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A message offering encouragement and support was seen on a bouquet of flowers placed at the main gate of River Valley High School in Singapore July 25, 2021. — TODAY pic
A message offering encouragement and support was seen on a bouquet of flowers placed at the main gate of River Valley High School in Singapore July 25, 2021. — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, July 28 一 Singapore Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said students and staff members of River Valley High School displayed solidarity, grace and compassion, including towards a 16-year-old student who allegedly murdered his schoolmate.

Recounting his experience when he visited the school on the day of the tragic incident, Chan said that he spoke to two of the 16-year-old student’s classmates, who were waiting to be interviewed by the police.

“Amid their pain and their confusion as to what has happened, how it could have happened, two of them told me the same thing separately,” he said.

“They just have one simple request for me. They told me, ’Minister, please help our friend (the 16-year-old). Please take care of him’,” Chan said in Parliament yesterday.

“They know it’s a cry for help. In that moment of darkness, I saw grace, I saw compassion, I saw solidarity among the students and staff of River Valley High.”

Chan was responding to a question by Darryl David, Member of Parliament (MP) for Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency who had asked what can be done to prevent such an incident from happening again.

The minister was speaking about mental health among students after the River Valley High incident on July 19 when the 16-year-old student allegedly attacked a 13-year-old fellow student he did not know.

The 16-year-old was charged with murder the next day and has been remanded for psychiatric assessment.

Throughout the parliamentary debate, Chan repeatedly emphasised the efforts of the teachers and staff members of River Valley High, for taking actions to protect their students.

“I saw the teachers. They were also in pain and in shock. But none of them, none of them thought about their own pain or shock. They were all busy running around, making sure each and every child under their charge was well taken care of first,” he said.

He singled out the school’s principal, Teo Khin Hiang, who went back to school to manage the incident even though she was on medical leave.

During the debate, MPs from both sides of the House also offered their condolences to the family of the 13-year-old boy who died. — TODAY

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