to place, time and school building; to the persons who are involved (teachers, students, employees, families…), and has to do with age, sex (CHESNAIS, 1981). That was proved by Hanke (1996, p. 102), when he analyzed schools in the United States of America. He concluded:
    Focusing the actions that are considered criminal and drastic is not enough because it wouldn’t help to understand the nature, scope, and associations between violence and its victims better.
    Research about violence in schools in Brazil
    In the early 1980’s the government took the first steps to understand the phenomenon because it was necessary to show a more realistic picture of violent events in schools. Guimarães developed his Master’s Degree dissertation in 1984 and his doctoral thesis in 1990 investigating violence in public schools in Campinas.
    Guimarães (1984, p. 133), in his Master’s Degree dissertation, mainly opposed the hypothesis of that time, which presented violence in school as a result of the control and precaution exercised by teachers and all  school staff. He confirms: this phenomenon happened at strict schools as a disciplinary aspect, as much as at permissive or disorganized schools.
    In the 1990’s big surveys were conducted, usually by non-governmental organizations. UNESCO conducted the first study on young people in Brasilia and it showed that boys are more involved in physical aggressions, arguments, threats and intimidations inside school than girls.
    Research about victims in schools started in 1990, when widespread violent acts were commonplace. The United Nations Latin American Institute for the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Delinquents (ILANUD) conducted a study on public schools in São Paulo and noticed “that the most common kinds of violence with victims were low price object stealing inside the school (48.1% of the students), threats of aggressions (33.1%) and damage to personal stuff (33.1%), physical aggression by a classmate (4.6%). The study also concluded that going to school carrying a gun was not a usual behavior among the students in São Paulo” (ILANUD, 2000).
    During the 1990’s, academic production (dissertations and theses) about violence in schools was effective, besides investigations performed by university groups. There was some concern about understanding the relationships between violence and school, mainly showing the influence of the intensification of criminality and insecurity over the students and the deterioration of Education. Issues like drug traffic and dispute of territories were considered as strong effects of violence in public schools, principally in cities like Rio de Janeiro. This is what research performed by Costa (1993), Paim (1997) and Guimarães (1995) presents.
    However, these studies also admit what Costa (1993) and Cardia (1999) have found out: “the effects of violence generalization on students’ sociability and a tense atmosphere between students and adolescents, or among students themselves affect all school tasks”.
    Based on the studies above we can say that: during the 1990’s concern about school violence was better outlined in Brazil, differently from previous years. It is not an exogenous phenomenon anymore; even though the above authors emphasize drug traffic and social exclusion, we can confirm other existing causes of violence. The characteristics of the Brazilian Redemocratization Process are related to school access new opportunities which have reached a large number of students coming from poorer classes of the society.
    Increasing school access, with institutions and teachers not yet prepared enough for that new reality, revealed a lack of educational projects that were able to assimilate such reality in Brazilian schools, where the analysis of violence arising from different situations became a mandatory issue in the government agenda. Also it correlated to other indicators which showed the effectiveness or not of education’s mission.
    In this research, the importance of making a difference between violence that comes from outside and other types that we have properly identified as school violence – “violence is born inside the school or is a result of the direct relationship with the teaching institution” (SPOSITO, 1998, p. 64) was focused.  We took into consideration a point of view that avoided deterministic associations between poverty and violence, besides reflecting about the risks of widespread violence and indiscipline in schools as well as school’s unwillingness to address it, because the levels of complexity and the acceptance of violent behaviors by mass culture in the Brazilian society have been more and more preoccupying.
    Candau (1999), referring to the generalization of the violence stated:
“The naturalization of violent behaviors by mass culture is undoubtedly another factor that reinforces the generalization of violence. Interpersonal and social relationships are more and more strongly influenced by a culture of fear, distrust, and competitiveness, consideration of others as enemies- especially if that person is from different social and cultural walks of life, mainly in big cities.
        Examples of a violent sociability like gangs, violence in sports and funk parties among the youth are increasing. Robberies, insults, fights, and younger youth exploration are actions that happen very often in a daily school routine, and that is why they end up becoming generalized and/or considered “normal” youth’s actions at that age and/or within that social-cultural status.
        From this point of view, the combination of these factors benefits a violence dialectic scheme that articulates aspects of different natures. So it’s necessary to distinguish between its levels and dimensions: violence that is recognized and effectively punished as a crime;  that which has settled, in parts of the State structure, and  that which comprises the widest social and domestic relations (p. 31).”
    One aspect that was also mentioned in understanding what happens inside school was its social meaning. In the Brazilian literature there are a lot of questions about the meaning of violence in order to understand its motives in schools nowadays. There are educational problems in relation to economic globalization, changes in the job world, the matter of ethics and increasing consumption, individual ideology, and specially, decreasing importance of education for social mobility. In a qualitative research presented at the II International Meeting for Research in Nursing, Miranda et al. (2002) reported some aspects of the most evident violence by students from public and private schools in Ribeirão Preto. They were arranged in two topics: 1) “The school as a social exclusion and racist environment” and 2) “School, democracy and symbolic violence”. The institutional violent happenings arose from the meaning of the speeches.
“The rules are imposed, but they operate only for the students”. (Student from a private school)
    This kind of violence mentioned in the research is related to the power that people are submitted to. Indications of social exclusion and racism have different sources: the African Brazilians toward themselves, the whites toward African Brazilians; the wealthy toward the poor, and the poor toward the wealthy, all portraying the school as an exclusive environment. Here there is a contradiction because the school should be an effective approach to full citizenship.
    Incivility/aggressiveness and bullying
    Definitions of violence, as well as studies on it, have focused physical aspects so far. In countries like England, violence in school based on emotions is named differently: “aggressiveness”, “aggressive behavior”, “disorders”, “avoidance” or “learning disinterest”, and “anti-social behavior” (SMITH; SHARP, 1994). In studies from the 1980’s focusing these “behaviors” or types of violence, the students who were involved in them were named “bullies”.
    This behavior is defined by Smith & Sharp (1994) as physical or psychological abuse against someone that is not able to defend himself/herself. In Portuguese we can understand this word as “physical threat”. There are four factors that contribute to the development of a bullying behavior: 1) a negative attitude from the parents or the person who takes care of the child or adolescent; 2) a tolerant or permissive attitude facing the child’s or adolescent’s aggressive behavior; 3) parents who employ authority and violence to control the child or the adolescent; and 4) the child’s or the adolescent’s natural propensity to be arrogant. According to the same author, most bullies are boys, but girls can also be bullies. The girls who are bullies use, sometimes, indirect approaches like gossip, manipulation of friends, lies, and the exclusion of someone from a group.
    Bullying has been a problem in schools. The following account is of a 28 year old American woman. She tells what her experience with bullying at school was and how it has interfered with the rest of her life.
"(…) they were older than me, they chased me and I didn’t like that…many things happened…they took my coat and played with it as if it was a football, they pushed me and carried my coat…a boy pulled my hair so hard that a handful was taken from my head and he dropped it in front of me…I remember that I used to feel very lonely – nobody helped me…I was scared of going to school. I have been quiet and insecure until now…I didn’t believe that those people liked me" (SMITH; SHARP, 1994, p.1).
    Smith and Sharp (1994) made a detailed review of the studies on bullies in England, documenting in details some initiatives to decrease bullying. That study served as basis for a sequence of investigations carried out in 23 schools in Sheffield in the United States of America during two years and half. Bullying or bullying behavior was described as a systematic abuse of authority, and people always use it in social relationships due to body strength, height, ability, strong personality, the size of the group that the person belongs to and hierarchy. Authority is always used abusively, but this abuse is “graded”; it depends on the social and cultural context that it happens. Bullying can take place in different settings, including at work or home; it is particularly related to being a social group problem with a clear authority association and little supervision by, say armed forces, school and government officials . At schools the problem is worse because of the consequences over a child that is in his/her physical and emotional development.
    In the study, Smith and Sharp claim that bullying has been tolerated for a long time at schools, and part of that is because of reduced systematic research on the problem. Only during the last five years has this issue become part of the educational agenda in England. The authors also emphasize that during this recent period two things have happened: first, bullying takes place in most, if not all, British schools and a host of parents and teachers keep quiet about that, bringing on serious consequences; second, accumulated and reasonable experience and evidence at school, when employed can reduce Bullying.
    The necessity of studying this phenomenon inside the school gets more blatant when seen in considerable evidence that continuous or severe contact with bullies can contribute to problems as well as to immediate unhappiness. Children who continuously suffer from bullying risk decreasing or losing their self -esteem in the long run (SMITH; SHARP, 1994, P.7).
    This research was also concerned about refining, specifying the meaning of violence. It aimed to reach that goal, and included some Brazilian authors that have worked with that topic.
    Sposito (2001) briefly analyzed the research about school violence in Brazil after 1980; he concluded that quantitative diagnoses about the topic and academic production (dissertations and theses) of graduate courses in Education are rare. The studies, despite of being basic, draw an important picture of the phenomenon in Brazil, where the main kinds of actions are against  school building –physical damage and graffiti – and kinds of interpersonal aggressions, especially among  students.
    During twenty years, school violence was assessed both as a consequence of a meaningful complex of inappropriate school practices and as one of the aspects that characterizes violence in the contemporary society, principally the working dynamics of schools located in areas under influence of the drug traffic or organized crime. Understanding the behavior of the students as a kind of sociability marked by aggressions and small offenses, characterized as incivility, was the focus of little research. We can see that Norbert Elias (1996) has been mentioned a lot in the bibliographic references about school violence, and more recently we can notice some quotations about bullying as in Sposito  (2001).
    School system: internal and external factors
    Chesnais (1989) in order to understand the mechanisms responsible for the evolution of violence, states that some factors control violence and that they explain the significance of this evolution. These factors come from the lethargy of the State and act thanks to repression instruments (police and justice); they also come from the social models (school, military organizations), and finally from the old centralism of the State, which exercises a social action over families through external factors and internal arrangements.
    These external factors follow the example of the slow evolution that goes from the eradication of poverty as in France (we have evolved towards welfare) and to the painful problems like misery or demographic revolution.
    In Brazil, in relation to the external factors, socio-economic issues seem to be priority. It’s common to correlate, in such a way, school violence to the crisis and social exclusion worsening, which are more sensed in people from poorer classes that study in public schools. Violence in the society, increasing free time and a lack of future prospects for most Brazilian youths is considered school violence aggravators (CANDAU, 1999).
    Madeira (1999) considers that the youth (in groups) try to counteract to the lack of references that crisscross the routine of big cities, and they react to a world sociability that is collapsing. He also states that, in general, violence happens because the youth feel excluded, socially useless.
    Another external factor that acts as an aggravator for violent behaviors in schools is the existence of drug dealers around them, contributing to the raise in numbers of addict students. Candau (1999) and Silva (1999, p.50) affirm that another external factor for the worsening of school violence is family disorganization and the influence of the media. The media show violent programs and films and, thus overestimate violence. Madeira portrays that very well (1999, p.50):
“Literature, specially the international literature, it is full of examples of situations that show criminal offences practiced by adolescents, which are widely covered by the  media, are especially favorable to generate social representations that create or increase  social unrest”.
    The results of media campaigning and its increasing intervention in the core circle of spectacular and violent facts, in disproportionate amount in relation to information, transforms reality. The spectator is ceaselessly confronted with the sensational, with essentially violent facts, in a worldwide repertoire in record time; for the audience that is a normal state of affairs and the immediate potential goal. Information creates the event, forces the audience to understand it for themselves but never proves anything.
    Another external factor that definitely has an impact on school environment, the family, has been through some changes that should be registered. In general, theories about the family – while recognizing its character of  mediating institution between the individual and the society – always turn out to orient analyses so as to contemplate its internal relationships as much as its external relationships simultaneously, and among them, the school. That is, at the same time that we are trying to establish a relationship among its members in terms of role sharing, power and authority, we also attempt to determine which relations are established with other social life dimensions (RIBEIRO; RIBEIRO, 1995).
    A phenomenon that has marked contemporary Brazilian picture is the raise in the rate of families headed by women (Table 1). Traditionally identified with poverty, families headed by women alone are common and present nowadays, specially in cities. (OLIVEIRA, 2003).

    The raise in the number and  proportion of family organizations headed by women results in a sequence of events, ranging from separations, divorces and widowhood, including child custody by mother, “independent production”, the lack of a new marriage, and sustaining an supporting household life arrangements by women, regardless of a male figure (father or husband). Another example could be the number of families derived from a second marriage of one or both spouses, or the number of families recomposed with children from previous marriages.  
    All those changes occurred within the family influence the relationships in school. For Bourdieu, (1996, p. 63):

        “Family is an immanent construction principle for individuals (as an incorporated collective) and it transcends in relation to them because it can be seen objectively in all other individuals: it is a transcendental in Kant’s point of view, but immanent to all habits, thus proving itself transcendental“.
    Family does have a determinant role in maintaining social organization, in reproducing    the structure of the social setting and relationships. Our theoretical foundation has concentrated on these considerations about one of the oldest social institutions.
    The external factors must be linked to the beginning and/or spread of violence in schools and the growth of the youth population (15 to 19 years old) from 1992 to 1996, which was around 12%. “Brazil starts the new millennium with the biggest youth population that it has ever had and probably will ever have.” (MADEIRA, 1999 p. 50).
    Thus, juvenile violence problem gets worse when one assumes that the public school in such scenario, as Madeira has clearly put it (1999, p.57): “is completely unable to meet young people’s ambitions, either as a setting where they belong to or as an access to better job opportunities ”.
    Peralva (1997, p.13) highlights the strong necessity of a new organization, centered on the individual and is fiercely critical of social conventions that, more and more, make room for controlling mechanisms of inter-individual relationships controlled by auto-reference concepts.  According to this author there is an imbalance between a socio-centered class and another one that is centered on the individual. Candau (1999, p.38) agrees on that when he states:
“Nowadays, society is marked by a “moral anorexia” that can be perceived as a lack of commitment, an individual feeling of hopelessness in relation to social life, absence of  ideologies, loss of  life meaningfulness, fellowship, and an  absence of well  defined parameters about what is right and what is wrong“.
    About the internal factors that could be tied to the beginning and/or the diffusion of violence in schools one could say that school violence is related to some weaknesses associated to education/student/community relationships. Some teachers have difficulties dealing with students from different social classes. They treat students with no respect, and they are not concerned about preparing classes or students’ absenteeism and class skipping (LEÃO, 2000, p. 51-52).
    In relation to curricular contents, some works report that school hasn’t made any progress and has not introduced current issues and technologies, so students demand more dynamic classes. Teachers have chosen violence instead of didactics to grab students’ attention and impose order.  Violence in schools is seen as youths’ response to aggressions they have experienced during the learning process (MADEIRA, 1999).
    Still about the internal factors that are responsible for the beginning and/or diffusion of the violence at the school setting, literature about this issue comes up with what is called general school problems like the appearance of the buildings, sports courts, classrooms; in short, the physical structure of the school. The school suffers because of its physical and staff structure and staff qualifications.
    Based on part of the considerations mentioned in order to bring together several disciplines that support the educational system, this research tried, by analyzing  violence in schools, to draw basis that support pedagogical proposals and actions to promote health through current public policies, focusing educational strategies for violence prevention in a biophilic and ecological practice.
    To extend our views and our knowledge about the three groups of independent variables that have already been mentioned: institutional (school and family), social (sex, color, parents’ level of education, socio-economic status), and behavioral (information, sociability, attitude and opinions), and the effects of these variables on examples of violence and incivility in schools, we have established the following objectives: describe kinds of actions and frequency of violent incidents in public and private high schools in Ribeirão Preto and identify if there is or not some kind of correlation between school violence and  students’ social status.
     Research Hypothesis
    In this study we have tried to identify and assess examples of violence and incivility in public and private high schools in Ribeirão Preto, from September 2003 to June 2004. The null hypothesis (Ho) we came up with is that there isn’t any correlation between the social class variable and the variables representing the incidence of violent actions.

Methodology Subjects, tools and assessment techniques
    This research used the applicable approach (ABRAMOVAY, 2002a) in order to achieve our goals and prove the hypothesis right. That approach aims to know how widespread violence is in the school setting and is based on representation and on inferential data capacity and has a survey format.
    The questionnaires comprised a group of questions to make it possible to identify the characteristics of the students and the school, questions about violence and its examples, like UNESCO’s questionnaires for School Violence National Research (Abramovay, 2002a) and a questionnaire about socio-economic status from the Brazilian Association of Market Research Institutes – ABIPEME. These confidential questionnaires were given to the students, principals, and to technicians and pedagogical staff as well as to teachers.
    All the tools were tested with students and teachers from an elementary municipal school, from August to December, 2002.
    Area of study
    Our area of study involved City public schools and private high schools in Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, and 26,919 enrolled students. (BRAZIL, 2002).
    During its 147 years of age Ribeirão Preto has been given many titles that define its history, but the only one that has been kept is “Alta Mogiana business center”. Among other nicknames, the city has already been known as “Capital of Coffee”, “Capital of Culture”, “Capital of Draft Beer”, “Capital of Sugar and Alcohol” and “Brazilian California”.
    Nowadays the population of the city (471,111 inhabitants) despises the fame as “Brazilian California” because of the number of migrants that were attracted to the city at that time, either to work on sugar cane plantations, or to work in civil construction, which was expanding at that time. The per capita income was considered one of the highest of the country, ranking the city as one of the biggest business centers of the state, with the construction of shopping malls and the development of public services. According to data from Ribeirão Preto’s Development Coordination Bureau (RIBEIRÃO PRETO, 2003), migrants are the main consumers in Ribeirão, which  has three shopping malls, belonging to national and international commercial groups and around 13 thousand stores. More than half of the inhabitants have moved in from other cities.
    About 150 thousand people who represent the “floating population” in the region daily (including students) are also important consumers. This consumption represents 49% of the Value Added Tax on Sales, being 14% plus on Services (RIBEIRÃO PRETO, 2003).
    Part of Ribeirão Preto’s history consists of an important market potential, public services and a fast developing industrial sector, besides a traditional agricultural strength that is clearly recovering. This development has caused high migration rates, and problems with infra-structure, security and drug traffic have worsened (RIBEIRÃO PRETO, 2003).
    We have checked with the City School Police Patrol about the number of cases of violence in schools and what kind they were (Table 2).
    The City School Police Patrol, besides answering calls from schools, develops some educational projects and programs focusing the prevention of traffic accidents, violence and drug use. Some of those projects are: “Projeto Vida” (prevention of traffic accidents); Educational Program to Resist Drugs and Violence (PROERD), covering students from Elementary School (fourth graders), 10-11 years olds, and Youths Constructing Citizenship (Jovens Construindo Cidadania) (YCC).
    YCC is a preventive project established in 1997 whose goal is raise students’ awareness about avoiding incivility and violence as well as offenses. As a strategy, they use students as allies, enabling them to act as monitors. These students wear specific uniforms and 1430 youths are involved with the program. The goal is to include more than 26000 enrolled students.
    The analysis of the table shows that there was an important decrease in the total number of events that involved police during years and months studied. The most common offenses were assaults, theft and damages to school building. There were 13 offenses related to drug use in March/2002, decreasing to 1 in May/2003.
    Unfortunately this decrease wasn’t continuous. In the first semester of 2004, there were 111 offenses in school areas in contrast to 63 during the same previous period. Seven offenses were registered about  carrying or using drugs, one about drug traffic, 19 assaults, three threats, five thefts, 55 robberies, 23 incidents involving school building damage, and one fire gun  besides one cold steel were confiscated (PAUDA, 2004).
    Sample design
    In order to draw conclusions from the samples, these should be regarded as probable. The data base for sampling was the cadastre from the Ministry of Education Institute for National Research and Study – INEP/MEC, constituted since the 2002 School Census, and enrollment data offered by Ribeirão Preto’s Secretary of Education and by the Regional Education Office.
    School Census is a yearly national survey on educational-statistic information. It comprises Primary School, Junior High School and High School and some different kinds of education – Regular Education, Special Education and Youth and Adult Education. It is the most reliable data base on schools, groups, levels and students.
    We suggest which procedure should be used with the stratified sampling (Public and Private Schools). In this research, the main source is the School Census/INEP/MEC/2001. The first unities are 53 schools; the second unities are the levels/groups. And finally, the last unities are the students from public and private schools. As it is this information about the sample that supports the inferences, it’s advisable to extend the results to all schools it represents.
     Selection procedure
    The method used to select the students was PPS - Probability Proportional to Size. The size of the sample proposed in this project was determined by the available resources and mainly in relation to the data selection period (09/20/2003 to 06/25/2004) and expenses involved in collecting information, which made it possible to select 1000 students. Considering the average number of students in a class 28 groups were chosen using Lahiri’s method (SINGH; MANGAT, 1996), or 1089 students from 21 different schools. Accuracy and confidence in this study were from a binomial model and they are 3% and 95% respectively. However, as it was possible to obtain information only on 19 schools and on 856 students instead of 1089, there was a decrease in accuracy to 3.3%.
    Data analysis
    The collected data were submitted to an electronic process using the software Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), version 10.1 for Windows. The analyses were performed distributing simple and relative frequency and crossing two or more variables. The bidimensional associations among qualitative variable are proved or rejected using the independence Qui-square test, 5% important.
     Ethical process to conduct the research
    The study was approved by Ribeirão Preto’s University of São Paulo Nursing School Ethics Committee and conducting it was authorized by the Regional Education Directory /Ribeirão Preto and by the direction of each selected school.

Results Carrying out the 856 interviews and having the 856 Free and Clear Agreement Terms signed posed hard work because several visits to the selected schools were necessary, but that contributed for a better analysis of the phenomenon under study. In an attempt to narrow the gaps between studies about the school violence phenomenon, presented and identified by Debarbieux (2002), in other words, transnational comparative analyses among different regions in the same country, and listen to several social subjects involved with schools, the presentation of the quantitative data was done in a way comparable to the national research and to some other studies carried out in Europe and Latin America.
    In those studies, as it has been found in qualitative results, the idea, in different countries, is that school identity has undergone changes, which makes school’s different position in terms of social representations clear. Even though examples of violence- with its changing definition and considering that in schools they are not a big number- and for sure it isn’t in schools that most violent social events happen- this phenomenon is worrisome both because of its side effects and because it contributes to changing the idea that school is a place where one gains knowledge, citizenship is built, and education takes  place, and ethics and communication through dialogues is learned and practiced; that is violence antithesis.
    What was described as violence in Abramovay’s et al. (2002a, p.94) national research was used in order to compare results: “Violence in this study was first understood as a physical intervention of an individual or a group toward another one’s integrity, other group’s and also toward oneself –covering suicides, different kinds of violence such as spanking, assaults and homicides, even violence in traffic, disguised under the name “accident”, besides different kinds of sexual aggressions. It also covered verbal, symbolic, and institutional violence.”
    The definition mentioned above and the hypothesis that violent actions in schools happen in the same way as they do in all social classes, were references for the format of our presentation and analysis of results, in an attempt to understand the phenomenon with its multiple facets from of a transdisciplinar, multidimensional and pluricausal view, in spite of the challenges we were faced with. The results were presented this way: School Environment, Functioning and Social Relationships in the School Environment; Violent actions and Drug Use in schools; who the agents are, and finally: Social Class and Violence examples - demystifying common sense.
    School environment
    The debate about the exogenous and endogenous factors correlated to violence examples in the school environment is very controversial and delicate because the biggest tendency is to emphasize the external factors of school, which would soothe the responsibility of the school system facing the phenomenon and to fight it. Multidimensional points of view were applied in this study, from its theoretical basis to its data collection tool. The school environment was portrayed, comprising the conception of school, districts where the schools are located, physical structure of the schools, control and entrance of students, and the distribution and quality of the premises that make schools more vulnerable or safer. Another concern was how difficult access to school is due to traffic problems, gangs, depredation, robberies and insecurity. Considering the gender issue, rates were: 51% of the students in public schools and 60% in private schools were girls and 49% of the students in public schools and 40% in private schools were boys. As data were collected in high schools, ages were already expected, 15 to 18 years. The distribution of the students in the sample by level shows that students in the first year of high school participated more, and represented 49% of all students from public schools. In private schools the students in the third year participated more, and they covered 58% of all students.
    Traffic on the streets near the schools, and how it could contribute to the raise in traffic accidents, which are indicators of violence in this age group was also evaluated using an Observation Program applied by the researcher in 18 schools (16 public schools and 2 private ones). In table 3 those variables are described. One of them, the most preoccupying one, shows that only 44% of the interviewed students from public schools and 50% of the ones from private schools confirmed that pedestrian cross walks were respected on the streets surrounding the schools.  Traffic officer and the traffic lights presence was confirmed only by public school students, 6% and 25% respectively.
    In relation to businesses surrounding the school (Table 4), 25% and 50% of the students from public and private schools, respectively declared that there are drug selling points and the same number of students indicated their frequency at these places.
    13% of students from public schools confirmed that there were whorehouses around the schools and 6% of them and 50% of the students from private schools stated that there were police stations and/or headquarters near the schools.
    Depredation of restrooms and dressing rooms, that is, stealing of taps, showers, mirrors and broken windows, and sentences written on walls and doors were observed in 81% of the public schools. Such sentences were either pornographic and offensive or romantic and poetic.  
    Computers, an essential modern teaching tool, were found in 56% of the public schools and 100% of the private ones. Only 31% of the students from public schools declared that the practical classes were taught in the laboratories while 100% of the private schools use this teaching resource.
    There were art, theater and music teaching pavilions and their maintenance was also observed; they were there to help to improve the “school atmosphere” and consequently decrease violent actions. According to the students only 19% of the public schools have these pavilions; 100% of the private schools don’t have them. Teaching scenic arts is a reality in 25% of the public schools and 100% of private schools. Music is taught in 19% of the public schools and at the private ones that doesn’t happen.
    Still about the school environment and its surroundings, the number of depredations and students’ opinion about the school were evaluated. Only 5% of the students were from public schools and 4% of them described the school locations as bad (Table 5). Most of the students described the place as good or the best. Students were asked: “Do you like your school? ’’ and the   answer was “yes”, from 69% and 91% from students in public and private schools respectively. (Table 5)
    Table 6 shows the physical environment as the biggest inconvenience for the students inside schools, 39% public schools and 44 private schools. Besides the physical environment there are 26% classmates, 25% teachers and 25% secretary of the school, mixing them all together and we can have what the students don’t like at schools.
    The school atmosphere is favorable not only for the informative processes but also for communication, and qualification, which promotes a wide symbolic universe among the social subjects. The teachers, for many students, 47% in public schools and 64% in private schools, besides teaching the proposed matter, advised and talked with the students (Table 7). “In a school environment we expected to see fights, bad language, aggressive and violent actions” (ABROMOVAY, 2002a, p.232).
    Some problems pointed by the students were (Table 8): lack of interest and incivility (83% in public schools, and 80% in private schools); lack of material and human resources (teachers, books, videos, and computers ) 53% in public schools and 7% in private schools  ); uninterested parents (38% in public schools and 22% in private schools), classes with too many students; gangs and/or drugs in school and around it (gangs inside the school, dangerous neighborhood, outlaws, drug use) (37% in public schools and 29% in private schools); drug traffic (36% in public schools and 15% in private schools); lack of teachers’ assiduity and competence (28% in public schools and 15% in private schools).
    Still in relation to the functioning and social relationships in school, the students were asked about their opinions about the use of the school subjects. There is promotion of violence and aggressiveness, racism against African Brazilian people in 2% of public schools and 4% of private schools in Ribeirão Preto, a setting “that should be an example of democracy and courtesy” (Picture 1).
    Picture 2 and Picture 3 below show that, according to the data above and the confirmation by the social subjects’ speeches, most of the time courtesy and civility rules are not followed. Most of the students from public schools (65%) retaliate when they are offended. In private schools it happens with 22% of the students. Only 25% of the students from public schools expect the school principal to solve this kind of problems, but in private schools 66% of the students believe the can do that. 7% of the students both in public and private schools will resort to parents so as to react to offenses. Aggressions are encouraged by 53% of the students from public schools and 24% of the students from private schools.
    Examples of violence and drug use in schools. who are the performers?
    In this chapter, different kinds of violent actions and people who do them, drug use in the setting as well as people who use drugs are described by students from public and private schools.        Violent actions are presented by the victims, the witnesses and the performers.
    The students were asked about illicit and licit drugs like alcohol and cigarettes. Incivility can lead to violent actions and so can licit drugs used by teachers, students and principals inside the school and result in illicit and heavier drugs use. The question: “Have you seen a student smoking in the patio?” has 82% of students from public school and 58% of students from private school answering “yes”. The same question, now about teachers smoking inside the school, received 16% of “yes” answers in public schools and 38% in private schools. This result shows that more private school teachers are smoking inside school.
    As for bringing food or drink to school, it was found that 38% of students from public schools and 40% of students from private schools did. In the qualitative results, in a specific school, it was found that alcoholic drinks are brought and drunk inside the school by some students and businessmen in the neighborhood. Illicit drug use and traffic involving drugs like marijuana, cocaine and crack, and the presence of the drug dealers (many times they a regular enrolled student) were considered “normal”. Part of this understanding can be flawed due to the affirmative students’ answers- 35% public schools and 18% private students- to the answer:  “Have you ever witnessed use or sale of drugs inside the school?”
    Threats were the major kind of violence. Students are suffering with them and so are teachers, staff and parents. In the school environment 60% of public school students and 36% of private schools students were threatened. The teachers come second in 44% of public schools and 4% of private schools (Table 09).
    Arguments and fights are one of the most common violent actions at schools. This kind of aggression between students starts with some oral offenses and these can become violent actions. The frequency of oral offenses and aggressions or spanking suffered by parents, students and teachers inside school was assessed. 83% and 84% of the students surveyed from private and private schools respectively reported that they had already witnessed some oral offenses among students in their school.
    64% of the students from public schools and 59% of the students from private schools were attacked inside school.
    Violent scenes with a fire gun were inferred from the speeches of the social subjects, the data on the qualitative results made that clear. In table 11, 56% of the students from public schools that answered the question about students, teachers or parents using weapons, 20% mentioned fire guns and 23% stilettos.
    The biggest victims of a fire gun attack are the students inside school or around it (Table 12). 186 students from public schools and the 13 students from private schools confirmed the facts.
    In table 13 there is information about other kinds of violent actions. Thefts and robberies and stealing of books, tennis shoes, and car stereos were confirmed by 86% of the students from public schools and by 29% of the students from private schools. Thefts and robberies showed up as usual occurrences according to participants’ observation and constant testimonies in the qualitative results. Both occurrences involve property stealing, although thefts usually take place without the victim’s notice of it. Besides being usual occurrences, such events were seen as the victim’s fault. In most of the schools, students were told not bring valuable belongings to school, even if it were only a different pen.
    In relation to sexual violence, Abramovay et al. (2002a, p.247) state that: “although sexual molestation has been studied not so much as examples of violence and many times it is ignored, it can have serious consequences for the youths, creating a permissive culture in which these kinds of actions are not seen as serious enough to be punished.” Question number 46 asked the students to check what had already happened inside or near school. Situations involving sexual molestation were confirmed by 11% of the students in private schools and 12% of the students from public schools. Rape was mentioned by 5% of the students from public schools.
    As for places where most of these events occurred, students pointed the region of the school: public (56%) and private (62%). (Table 14).
    Results covering violent actions and some possible solutions were checked by students: In public schools, 7% of the students declared that they had skipped classes because of violence inside school. In private schools, that rate was 2%.Unwillingness to go to school (44% and 20%); tense atmosphere (37% public schools, 40% private schools); difficulty concentrating on study (36% public schools, 11% private schools); and low quality of classes (35% public schools and 11% private schools) . These were reasons why students from public and private schools indicated as effects of violence on the quality of teaching (question 58) (Table 15)
    Social class and examples of violence – demystifying the common sense
    The data collected on the proposed goal, that is, identifying if there was or not any kind of relationship between violence in school and students’ social status are presented here. Tables 16 to 22 show if there was or not a relationship between social status and examples of violence like disobedience/incivility and illicit and licit drug use in school. Evaluation was performed using the percentage of the sample and relative frequency and crossings two or more variables. Bimensional associations between qualitative variables were confirmed or not using the Qui-square independence test with significance levels at 5% to 95%. It is important to bear in mind that the null hypothesis means no correlation between social class and examples of violence in schools.
    The hypothesis above aroused from the confirmation of the multidimensionality of our objective, in a hermeneutic-cognitive movement of understanding, based on extensive and specialized studies in our quest for transdisciplinarity. Studies about violence should focus its history and deep socio-cultural implications. Each school is unique and violence is a major concern in all public departments’ agencies and political proposals agenda, and in all areas of knowledge acquisition. In health, violence is a constant concern because murders are the second cause of death in Brazil and, among certain age groups, the first one. Among the external causes, traffic accidents are the second cause and cover all social classes (MINAYO et al., 2003 p. 115).
    The analysis of the results tries to detect which variables are related to violent actions and what their incidence is in different social classes. The results have been grouped into: disobedience/incivility; social networks and related disparities, school environment, violence, drugs and violence effects on schools.
    The students were distributed according to social class and the results collected from public schools were: Class A (1%), Class B (22%), Class C (52%), Class D (23%) and Class E (3%). These results corroborate the results in the study conducted by the  by  the Education Management Institute (GOIS, 2004), in which 26% of the enrolled students from public school belong to Classes A and B, 22% from Classes D and E and most of them (52%) belong to Class C. Both studies refute the idea that in public schools there are only poor students, and they show that the poorest students quit school before the last year of elementary school.
    The statistic test Qui-square, p=0.1573 was employed to check if there is a relation between public and private schools and economic classes. There isn’t any relation between the schools and economic classes.
    Tables 16 to 22 present the analysis and the distribution of external factors such as location, physical environment and how the social subjects who go to school could perform violent actions: see the disparity.
    In table 16, the students pointed where there is more violence. Most of them said that it is on the streets around the school that there is more violence. Social Classes B (17%), C (18%) and D (16%) said that there is more violence inside the schools. After the statistic Qui-square test, a relationship between the social classes and the answers emerged. Based on that, it is possible to conclude that in schools where the students belong to Social Classes B (17%), C (18%) and D (16%), the school environment was pointed as the place where more violent actions occur, differently from Classes A (0%) and E (0%). Social subjects belonging to those two social classes pointed the street and the area around the school as places where there are more violent actions – class A 61% and class E 58%. In general, 49% of the participants in all social classes point the street in front of the school and surrounding areas as places where there are more violent actions.
    According to the  National Research (Abamovay et al., 2002a), 23% of the students in São Paulo pointed the school environment as the place where there are more violent actions, most of them (54%) mentioned the street in front of the school and surrounding areas. In the capital cities of Brasilia, Goiania, Cuiabá, Manaus and Fortaleza 17% of the students gave the same answers and that percentage is very close to the answers in Ribeirão Preto.
    The relationship shown in Table 16 has one mulling over the heated debate between those who believe that schools should be turned into a fortress and protected against external influences and those who think that this kind of attitude doesn't make sense, once schools reflect what happens in the city, because everything that happens outside schools is brought to them. Considering violent actions in school only an external problem is the same as believing that schools can't do anything about this phenomenon. On the other hand, considering them only an internal problem would mean discrediting schools and teachers, considering them responsible for that social problem. Gottfrendson and Gottfredson (1985) showed that the community atmosphere and criminality have an impact on schools. “The results [...] show a strong relation between the community where the school is and disorders in school. [...] These relations confirm that delinquency is related to community social organization (pp.73-74).” This could explain the correlation between social class and the suggested place where more violent actions take place, as indicated by high school students in Ribeirão Preto.
    Table 17 shows the students' affirmative answers, confirming that they don't like the place or the neighborhood where the school is. The answers are not linked to social class, that is, there isn't a relationship between social class and the fact that the students don't like the school neighborhood. In the National Research only the neighborhood was indicated by the students.22% of the students in São Paulo and 18% in Ribeirão Preto suggested that they didn’t like the neighborhood.
    In some districts students walked in groups so that they aren't robbed while in Class B and C areas people asked for a Municipal Police service when the students are coming to and/or leaving school. That showed that even in schools where there was a good security system, especially the private ones, the students were exposed to violent actions because of the school surroundings – because of its neighbors. In a research performed in Nuremberg (Germany), vandalism was the only link between students violence and how they saw their district in relation to vandalism: the more positive students’ evaluation of their districts or communities was, the less students vandalized the school premises (HAYDEN; BLAYA, 2002).
    The Table 18 - In the national research conducted by UNESCO, students from 14 capital cities reported that students' disinterest and incivility were the biggest problem in schools. The results were: Florianopolis, Porto Alegre, Belém and Goiania 87% and Recife, 92%. It is important to notice that they were almost unanimous (ABRAMOVAY et al., 2002a).
    These data confirm that students' incivility was implied from social subjects’ answers, and identified through observation in loco in high schools in Ribeirão Preto as one of the biggest problems that face not only by schools but also all families and the community.
    Disinterest and incivility are problems worldwide. Elton’s database is usually mentioned in discussions about studies addressing students’ behavior in England. This research was conducted in response to professors’ concerns about incivility and violent behaviors.
    One of the main conclusions stemming from that study about the problem, in teachers' opinions was that there were cumulative effects of daily misbehavior: “people used to worry mainly about the cumulative effects of class disruption, caused by bad behavior, relatively trivial, but constant” (DEBARBIEUX, 2002, p 69)
    Daily aggressions like pushing and oral insults   were common, being a chronic source of stress for teachers. In high schools in Ribeirão Preto, this stress was pointed by the students, as 28% show disinterest and disorders as the biggest school problem.
    Disinterest and disobedience which were pointed as the biggest problems of public and private schools in Ribeirão Preto, can be proved using data from Table 19. The relation, among variable social classes and the answers given to a question about the moment when students come in and when they leave school, was proved using Qui-square test, p<0.05. Disobedience in coming in and leaving the classroom and during the class is more correlated to the social classes C (64%), D (77%) and E (71%). Not leaving the classroom during classes is more frequent in class A (25%).
    In table 20 are students’ answers to the question about what they felt about school. In this table, a relation between the answers given and student’s social class is confirmed. In other words, in social classes C (26%), D (25%) and E (21%) there are more negative answers than in social classes A (5%) and B (18%)
    Although 71% of the students in public high schools claimed that they liked their school, 50% (table 21) mention vandalized school; the given answers weren’t related to social class. There were vandalized schools in all social classes. In the National Research (ABRAMOVAY, 2002a) the numbers about school destruction are lower: Brasilia (19%); Goiania (16%); Cuiabá (19%); Belém (8%); Fortaleza (8%); Recife (17%); Maceio (7%); Salvador (11%); Vitória (17%), Rio de Janeiro (11%); São Paulo (16%); Florianopolis (18%) and Porto Alegre (26%). None of the capital cities mentioned had numbers figures similar to Ribeirão Preto’s.
    Like the school and tear it down was a paradoxical behavior as it was 28% of the students declaring that they didn’t like the school premises (first place). Even worse was the fact that 17% of the students declared that they didn't like most of their schoolmates (second place) and 16% and 12% didn’t like the teachers and the classes, respectively. These answers were not related to social classes.
    In São Paulo, 41% of the students chose the school premises as the biggest problem; 38% didn’t either like the school secretary or the principal; 33% didn’t like most of the students; 34% disliked the classes and 29% didn’t like the teachers.
    Seeing school premises, chosen in  the first place to be what the students didn’t like about school, one can conclude that, with such high rate of destruction, schools need some remodeling, cleaning and maintenance; many classrooms has no lights, the temperature is high,  fans are broken or don't exist. Desks and the chairs are broken. Corridors and buildings are railed, looking like prisons.
    Interestingly, students answer indicating that “they didn’t like the other students” questions school’s image as a nice social living place for youths. Actually, this information has been checked in other studies performed by UNESCO, always presenting contradictory data. Castro (2001, p.494) says:
“While youths show a kind of freedom, aloofness, and even some strange feeling toward classmates, they interact inside and outside school in groups such as gangs, rappers, graffiti, theater or funk groups, etc – and the members don't need to belong to any kind of student organization, student club, or school”.
    Table 22  shows students demonstrate a lack of sense of belonging and getting involved with school as a place of constructing communal relationships. On the other hand, it suggests how fragile their self-esteem is, and consequently their loss of positive self image among their peers. Putmam (2000) came up with the bowling alone hypothesis, where it is possible to see that some time ago, Americans were very involved socially and politically, taking part in associative entities in different areas like – social, economic, industrial, religious etc – (bowling league). Nowadays, instead of that, they show some growing individualism (bowling alone) and, consequently, they are getting more and more cut-off from public social life and its related areas.
    Besides blaming their dislikes on their peers, students also found them guilty for the biggest problem in school – incivility. In UNESCO’s national research in which results were just a little different from the ones above, Abramovay et al. (2003, p. 158) evaluated such results:
“Students are setting limits that separate them from their fellows. By acting like that they show they are kind of individualistic, because they don't recognize themselves or others, as part of a community responsible for their growth, both intellectual and social. Instead of that, their fellows are pictured as different, strange and even threatening; it is when repulsive feelings in relation to others start to show up.”
    The topic is very controversial and depends on how it is approached. Cardia, (1999) in a research conducted in 10 Brazilian capital cities confirmed that there is racial prejudice inside schools (30%).
    It is possible to see that discrimination of minorities is a kind of violence that exists in all societies, and school as part of a society presents its figures. Recent results from a large national sampling of Greek students show that most of the violence problem in schools starts with racist and xenophobic behaviors. The growth of school violence among Greek students and immigrants reflects general transformations among the student populations after the immigration wave in Greece. Three in every 10 students (29.4%) have already witnessed violent incidents among Greek students and immigrants. In Salonica these numbers were higher- 58.2% and in Athens it was 39% (ARTINOPOULOU, 2002).
    The first conclusion confirmed the relation between school violence and social exclusion. There the immigrants suffer with social exclusion, specially the Albanian refugees and people from East European countries that have difficulties learning because of the language. These students most of the time are apart from their families, schools and social environment, which is not so different from the poorest and the Afro Brazilian students in Brazilian schools.
    Maluf; Cevallos; Jenny (2003, p.269) claimed that the educational system in Ecuador tends to imitate the social disparity employing its discriminatory practices like racist rituals, humiliations, mocks and even physical punishment to Indian children and youths, cross-breeds and Caucasian students from schools in neighboring districts. These racist attitudes are despising because schools reproduce social hierarchies through the teacher's image with entire authority and through parents’ respect who consider school as the only way to grow and improve socially and cultural integration, so they need to accept school abuses in order to prevent their children from being expelled from school.
    Ecuador has an Educational Organic Law, clause 124 that assures prohibition of physical punishment as well as any punishment that represents humiliation or body and/or emotional abuse. But practically speaking, educators tend to prefer violence as a way to discipline and control. Maluf; Cevallos and Jenny’s research it was shown that most teachers didn’t think that they were violent and the students didn’t notice violence, unless it was physical. So, violent relationships inside schools can be the art of a socialization process where violence becomes invisible and takes part of daily teachers' relationships through orders, yelling, humiliations, offenses and no possibilities of students’ choosing or deciding, among other practices.
    In Greece, Brazil, and Ecuador or in Ribeirão Preto, social exclusion is a phenomenon that is growing, affecting classroom atmosphere and the educational system. School violence can be seen as a symptom, or social exclusion factor.
    In tables 23 to 26 there are examples of incivility, violence and threats against students, drug use and traffic and the use of guns in violent incidents and how all of these interfere with school routine. In table 23 it is possible to see that the answers to the question are related to students’ social class. In other words, the Qui-square test reached p=0.001, and it is possible to deduce that coming to class with drinks and food were more commonly brought to school by students in social classes A (65%) and B (47%). In social class E (21%) it happened less frequently. That question was asked because during participative observations and during semi-structured interviews students had alcoholic drinks.
    Cardia (1999.p.71) confirmed in a research about attitudes, cultural rules and values about violence, in 10 Brazilian capitals that 60% of the youths, 16 to 24 years old, pointed alcoholic drinks as one of the culprits for violence in schools. American youths (EVERETT; PRICE, 1995) tend to blame drug use/traffic and alcoholic drinks (24%) and too many students inside a classroom (20%), for school violence and gang formation (35%).
    Besides alcoholic drinks there was cigarette. Table 24 shows the relation between social class and students smoking in schools patio. Qui-square test, p=0.001, proved that students’ smoking in school patio was more common among social classes B (81%), C (81%) and D (84%) but was less frequent in social classes A (50%) and E (75%).
    Some conclusions come up when analyzing those numbers. There should be more rigor and control about cigarette use inside schools for social class A, but when observing Table 25 that shows students’ answers in relation to the use of cigarettes by teachers in front of their students that decision doesn’t seem so much appropriate anymore. There wasn’t a relationship between the answers and social class but the highest percentage is within class A (20%) and B (20%). Abromavay et al. (2002a), in the National Research, found out lower percentage of use of cigarettes in school, that is, 18% and 10% for students and teachers who smoke inside schools, respectively.
    The variable most responsible for violent actions in schools, worldwide (EVERETT; PRICE, 1995) or nationwide (GUIMARÃES, 1988; CARDIA, 1999), is illicit drug use and traffic.  Table 26 shows students’ answers about drug use or sale inside school or around it. The relation between social class and drug use and sale wasn’t proved (Qui-square test, p= 0.189). Drug use and sale in schools or near them were confirmed by 34% of the students, regardless of social classes. The highest number of positive answers was in social classes B (38%) and E (38%). The qualitative results had already shown drug use and traffic inside most of the sample schools. In Ribeirão Preto the numbers are lower than the ones that Cardia, (1999) mentioned – 71% confirmed that the students take drugs and 68% stated that there are drug dealers in front of the schools.
    In the National Research, students (25% to 47%) suggested that the biggest problems in schools are gangs and use of drugs school or around it; the highest numbers are in Cuiabá and Manaus (47%), Brasília and satellite cities (45%) and São Paulo (41%) (ABRAMOVAY et al., 2002).
    The quantitative evidence about drug use and traffic in schools in Ribeirão Preto, in association with the results about social exclusion and racism shows school as an environment that provides socialization, but that sometimes it doesn’t play its role because it is a place where there is social exclusion. Deslandes (2003, p.243) states:

        “Drug use is a common practice in human history and it can produce as many pleasant psychic and body effects as intense feelings. The use of drugs can either lead to a sense of belonging to a group or exclusion of many as well as social aloofness for adolescents and youths.”
    The linear relationship between drug use and violent actions is a daily strong social representation. The use of psychoactive drugs is associated to suicide attempts, child and adolescent abuse, domestic violence, homicides, violence in schools and, of course, traffic accidents (external causes). Deslandes (2003) analyzed leading Brazilian authors’ production in health literature about the use of drugs. He assumed that complicated relationships that encircle improper use of licit and illicit drugs construct a setting exposed to violence.  It is necessary to evaluate the cultural, generating, communal, familiar, situational, and gender contexts, beyond the deterministic trio– poverty-traffic-violence, trying to find answers in different communities, in different schools, from the alliance between legal and illegal market, from the corruption and impunity that some representatives of national and international elites enjoy.
    Tables 27 and 29 show the variables that represent violent actions per se and not the variables that cause such violence.  Qualitative research show that the same action can be violent or not, depending on the context. Incivility is perceived as actions that break rules and also when a schoolmate, teachers, school employee, or any member of the school staff aren’t respected. But violence is most noticed when there is some property damage, fights, or when students carry guns inside school, and more specifically, when school premises are destroyed.
    One of the most frequent violent actions in school is threats and pressure: promises to violate or invade the physical or moral integrity, freedom, or other people property. In Table 27, the qualitative data show that threats take place inside school among students and among the members of the technical-pedagogical group, as well as among parents and school staff. Threats and pressure are more common among students (38%), followed by teachers (27%). There wasn’t any relationship between social class and threats. In the National Research, Abramovay et al. (2002a) confirmed that students from São Paulo and Brasília and satellite cities (40%) mentioned threats more than students from Belém (21%). Studies conducted in four regions of England found out that threats and pressure (bullying) are more common in high schools (68%) than in elementary schools (27%) (SMITH; SHARP, 1994).
    In Ribeirão Preto the numbers are lower (38%). This research confirms that students are pressed by their schoolmates and this pressure is an important school life characteristic and that it affects individuals as well as the school environment.
    In Table 28, the answers to the question about students fighting inside school showed that such events are related to social class. Students from Class C (85%) witnessed fights more often than students from Class E (75%). In general, 83% of the students from public and private schools in Ribeirão Preto have already witnessed fights involving their peers.
    According to the data, arguments, pressure, threats and fights are part of the relationships inside the school environment. But for the students, that only represents violence when there is some intention to physically hurt. In Table 29, 48%, 13% of the interviewees reported that students and teachers, respectively, have already been attacked or spanked. The numbers of answers were not related to a social class: aggression and spanking take place in all social classes. In Chile, a longitudinal study with 3701 students from public and private schools confirmed that physical violence among them is increasing. In municipal schools, in 1994, the percentage was 14%, in 1997 it was 19.8% and in 2000 it was 45.5%. In private schools, in 1994, the percentage was 4.6%, in 1997 it was 8.9% and in 2000 it was 31.4% (NAVARRO, 2003. p.219).
    Abramovay et al. (2002a. p. 327) confirmed that 1/5 of the students declared that they have been attacked or spanked in the school where they were interviewed. The numbers vary from at least 11% to 13% (respectively, in Rio de Janeiro, Maceio and Fortaleza) and at most 23% and 25% (respectively, in Porto Alegre and Florianopolis). In the National Research, the number of spankings is lower than the number of threats, which suggests that most of the threats don’t end up taking place. In schools in Ribeirão Preto, the numbers show that spanking (48%) is more common than threats (38%).
    Confirming that there are spankings and attacks should be enough to confirm that there are violent actions in schools in Ribeirão Preto, but in tables 30 to 49, there are more serious and even life–threatening kinds of violent actions, which contribute to the increasing morbimortality indicator – external causes.
    It was possible to check it there was any traffic sign or pedestrian strips around the school area when it was evaluated. Some studies present that during the last decades in the 20th century, the violence growth in Brazil has affected all parts of the society, including the school. That growth brings up an issue that the country would have a new social epidemy and one of the most serious problems in public health. Table 30 brings the answers of the students about the traffic accidents, according to the social class. 32% of the students confirm that schoolmates were trampled near the school. The Qui-square test hasn't confirmed the correlation between the social class and the number of affirmative answers, in other words, there are trampling in all social classes.
    There was a failure in the traffic security around the school and it wasn't so much different from what Abramovay et al. (2002a, p.96) has presented:

        “The data show that the security on the ways where students, parents, teachers pass is precarious because there aren't any facilities for pedestrians like pedestrian strips, traffic lights, underground passages etc. The trampling next to school were witnessed by at least 10% of the students, in Distrito Federal and in Goiania, and by 8% of the teachers in Distrito Federal and Cuiabá and at most 20% of the students, in Porto Alegre and 29% of the teachers in Fortaleza.”
    Even the highest percentage, 20% in Distrito Federal, is lower than in Ribeirão Preto – 32%, and that is worrying. Reference studies by Yunes and Rajs (1994), about American regions, between 1979 and 1990, confirmed that only three countries (Brazil, Colombia and Cuba) presented clear inclination to increase mortality by external causes in all ages. The external causes are responsible for 15% of deaths in Brazil. In the world, five million people died because of external causes in 2000, and, male deaths were two times more than the female. When proportional mortality is related to external causes, according to the ages, it is necessary to pay attention to the data, because the gradual ratio growth is confirmed in all younger ages. In the groups between 10 to 19 and 20 to 29 years old the external causes are nowadays, responsible for almost 70% of all deaths.
    Table 31 brings some uncommon facts, but that shouldn't be left aside, a little discourtesy broken out in a row can lead to violent and even fatal reactions. Situations with serious wounds or a student's death were mentioned by 22% students. In social classes A (20%), C (24%) and D (25%), the number of affirmative answers was higher, renouncing in this case the null hypothesis – there isn't any relation among the violence actions at schools and the social classes.
    The data deceive the common sense. They say that serious wounds and violent deaths occur only in poorer social classes, considering that social Class E presented the lowest percentage of affirmative answers, 11%. In the national research about violence at schools, the capitals where there was higher information about serious wounds or students' death, parents or teachers at school environment, were: Salvador (suggested by 11% of the students), Manaus (12% students), Sao Paulo (10%) and Distrito Federal (11%).
    In a study in Francophobe Belgique it was detected 3.23% of sexual violence, practiced at schools. (BLOMART, 2002, p.37). Abramovay et al. (2002a, p. 250) confirmed that brutal situations as sexual violence and rapes were presented: Distrito Federal (9%), São Paulo (11%), Manaus (11%) and Cuiabá (12%). The numbers in Ribeirão Preto are similar to the others, in São Paulo.
    Now that Brazilian society is called for delivering its guns, even though they are illegal, in a big national mobilization for disarmament. Tables 33 and 34 states that 44% of the students confirmed the use of knives, a big stick, a stiletto by their partners, and 17% say that the fire guns are the second more used, and the stiletto the first one (20%). The Tables showed that guns are taken to school, corroborating with the qualitative data that insert this reality in the speeches of the social subjects.
    The youths using guns means that they want to determine respect, protect and defend themselves. In the literature, it is common that the use of guns is a symbol of power with gender marks, that is, symbol of showing its masculinity. The guns at school are used to intimidate and/or to defend people who carry them.
    Taking guns to school is considered one of the violence causes at school in the U.S.A., by 3% of the researched youths. The statistics and the police happenings show that it is more common in the USA than in Brazil. In the national research coordinated by Cardia (1999) and performed by Justice Ministry/Human Resources Secretary, 65% of the interviewed confirmed that their parents take guns to school, it can turn 86% and in São Paulo, 71%
    UNESCO research shows that the fire guns represent a small part of a group of guns found at schools. Evaluating the results, they show that there are more fire guns at public schools, but in capitals like São Paulo (50%), Rio de Janeiro (59%), Distrito Federal (59%) and Cuiabá (51%) the number of students from private schools is much higher than other capitals. The students' affirmative answers for the question about the use of fire guns, during the violence actions at schools take place in all social classes, except Class A. Any gun represents violence clearly and bringing it to school generalizes its use.
    The quantitative results corroborate with the qualitative results, white guns and fire guns at school. Another violence action and that is naturalized in the qualitative results are the stealing and the robberies. Both are about the diminution of possessions although the robbery happens without noticing. At schools the victim is the one who should be blamed because it is not polite to wear so many and expensive things in front of people who can't afford them. The percentage for affirmative robberies (20%); books robbery 19%, tennis robberies (5%) are smaller than in they were described. (CLEMENCE, 2002).
    In the Switzerland the values go from 59% to 90%, 70% in average. The effect of the size of the school was showed in the results – There was a rise in the percentage at big schools. The same research instrument used at Swiss schools was used at Greek schools and the percentage 79%. The impact of the size of the school was highlighted at the results –
    Chilean schools are the closest one to Brazilian socioeconomic reality. A longitudinal study performed in Chile showed that the growth was confirmed .At public schools, the percentage found so that it was possible to confirm violence was 14.8% in 1994, 15.2% in 1997 to 52.2% in 2000. At private schools the percentage were: 1994 (4.6%), 1997 (10.0%) in 2000 (45.4%) (NAVARRO, 2003).
    Another offense that students were questioned about was stealing with a fire gun inside or next to school. 22% of the students confirmed that. This event didn’t show any relation to a social group, that is, it happens in all social classes.  In the city of São Paulo 13% of the students answered yes, it shows that in Ribeirão Preto the number of interviewed people who answered in a positive way is twice higher than in São Paulo.
    Discourtesies, indiscipline, robberies, stealing, attacks with guns, destruction, and aggressions/spanking, these actions or violence manifestations were presented in a quantitative and qualitative way and discussed so far. Searching for a better understanding of the multi-faced and world phenomenon – violence at schools - it was asked people to point which would be the students’ behavior facing a fight?
    Table 35 shows the students’ answers to that question; Qui-square test, p= 0.01 confirmed that there is a relation between the affirmative answers and a social class. They total percentage was 98%, where 43% confirmed that when two schoolmates fight, the others encourage them. Students from social Class E confirmed that more than the others (50%). Abramovay (2002a, p. 239) evaluated those results and noticed that they weren’t so different from the reached ones in Ribeirão Preto, “Fights are supported by attitudes that defend aggressive behaviors, encouraging and prizing them and that belongs to the violence culture.” In the city of São Paulo, 40% of the students encourage the others in a fight, in Distrito Federal and in Guiana the results were 45% and 42% respectively.
    It was asked the students what they would do if one of their schoolmates offended them. Their answers are showed in Table 36. 53% of the answers stated that they would offend back with some friends’ help. The national research showed that students from the capitals don’t often ask their parents or the police for help to react to aggressions inside school. In Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Porto Alegre, Distrito Federal and Goiania the students count on their friends for help.
    According to these data, in some schools the atmosphere is tense and that isn’t related to the location, it is related to the size of the school and to the principal work. It was asked the students how their teachers treat them. Table 37 shows the relation between the given answers and the person’s social class. 16% of the students state that the teachers don’t worry about them and are too demanding. Students from social Class C said that the teachers argue with them and they use hard language inside the classroom.
    The data in table 38, where 72% of the students confirm that the teachers use bad language and verbal aggressions when they talk to them, prove that there is symbolic violence, and the variables aren’t related, so verbal violence is used against the students from all social classes.
    The role of the school has been discussed. The discourtesies performed by the students and also by the adults reveal the social effect crisis of the school. Sposito (2001, p. 100) states that “may this social crisis restore in different ways the juvenile experience from many social classes, in their relationship with the adult world represented here by the school.” The discourtesies and the violence manifestations described here show a group of the students’ dissatisfactions and the difficulties of the school in providing opportunities for a democratic familiarity.
    In the national research, the data crossing show that the changing in the school environment comes in first (42% in São Paulo), and the classes getting worse comes in second (35% in São Paulo).
    Soares and Ruas (1996) suggest the concept of indirect and secondary violence victims (1996). They defend that violence is not over with the action of after the direct effect that it has over its direct victims. It continues interfering in all sections of people’s social life. They are secondary or indirect victims.
    One principal aspect to reverse the violence picture is creating an agreement with the community. For that it is necessary that the school and the society have clear rules and democratic structure in order to make everybody feels useful and represented. Based on the analysis of the results, the students were asked about what they would like to do to decrease violence at schools. Table 40 describes what 98% of the students expect. Although they don’t talk to them when they are attacked, 21% of the students declare that police patrolling at school and surroundings would help to decrease violence inside schools. 17% of the students talk to schoolmates, teachers, principals, followed by the expelling of the students who perform irregular acts (15%); hiring new security officer to check inside the school (11%); control using cameras and metal detectors, and school and community partnership (11%). The responsible for discourtesies and violence actions should be punished with alternative penalties, like working for the community, 5%, students from social Classes B (2%), C (2%), D (2%), e (3%) suggested fire guns as self defense tools.
    In the national research, Abramovay et al. (2002a) presented the following results, and they are almost the same in Ribeirão Preto: the idea of increasing the police patrolling at schools and surroundings was proposed to teachers, parents and students and it was better accepted. This fact can imply that people believe that violence is a phenomenon that comes from outside to inside schools.
    The dialogue among students, teachers and principal (66%), is the second better suggestion to fight violence, followed by: partnership between school and community (58%); camera and metal detectors at school (54%); hiring security guards to inspect school premises (47%); stricter control: expel students who perform offenses (41%); higher walls or protection fences around school (37%); acquisition of a fire gun as a self defense tool (9%).
    Forcing offenders to work for the community wasn’t suggested in the national research and applying stricter control was in the sixth place different from the third place in Ribeirão Preto. That can be explained because according to the qualitative data, discourtesy is the main concern of the social subjects because it is the biggest problem of the high schools in Ribeirão Preto.
    The analysis of the qualitative data brought up once again the complexity and multiplicity of violence as a phenomenon at schools. Some schools have always been violent but some of them are experiencing the phenomenon for a while. The manifestations can be casual or continuing, they can be caused by internal or external factors. Its diffusion and perpetuation at schools depend on the atmosphere of the relationships, especially among the principal, students and teachers.

Final According to the proposal of this study we confirmed that distribution of the participants by social classes contradicted the idea that public schools nowadays are attended only by poor people. The null hypothesis was proved. Only some variables were related to social class students belong to. The variables that presented some relation to social class involved classes exposed to violent actions such as: absenteeism, situations with students seriously wounded, behavior that encourage fights and conflicts.
    The physical environment was presented as the biggest students' inconvenience inside schools, followed by schoolmates, teachers and secretary of the school. The most common problems, pointed by the students, were: students' disinterest and misbehavior, lack of material and human attention (teachers, books, videos and computers). The principal credibility in solving the conflicting differences is as low as parents'. Aggressions take place inside school and they are encouraged.
    We verified that possible solutions to the problems could be: Improving school atmosphere and addressing issues effectively looking for reasonable solutions. We need to pay attention to schools that are able to play its social and pedagogical role despite traffic, material needs, incivility and violence. Some schools in the suburbs have a more peaceful, organized and student participative atmosphere than some better located schools do. In those schools, it was possible to learn that, from its entrance there were clear rules, an active and respected principal and the students and their families were close to the school. The construction of the school was an achievement of the local community, counting on parents', students' and teachers’ participation and care. Teachers who live in the neighborhood were involved with the school so that one’s commitment was everybody's: the school didn’t belong to the State, but to the community.
    The UNESCO has promoted meetings, congresses, research, publications and extensive debate, not only in the Brazilian society, but all over the world about the issue – violence in schools- besides promoting the rise of School Violence Watchers in different countries in Europe and America. The issue will be discussed from different points of view and transdisciplinarly: sometimes focusing theories, sometimes focusing methodological aspects, according to qualitative and quantitative research; sometimes focusing the conceptual idea; sometimes analyzing it from psychological, legal, and public health aspects, but always trying to work out prevention in an attempt to come up with public policies that will effectively address the issue.
    We should, without half baked formulas, always bearing in mind the object- multidimensionality, search for proposals based on specialized studies and on transversal audacity of transdisciplinar research besides drawing public health professionals’ attention to the problems that affect children and adolescents- among them deaths by “external causes”.
    We confirmed that in some public schools in Ribeirão Preto, there are some actions and proposals whose objective is to provide a better involvement of the students, their parents, teachers, and the community in general, with the school problems. They are actions like: family day at school, school open; Project Life (prevention of traffic accidents; PROERD (Teaching Program for Resistance to Drug and Violence) and the Youth Constructing Citizenship (JCC). These actions are still isolated and they aren’t part schools’ policies, but rather someone else’s willingness to do something.
    Another initiative includes a research project underway called “Violence Watching and Effective Practices”. The goal of this research is to orchestrate a network of researchers, professionals, and teachers, to investigate violence school and family, trying to multiple the sample practices of violence prevention of child and the adolescent abuse. It will probably focus two basic axes: 1) the teachers' didactic and methodological improvement, dealing with aggressiveness and violence in the classroom, studying the possibility of using group and virtual technologies; 2) The relation between domestic violence (toward children, adolescents) and the school violence. This project proposes, the preparation of a virtual network of communication and action among groups and institutions, aiming the multiplication of research and strategies for facing and preventing violence in schools and family groups. There is a strategic commitment of lessening infant-juvenile violence through social and community social workers’ mobilization and organization and public servants- net literally is a “fabric of wide mesh   to catch fish” - trying to orchestrate views and strategies “to catch and arrest omission, silence, inactiveness, family and police’s silence, and legal impunity of aggressors,  the chronic offenders (KODATO, 2003).
    This study achieved the first goal suggested by UNESCO, that is, to formulate public policies, contributing the actions by Violence Watching and Effective Practices project’s-“links and strategies” in constructing and formulating strategies and measures against violence in schools in Ribeirão Preto. The results lead us toward strengthening the school, making it a funnel of coordinated actions that will result in decreasing incivility and violent actions, and consequently the indicators of morbimortality. An important strategy, we believe, is to turn schools into a “Health Promotion” setting.
    In other words, that school that has a complete view of the human being, that considers people, specially children and adolescents, within their family, community and social environments, that promote healthy human development and constructive and harmonic relationships will promote healthy abilities and attitudes, in a safe and comfortable environment, with drinking water, proper restrooms and a positive psychological atmosphere for learning. It can have autonomy, creativity and the participation of all students, including the community.
    So, a school that promotes health is the one that: 1) encourages policies that support the dignity of individuals, as well as the well being of groups, and that offers multiple growth opportunities and development for children and adolescents. 2) encourages strategies that promote and support learning and health, allowing the participation in health and educational departments, family and community; offering full education for health and training skills for life, reinforcing protection factors and decreasing  risk factors, allowing  access to health, nutrition and physical activity. 3) It embraces all school and community members: making decisions, interviewing. 4) It has a work project to: improve physical and psycho-social environment; to create a smoking and drug abuse or any other violent action free atmosphere; to guarantee access to clean water and restrooms; to make choice for healthy food possible; to create a healthy school environment; to promote activities inside and outside school. 5) Encourages actions that promote health and prepare leaders to guide the community to make sure that access nutrition physical activity cleanness and hygiene, health services and reference services are available. 6) Offers effective training to teachers and educators. 7) Creates local commissions for education and health like: Parents’ Association; Non-governmental organizations and community organizations.
    The option of establishing schools promoting health,  “violence watching and effective practices project’s: links and strategies” work, together with an interdisciplinary,multiprofessional, interinstitutional and intersectional work, can make room for better a quality of life of students and adolescents, changing the indicators of morbimortality within that often vulnerable population.  
    Refining and establishing the concept of violence in schools and unifying instruments for research is necessary so that comparative works can be done. Searching for ways of promoting knowledge interchange can, together with the society and the social subjects involved (students, parents, teachers, principals and employees), raise questioning and mainly answers to such phenomenon.


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