LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A dozen elementary school children in the same class took part in a self-cutting incident last week, according to authorities.
At least one of the students required hospital treatment.
The incident took place at Normandie Avenue Elementary located in the 4500 block of South Raymond Street last Thursday.
Alarmed parents and school officials initially believed there may have been an impromptu pact among students to attempt suicide.
Students in the 5th grade class where the cutting took place, report that a classmate took apart a pencil eraser and that students started passing the blade around. The cutting took place in front of a substitute teacher, one parent alleged.
Joshua Mendoza, a 5th grader, says the students were more likely making a statement against bullying. “They got all crazy and started cutting themselves. They were actually doing it in class.”
Parent Letitia Grayes has a son who attends the school. She says no one from the school informed parents. Grayes heard about the incident from other parents.
She accuses the school of trying to keep the incident quiet. “By keeping it under the table, I think that’s wrong.”
She adds, “They should of had a parents’ conference. Or they should have sent some letters home — we should have been aware of it.”
The school’s principal acknowledges children were sent to the hospital and said one remains there. How many students were involved or how long it took for the teacher to stop it has not been released.
The head of LA Unified School District’s mental health program says as many as 20 students were interviewed. Pia Escudero says, “We see a lot of behavior that is similar to this…children seeking help. Attention-seeking, suicide behavior — or doing things that aren’t healthy.”