A 31-year-old biologist hopes the tragedy serves as a reminder of the need for preventive measures to avoid further school massacres
The biologist Thais Fantini Sagrillo Zucolotto is the mother of 12-year-old Selena, one of the four victims of attacks on schools in Aracruz, within Espírito Santo. She and her family are still reeling from the shock of the loss of their only child, but want the tragedy to serve as a wake-up call for society to be more vigilant about school shootings. “I still haven’t been able to get anything out of her house,” says the 31-year-old woman.
“My family had to help me remove her uniforms which were drying on the clothesline. There’s a basket with his clothes to wash and I don’t know when I’ll have the strength to do it,” vented the victim’s mother, who was a sixth grade student at one of the schools where the shooting took place.
It also calls for a rigorous investigation by the authorities and the responsibility of the parents of the killer, who was 16 years old and a former student of one of the colleges. On social media, the young man’s father, who is a military policeman, was accused of preparing his son for the use of weapons and aggression, which he denies. “I want to see the police investigate the police, fairly,” Thais says.
Thais also criticizes the prime minister’s accusation that the perpetrator of the attacks was bullied and says he believes in his father’s negative influence on the boy. “I feel pain as I buried my daughter,” she says. The biologist says she lives “remarkably close” to the shooter’s family, but she says she has never had contact with him or his parents, who have now moved from the city of Espírito Santo. The killer was arrested on Friday.
Despite the riot, Thais said she prioritized her daughter’s mourning alongside her husband and the rest of the family. “We are experiencing our pain and our revolt. By saving the beautiful messages we received about our little one,” she relates.
When asked what message to draw from all this, Thais promptly replied that the letter she wrote to her daughter, after last Friday’s massacre, clearly defines the feeling of love and protection for children that she hopes will be transmitted to people.
“We must have specific laws for school massacres. Criminal classification. Opening channels to report the behavior. Intelligence in the analysis of internet data to map dangerous profiles for society in advance. There are so many things we can do as a society,” she warns. “In 2022 it should no longer be possible to glorify Nazism. We have already seen what this path does,” she adds.
According to police investigations, the teenager wore a Nazi swastika on his clothes during the attack. The father had already published on social networks a photo of the cover of the book Minha Luta, in which the former dictator of Germany Adolf Hitler exposed his anti-Semitic ideas. The publication sparked debates on social networks, with people associating the father with the son’s action. “Terrible book. I read it and I hated it,” the premier told Estadão, regarding the work which is considered an ideological reference for neo-Nazis.
Find out who the other victims are
Maria da Penha Pereira de Melo Bagni, 48 years old: Maria, better known by her surname, Penha, has been teaching arts at the Primo Bitti State School with a fixed-term contract since March of this year. The teacher died at the scene shortly after the shooting.
She is survived by her husband, Wellington Baths, an electrician, and three children: an 11-year-old boy and two girls, aged 7 and 17. To the press, she Wellington said he learned of her attack through her youngest daughter. “My daughter texted me, I went to the hospital to check and went to school. I wanted to see her, hug her. But I couldn’t,” she said.
Cybelle Passos Bezerra Lara, 45: like Maria da Penha, Cybelle also died in the school where Primo Betti worked, after the shooting. She holds a master’s degree in mathematics from the Federal University of Espírito Santo (UFES) and has been teaching the discipline in the school since 2018.
In the same week she was killed, Cybelle received the Best Practices in Education award at an event held at the school itself and attended by re-elected governor Renato Casagrande (PSB).
Camila Luna is a writer at Gossipify, where she covers the latest movies and television series. With a passion for all things entertainment, Camila brings her unique perspective to her writing and offers readers an inside look at the industry. Camila is a graduate from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a degree in English and is also a avid movie watcher.