The River Valley High School incident has raised many questions; specifically about children’s safety, mental health, and the importance of identifying red flags early.
However, while a solution to these may very well be a long-drawn process, it cannot take away from the unfortunate series of events of the fateful day – that were outlined by Minister for Education, Mr Chan Chun Sing.
Speaking in Parliament today (Tuesday, July 27), Mr Chan shared a timeline of what transpired on July 19 at the school.
He also clarified that not all details can be shared since the case is now in court.
River Valley High School Incident: An Unfortunate Timeline
Image courtesy: Stock
As you know, on July 19, a Secondary 4 student from RVHS killed a Secondary 1 student on campus allegedly using an axe.
While we earlier reported that the unfortunate River Valley High School incident took place in the morning between 11.30 am and noon; exactly how and what happened still remained a mystery. But not anymore.
There’s finally some clarity from coming from the government. Here’s a timeline of how the events unfolded, as shared by Minister for Education, Mr Chan Chun Sing:
- A group of students encounter a Sec 4 student outside the toilet with an axe towards the end of the lunch break.
- They come back to the classroom and inform their teacher.
- The Sec 4 student asks another group of students in the classroom next to the toilet to call the police.
- The students then follow the ‘Run-Hide-Tell’ emergency lockdown drill. They go into the classroom, lock the doors and call their form teachers for help.
- A teacher then arrives at the scene and asks the Sec 4 student to put down the axe. The student complies and is taken away to the meeting room.
- Other teachers call the police and check the toilet.
- The police arrive about 10 minutes later and take the 16-year-old Sec 4 student into custody.
- The police officers and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) paramedics find the 13-year-old Sec 1 student in the toilet.
- The boy is motionless and with multiple wounds. The paramedics pronounce him dead on the spot.
- The principal breaks the news of the incident to the rest of the staff once the situation is under control.
- The staff then speaks to the students and tells them a serious incident has taken place and asks them to contact their parents to tell them that they are safe.
The principal speaks to the students most affected by the incident. The school informs parents through the Parents Gateway – a communication app – about a serious incident at school.
The school begins sending students home. They station teachers at the school gates in order to speak to parents and students.
The school informs parents that a student died on campus. They ask parents to monitor the well-being of their children.
Parents are asked to contact form teachers in case they are worried.
The Sec 4 student is charged in court with murder. He is now in custody for psychiatric assessment.
Mr Chan also added, “Preliminary investigations revealed that the two students had not known each other before the incident and that the exe was purchased online.”
School And Staff Members Seek Psychological Support
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Minister for Education, Mr Chan Chun Sing also revealed that about 540 staff members and students sought physiological support from an emergency response post at the school.
The Caring Action in Response to Emergencies (CARE) Post, manned by counsellors, was set up immediately after the incident for those who needed support, despite the school being closed for Hari Raya Haji.
Speaking at the Parliament, Mr Chan said, “It will take time for the River Valley High School community to recover. Where needed, students and staff will be referred to healthcare agencies for professional assistance.”
“Most heartening, within the school community, the students initiated their own small acts of kindness. Some distributed small gifts and snack packs; others sent encouraging notes and sweet treats. Students are looking out not just for themselves but also for their teachers, and urging them to seek help where needed,” he added further.
Mental Wellness Helpline Numbers
If you or anyone you know needs to talk to someone, do reach out on the following helpline numbers.
- National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868 (8 am – 12 am)
- Fei Yue’s Online Counselling Service: eC2. sg. (Mon to Fri, 10 am – 12 pm, 2 pm – 5 pm)
- 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, 9 am to 6 pm)
- Silver Ribbon Singapore: 6386-1928/6509-0271 (Monday to Friday, 9 am to 6 pm)
- Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788 (Mon to Fri, 2.30 pm to 5 pm)
Information source: MOE
Feature/Lead image courtesy: 8World News
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