SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has expressed his sympathies for the family of the 13-year-old boy who died at River Valley High School (RVHS).
In a Facebook post on Tuesday (July 20), PM Lee also expressed his shock: "We cannot make sense of what happened. Words fail us because we cannot understand.
"We are overwhelmed imagining what the victim's family are going through. Yesterday morning, they sent off their 13-year-old son to school. Suddenly, without any warning, he is no more."
The Secondary 1 student was found with multiple wounds in a toilet at the school. A 16-year-old Secondary 4 student was arrested and an axe seized as evidence.
Students of the school were ushered into classrooms following the incident which happened before noon on Monday. The students were later briefed and allowed to leave the school from 3pm.
In his post PM Lee said that the teachers and students of RVHS are in shock, and added: "We will help you walk through this dark valley, and come to terms with what has happened."
PM Lee also urged the public to wait for the police to finish investigating the case, uncover the motivations, and find out if something could have been done to avert it.
"Let us not worsen the trauma and grief of the affected families with speculation and rumour," he wrote.
Great emphasis is placed on safety in schools, and the well-being of teachers and students, he said.
"Our education system is not only about good academic performance, but also helping our kids to grow into happy and well-adjusted persons."
He urged staff and students to let the principal or school counsellors know if they are aware of a student who seems troubled or under stress.
"Beyond our schools, the pandemic has been tough on everyone. If sometimes things seem too much to bear, please remember help is always available, even if it's just to talk to someone about what's on your mind," he wrote, providing a list of helplines.
"We are all in this together. We are each other's keepers. Let's continue to look out for one another."
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat offered his condolences to the families affected by the incident, and to all students, teachers and alumni of RVHS.
"In recent years, our schools have emphasised social-emotional well-being of students. We must continue with this effort. Let us continue to support one another during this challenging period. As investigations for this case are still ongoing, I urge everyone not to speculate and to respect the privacy of the families,” said Mr Heng in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
He also urged the public to reach out for help if they know anyone under mental or emotional stress.
On Tuesday morning, the 16-year-old alleged assailant was charged with murder.
The boy will be remanded at Complex Medical Centre for psychiatric observation and is scheduled to be in court next on Aug 10.
Those found guilty of murder can receive the death penalty. However, those aged below 18 will not get the death sentence but could be given life imprisonment instead.