Sao Paulo's high schools have been occupied by their students fighting against school closures. Altogether, 94 high schools are scheduled for closure and students are occupying all but 20 of them. In some cases teachers too are joining in the occupations.

The state government claims that this is part of a reorganisation of schools, to improve the efficient use of facilities. However both students and teachers' unions say that the closures are motivated by a desire to cut costs. Classes are already full to bursting, with many over 50, and closing schools will simply exacerbate the situation. Analysts say the closures will mean some classes will be as big as 100. Earlier this year, teachers took part in a three month strike to demand that the government increase spending on education.

Despite being threatened by police, students some as young as 13, have barricaded themselves into schools. The governor of Sao Paulo, the largest conurbation in Brazil, did not trouble to consult students, parents or teachers before announcing the closures. Students have hung banners outside schools with slogans such as 'This school belongs to us!.' 

The occupations are self-organised along 'horizontal' lines - a method increasingly seen in the resistance of young people all over the world. A history teacher commented, '“I was a student and a teacher in the state-funded system, and I’ve never seen a movement like this. This moment is unique. I’ve never seen a movement on educational themes that didn’t come from teachers and their unions. Now with students in the forefront of the movement we see a lot of parental support. I hope this sparks a change in the history of education in São Paulo, but it’s too early to tell.”