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‘Serious incident’ at River Valley High School involving Sec 1 boy; Sec 4 male student assisting with police investigations

SINGAPORE — A “serious incident” involving a Secondary 1 boy took place at River Valley High School on Monday (July 19) morning and a Sec 4 male student is assisting in police investigations, the school said in an update on its parents' portal.

Police cars are seen at River Valley High School on July 19, 2021.

Police cars are seen at River Valley High School on July 19, 2021.

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SINGAPORE — A “serious incident” involving a Secondary 1 boy took place at River Valley High School on Monday (July 19) morning and a Sec 4 male student is assisting in police investigations, the school said in an update on its parents' portal.  

In the message seen by TODAY, the school also urged parents not to speculate on the incident or post anything on social media.

“The school will provide further updates when we can,” it added. 

Some anxious parents turned up at the school in the afternoon, following the message on the portal, media reports and messages circulating on WhatsApp about the incident. 

Students, who were understood to be kept indoors for their safety after the incident, were seen being released at about 3.30pm. The students were ushered by school staff members and not allowed to speak to the media. 

When TODAY visited the school at around 3.20pm, there were several police cars as well as police officers at the scene. 

There were about 15 cars, some of which belonged to parents, near the back gate of the school. 

Photographs circulating on social media also showed ambulances at the school. 

WhatsApp messages have been circulating claiming that a slashing incident took place in the school and that students were not allowed to leave their classroom for their safety.

As of 4pm, the police had not released any information to the public.

A police crime scene van parked in the compound of River Valley High School, on July 19, after a ‘serious incident’ occurred earlier in the day in the school. Photo: Raj Nadarajan/TODAY

A first-year junior college student at the school said that her teacher sent a message in the class' WhatsApp group at around 1.30pm informing students to return to their classrooms straight after lunch, regardless of what their next lesson was.

In River Valley High School, students skip the O-Level examinations in the fourth year of studies and in the sixth year, take their A-Level or International Baccalaureate examinations that are normally offered in junior college.

The fifth-year student, who declined to be named, said that her friends saw police officers and an ambulance entering the school compound around noon.

Parents told TODAY that they had seen the messages circulating and news reports since early afternoon and went to the school to check on their children. 

Mr Alvin See, 48, said that his Sec 4 daughter was supposed to be home by 3.30pm, but sent him a text message to say that someone in school had been injured.

Mr See, who works in a bank but was working from home, said that he did not receive any updates on the situation from the school or teachers, but googled and read an article from The Straits Times saying that there was a fatal incident.

"We want to know what happened, but we understand that we won’t get any updates until police investigations are over.”

Another parent, the father of a Sec 2 student who declined to be named, said that he drove to the school after seeing the news online at 2.30pm. He said that his daughter was supposed to make her way home on her own.

"She messaged to say that the school will release them at 3.30pm. Of course, I am worried. But I think she is safe because she said that students are in the classroom,” the 52-year-old who is self-employed said. 

“I don’t know what happened, but most important is that everyone is safe.”

Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said in a Facebook post on Monday afternoon that the Ministry of Education is working closely with the police on the investigations and the police will share more details in due course.

"We are all shocked to receive news of the tragic incident at River Valley High School this morning. Our thoughts are with the families of the students concerned," he wrote. 

"We are determined to work with parents and students to keep our schools safe and have our children grow up and learn together in a trusted environment."

He urged students who needed to talk to anyone, or students who know of friends who need help, to reach out to an adult, teacher or school counsellor. 

TODAY has reached out to the school, the police and the Ministry of Education for comment.

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