SINGAPORE - The mood in River Valley High School was solemn as students returned on Wednesday (July 21), two days after the alleged murder of a 13-year-old student on campus.
More than a dozen school staff and security officers stood at the gates to usher in students as early as 6.30am. Only minimal greetings were exchanged.
The school in Boon Lay was closed for the Hari Raya Haji public holiday on Tuesday.
Parents were seen dropping off their children outside the school and waiting as they entered the compound.
Many parents and students declined to comment when approached by The Straits Times.
One parent, who declined to be named, said her 17-year-old daughter - who had been asked about the alleged attack on a few occasions - was not comfortable answering any questions.
“The students are confused... investigations are still ongoing,” the parent added, noting that teachers in the school are doing their best to manage the situation. “School is still a safe space for students.”
River Valley High School has students from 12 to 18 years old and offers a six-year Integrated Programme, which allows them to skip the O levels and take the A levels in their sixth year.
Many students on Wednesday turned up with flowers and left them at the school foyer to pay their respects to their schoolmate.
A website was set up by the school on Wednesday morning for the public to leave messages of support and share their condolences.
More than 700 messages had been posted as at noon, many of which were from the school’s alumni.
One message read: “Dear RV, you were my safe haven for six years... You hold my emotions and memories (of) youth. It is heartbreaking to hear of the incident... Today we stand in solidarity to mourn the child we lost.”
On Tuesday, a 16-year-old student from the school was charged with murder in a district court. He cannot be named, as he is under 18 years old.
He will be remanded at Complex Medical Centre in Changi Prison for psychiatric observation and is scheduled to be back in court on Aug 10.
The police said in a statement on Monday that officers found the 13-year-old boy lying motionless with multiple wounds in a toilet.
An axe was seized as evidence when the 16-year-old was arrested.
Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that preliminary investigations suggest the older boy had purchased the axe online and that he had a history of mental health issues.
Education Minister Chan Chun Sing also said on Facebook that day that students and staff will have access to counsellors trained in trauma management over the next few days.
Parents who feel that their children may need additional support can alert their teachers and schools through the helplines that the schools have provided, he added.
National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868 (8am - 12am)
Fei Yue’s Online Counselling Service: eC2.sg website (Mon to Fri, 10am to 12pm, 2pm to 5pm)
Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222 (24 hours)
Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444 (24 hours) /1-767 (24 hours)
Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)
Silver Ribbon Singapore: 6386-1928/6509-0271 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)
Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788 (Mon to Fri, 2.30pm to 5pm)/ Tinkle Friend website (Mon to Thu, 2.30pm to 7pm and Fri, 2.30pm to 5pm)
TOUCHline (Counselling): 1800-377-2252 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)
Care Corner Counselling Centre (Mandarin): 1800-353-5800 (Daily, 10am to 10pm)