05/04/2018 20:43 EDT | Updated 05/04/2018 20:43 EDT

60 Students Involved In Cutting 'Game' At Atikamekw First Nation

The school's principal says some students are in serious distress.

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MONTREAL — An elementary school says more than 60 students have cut one another or themselves with sharpening blades in an Atikamekw First Nations community in Quebec.

The Seskitin primary school in Wemotaci announced on its Facebook page Friday it learned on Thursday about the incidents.

Wemotaci is located about 400 kilometres north of Montreal.

The Facebook post says certain students encouraged others to use blades to cut themselves and their peers in what the school called a group phenomenon.

Seskitin school says the students involved were of various ages.

The police and representatives from the community's social services department said no one was immediately able to give further details.

Band leaders could not be reached for comment.

Nathalie Dominique, the school's principal, told CBC News the cutting was part of a game of dare that the students were playing.

For some students, their participation was actually "a cry for help" and a sign of serious distress, Dominique said, but for others it was only a game.

The school said the cutting occurred for the most off school grounds, but added that some students used the blades in class and in the schoolyard.

With files from Sima Shakeri