Some 540 River Valley school staff, students sought mental health help
About 540 River Valley High School staff and students have sought psychological support after a Secondary 4 student allegedly killed a Secondary 1 boy on campus on July 19.
The school has more than 2,000 students.
Education Minister Chan Chun Sing yesterday outlined the support provided to students and staff in the wake of the incident, which he said had a "profound impact" beyond the school.
The day after the incident, which was a public holiday, a "Caring Actions in Response to an Emergency" post was set up in the school for students and staff who needed immediate help, he said.
He added that 98 Ministry of Education (MOE) specialists and school counsellors trained in psychological first aid and trauma management were deployed to provide additional support.
The minister and senior MOE officials also met 350 principals from primary schools to junior colleges the day after the incident.
"We discussed the situation with them and shared with them the resources they could tap to identify students and staff who may display signs of distress so that they can be encouraged to seek help," he said.
Responding to Mr Patrick Tay (Pioneer) on why there was no "timeout" for the school, Mr Chan said this option was discussed.
But the consensus was that it was best for students and staff to come together, take stock of the situation and support one another, rather than let individuals grieve alone at home. Those who needed time off to grieve were granted leave.
"Most heartening, within the school community, the students initiated their own small acts of kindness," said Mr Chan.
He cited how some students distributed small gifts and snack packs while others sent encouraging notes and sweet treats.
"Students are looking out, not just for themselves but also their teachers too and urging them to seek help where needed," he added.
Commending the school's advisory committee, parent-teacher association, parents and alumni as well as counsellors from social service agencies and the community for rallying around it, he said: "All these speak volumes of the compassion and strength of the River Valley High School community."