A murder in the River Valley High School in Singapore has shocked the entire country. The incident happened on July 19 at River Valley High School in Boon Lay. A 13-year-old Secondary 1 student of RVHS was killed on campus allegedly by a 16-year-old Secondary 4 student.
Police have arrested a 16-year-old Singaporean teen. He is accused of killing a13-year-old boy at a toilet on the fourth floor of the school. He appeared in court via video-link from remand. He was dressed in a red shirt and had tousled hair, responding "yes" to the judge at certain questions, reported CNA.
How the Crime Unfolded
According to TODAY, the police received a call for assistance at about 11.40am on Monday from River Valley High School. The police officers found a 13-year-old boy lying motionless with multiple wounds, at a toilet in the school. He was declared dead at the scene by a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) paramedic.
A statement was released by the police saying that they have arrested a 16-year-old Sec 4 student for the alleged murder of another Sec 1 boy. Preliminary investigations show that the two teenagers involved did not know each other. An axe has been seized by the investigators.
Speculations on Social Media
As soon as the news broke out, everyone on social media became investigators and tried to connect the dots from their own perspectives. People are posting things that they've "heard" from someone else which doesn't guarantee proper verification.
There were also multiple unverified reports and text messages circulating that the attacker is a student of the school and was carrying an axe. Netizens are speculating the story from various angles.
The Straits Times spoke to a parent â a 43-year-old who works in the IT industry â who told the newspaper that he had rushed to the school after receiving a message from his Secondary 1 daughter that said there was someone allegedly wielding an axe in the school.
Chinese evening paper Shin Min Daily reported that a student had allegedly brought a knife to school to attack another person.
RVHS students are between the ages of 12 and 18. The school offers the six-year Integrated Programme which allows students to skip the O levels.
School will Provide Counselling Support
Education Minister Chan Chun Sing conveyed that his ministry is working closely with the Singapore Police Force on the investigations. "We are all shocked to receive news of the tragic incident at River Valley High School this morning," he said, adding that the safety and well-being of students and staff are of paramount importance.
In a statement, the Ministry of Education and River Valley High School said they were deeply saddened by the loss of one of the students, and are extending their fullest support to his family.
"The school has also reached out to students, parents and staff to provide counselling support and the necessary assistance to ensure their well-being," they said in a joint statement.
The Accused Was Previously Seen As a Patient at the Institute of Mental Health
According to CNA, the police prosecutor asked the court to remand the accused at Changi Medical Centre for psychiatric evaluation.
"Your Honour, the preliminary investigations revealed that the 16-year-old teenager was previously seen as a patient at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH)," he said.
"In 2019, the police attended to an incident of attempted suicide involving the then 14-year-old. Following the incident, he was taken into custody for his safety and subsequently referred to IMH for assessment. He was then discharged. Given the circumstances, we are submitting that he requires psychiatric evaluation." The boy's lawyer, Mr Peter Keith Fernando, confirmed that this happened when his client was in Secondary 2, reported CNA.
Time to Provide Our Children a Safe Space to Talk About their Mental Challenges
According to a report published in The Pride, a Singapore-based publication says that we should look to ourselves to ensure that this never happens again, so that our children can be safe in schools, at home, wherever they go. Not just from physical harm, but from the mental, emotional burdens that maim us on the inside long before a hand is raised or a weapon is wielded. The RVHS tragedy has raised several questions on teens facing challenges from bullying and excessive stress.