Seven students involved in ‘cutting incident’ at elementary school in Landover

LANDOVER, Md. -- Tuesday, the principal of William Paca Elementary School in Prince George's County sent a letter home to parents after a mother went to the school to seek out the help of a counselor after noticing cuts to her child's arm.

Prince George's County Public Schools Spokesperson, John White says this 'cutting incident' involved seven students in total, who had removed the razor sharp blades found in pocket pencil sharpeners to cut themselves.

“That’s dangerous, that’s very dangerous.”, said Richard Coles who is the father to a nine-year-old daughter in Prince George’s County Public Schools.
He says that he is now concerned for her safety.

It's unclear why the students began cutting themselves, however, White said,
“I have heard rumors about a game. I’m not familiar with this type of a game, but these are the types of questions that counselors ask.”

However, another reason could be depression according to a high schooler who is not being named to protect his identity.
He said that he used to attend William Paca and is a cutter himself.

“Basically cutting, cutting your arm… it’s something for us to do to calm us down.”, he said.

As he showed me his scars, he told me that in many ways the pain is therapeutic compared to what else may be going on in his life.

“Stuff that happens to us at home that causes depression will actually, like, make you do stuff to yourself.”, he said.

The school district’s crisis intervention team has been on hand to counsel students who may need it

As for Richard Coles, he said the message to his daughter and other kids is, “Stay focused in school… Stay focused on the bigger picture.

William Paca Elementary School has since banned all portable and hand-held pencil sharpeners… anyone caught with one will have it confiscated.
If your child attends William Paca Elementary School and you’re concerned about your child, call 301.925-1330 to be connected to a counselor.