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 Hari Raya Haji public holiday on Tuesday.

Parents, who were seen dropping off their children outside the school, waited as they entered the compound.

Many parents and students declined to comment when approached by The Straits Times.

But 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 to pay their respects to their schoolmate and left them at the school foyer. 

On Tuesday (July 20), 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.

Getting help

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• Fei Yue’s Online Counselling Service:
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Last modified: July 21, 2021