River Valley High death: 97% of students returned to school on Wed – MOE official

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SINGAPORE — Ninety-seven per cent of River Valley High School (RVHS) students returned to school on Wednesday (21 July) following the alleged murder of a fellow student on campus on Monday.

"This is the resilience of our students, and we are proud of them," said Wong Siew Hoong, Ministry of Education's (MOE) Director-General of Education, who highlighted the attendance rate during a media doorstop. The rate is similar to that of "any given day" at RVHS, he added.

On Monday, a 16-year-old male RVHS student was arrested at the school for his suspected involvement in the killing of a 13-year-old male schoolmate. Preliminary investigations showed that the two parties were not known to one another and an axe was seized by the police as a case exhibit.

The suspect was charged with murder on Tuesday.

Providing psychological support

Commenting on the incident, Wong said that RVHS teachers used some time on Wednesday morning to check in on students to "help them process what happened". 

With MOE's assistance, the school has been reaching out to affected staff and students to offer "all our support", Wong added. MOE specialists and school counsellors trained in psychological first aid and trauma management have been stationed at the school to offer assistance.

"A room has also been set up at the school since yesterday to help affected staff, students and parents who can walk in for support, and will be open throughout the whole of this week," said Wong.

He also noted that schools would be working closely with parents to monitor and support their children's mental and emotional wellbeing, and provide them with information resources on where to seek help when it is needed.

Given that many parents would be "understandably anxious" about their children's safety, Wong said that MOE and its schools would continue to be vigilant about campus security and have put in place the necessary processes.

If you are feeling distressed, you can call SOS' 24-hour hotline at 1800 221 4444. You can also email pat@sos.org.sg.

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