DeKalb County

Nearly a dozen kids were found to be self-harming at 1 metro school, police say

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Police are investigating after nearly a dozen middle school students intentionally hurt themselves in DeKalb County.

Channel 2's Lauren Davis confirmed Thursday night that the school district is bringing in experts to speak with those students, trying to get ahead of the problem so it doesn't get bigger.

Davis caught up with parent Bryan Powell as he was picking up his children from Freedom Middle School when he learned that 11 of his kids' classmates were harming themselves.

"That's an unusually high number," Powell said. "I think that's really sad. It's really, really depressing."

Child psychologists told Davis that self-harm can include cutting, where a child intentionally inflicts harm on themselves.  It's not a suicide attempt, although it can look that way.

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Experts say self-harming typically starts around age 14, but can start as young as 11 or 12, and is a coping strategy for unhappy kids.

One student Davis spoke with said it's not worth it.

"My dad used to tell me it's not worth killing yourself."

The school confirmed 11 students are participating in self-harm. They released a statement saying, "The health and safety of our students are important."

The school brought in student support and social workers to provide help.

"It's a really good job of them to stay proactive and make sure it doesn't trickle to other students," Powell said.

The DeKalb County Police Department is also investigating.

Anyone with a friend or child who is participating in self-harming can get help by texting "HOME" to 741741.