A school has provided a student with razors for supervised self-harm. The Department for Education discovered the incidents during an inspection at the Unsted Park School in the UK. The school specializes in students between the ages of seven and 19 who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s and other autism spectrum disorders.
The Department for Education reports that one of the female students was provided with a new, sanitized razor blade. The student was reportedly allowed to slash her skin in the restroom while the teacher waited outside.
Self-injury inflicted by a razor or sharp object against the skin is commonly referred to as “cutting.” As discussed at KidsHealth.org, cutting usually begins in the teens and can continue into adulthood. Often times the cuts and scars go unnoticed as they can be hidden under clothing.
Cutting is thought to be a symptom of larger emotional problems. For those harming themselves, cutting is a form of control. It provides an escape and becomes a coping mechanism.
Interestingly, some studies have suggested that it may help to offer supervision to those who self-harm. As reported by Nursing Standard, nurses and doctors can provide patients with sterile blades which may help prevent infection. Additionally, they can treat the cuts when the patient is finished.
It is suggested that by observing and supervising the self-harm, health care workers can observe behavioral patterns and triggers. This information can then be used to develop effective treatment plans.
As reported by the Telegraph, school officials arranged the policy in cooperation with the girl’s mother. School administrators reportedly stopped providing the student with razors after several days as several teachers had complained.
Local authorities contacted children’s services. They did not find any evidence of criminal wrongdoing and declined to further investigate the matter.
As reported by BBC, school officials contend that they felt they were acting in the best interest of the child, and were complying with her mother’s wishes. They have stated that they are no longer providing razors to the student and will not allow anymore supervised self-harm in the school.