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I came across the expression テープにハサミを入れる in the context of an opening ceremony. As far as I can tell it means 'to cut a ribbon with scissors'.

Is 入れる the verb that would still be used to indicate the general action of cutting with scissors (e.g. cutting paper with scissors for a school project)?

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The phrase effectively means cutting but the verb itself is not a synonym of "cut".

入れる has a general meaning of "applying a force/an effect (using)":

ある作用を加える。「文章に手を―・れる」「腐敗した政治にメスを―・れる」「テープにはさみを―・れる」「刻み目を―・れる」

You can see that your exact phrase is listed in the examples. For your infomation, 手を入れる and メスを入れる above are idioms that mean "modify" and "take radical measures", respectively.

So, what I visualize with ハサミを入れる is basically, an action making a single movement of scissors like when you just start to cut or make a snick, rather than you snip and snip to cut it off.

But in some occasions, though I'm not sure yours is the case, like wedding ceremonies, you should avoid mouthing words that mean "separate" or "end", and they completely reword 切る into ナイフを入れる etc.

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