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Friday, 13 July, 2001, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
Pupils slash wrists to copy Eminem
Eminem has proved a controversial figure in pop
A primary school head teacher has voiced concerns after pupils aged ten and 11 were found slashing their wrists in an attempt to mimic the controversial singer Eminem.

Five pupils at a school in Oldham, Manchester - which is not being identified to protect the pupils - had flesh wounds on their forearms from copying a scene in an Eminem video where a disturbed fan is seen slitting his wrists.

It has all been instigated by this idiot Eminem

Head teacher
The children told teachers they had dismantled pencil sharpeners to use the blades to inflict injuries on themselves in the playground.

"It was extremely worrying," the head teacher said.

"Nobody has been seriously injured, but some of the sharpeners are rusty and could cause blood poisoning - if they caught a vein or artery, the children would be in real trouble.

"It has all been instigated by this idiot Eminem. I explained to the children there are good and bad examples and they should take on board the good, and reject the bad," he said.

Regular checks

There is concern the practice could spread, but the head at the school in Oldham is confident he has nipped the problem in the bud.

"We have put a lot of resources in to stamping this problem out and we continue to monitor the situation," he said.

Many believe Eminem is a bad influence on children
"We check the wrists of the pupils daily, and if we found any further signs of this activity, the pupils parents would be informed immediately."

The head also called in the police to talk to pupils about the issue.

Schools liaison officer for Greater Manchester Police, Graham Jones, said: "When I asked them if they thought the red stuff was real blood, they said 'No, it's probably tomato sauce'".

'Real blood'

"But the trouble is, when they cut their wrists, it's not tomato sauce that comes out then, it is real blood.

We would also ask parents to keep their eyes open, as it may happen outside school

Andy Sampson, Oldham Council
"I realise this guy is an idol, but there is a lot of danger in that behaviour, they could make a dangerous cut, or get blood poisoning from a rusty blade," PC Jones said.

Nick Caws, principal educational psychologist for Tameside's educational psychology service, said it would be unusual for this craze to take off because "self injuries behaviour was not that common".

"A bit of guidance around behaviour in class and getting involved with parents is usually all that's needed, explaining the need to ensure pupils should not copy negative aspects of what they see," he said.


Assistant director of education and leisure at Oldham Council, Andy Sampson, said the council was very concerned to hear what was happening.

"Therefore we have raised the issue in a meeting with head teachers to see how widespread it might be.

"It is important for staff and pupils remain vigilant to ensure that it does not develop in our schools.

"We would also ask parents to keep their eyes open, as it may happen outside school," Mr Sampson said.

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