The mood at River Valley High School was solemn as students returned on Wednesday, two days after the alleged murder of a 13-year-old student there.
More than a dozen school staff and security officers stood at the gates to usher students in as early as 6.30am. The school was closed for the Hari Raya Haji public holiday on Tuesday.
Parents were seen dropping off their children outside the school and waiting as they entered.
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 said, noting that the teachers are doing their best to manage the situation. "School is still a safe space for students."
Many students turned up on Wednesday with flowers and left them at the school foyer to pay tribute to their schoolmate.
A website (https://padlet.com/rvhs/messages) was set up by the school on Wednesday morning for the public to leave messages of support and offer their condolences.
More than 700 messages had been posted as at noon. Many of them were from the school's alumni. One message read: "Dear RV, you were my safe haven for six years... You hold my emotions and memories (of) youth. It is heartbreaking to hear of the incident... Today we stand in solidarity to mourn the child we lost."
On Monday, a 13-year-old student was found dead in a school toilet. A 16-year-old student from the school was charged with the boy's murder in a district court on Tuesday.
Psychological and trauma support is on offer to close friends and teachers of the Secondary 1 boy and the teen accused of killing him. Ministry of Education (MOE) specialists and school counsellors trained in psychological first aid and trauma management were at the school on Tuesday and are still stationed there, said director-general of education Wong Siew Hoong.
He said that a room has also been set up in the school for affected staff, students and parents to walk in for support, and it will be there till the end of the week.
"Naturally, following this incident, some parents are understandably anxious about the safety of their children in our schools," he said. "Student safety has been and continues to be of paramount importance to all of us." He added that all schools will continue to be vigilant about campus security and the necessary processes are in place to ensure this.
The Straits Times