Evergreen Secondary School false bomb threat: Parents worried and anxious, but relieved at quick action taken
SINGAPORE: Some parents of students from Evergreen Secondary School in Woodlands expressed worry and anxiety when their children received a message from the school on Thursday (Jul 21) morning informing them to stay home.
The message was sent after the school received a bomb threat, and students and staff were evacuated.
It turned out to be a false bomb threat, said Education Minister Chan Chun Sing in a Facebook post at around 12.30pm.
“The police responded swiftly and conducted a thorough sweep of the school compound. The police have completed their security checks and determined that it was a false threat,” said Mr Chan in the Facebook post.
“The school staff and students stayed calm and carried out their evacuation protocol as planned.”
The police said a male teenager is assisting in investigations.
AN "UNEASY" FEELING
A 34-year-old mother, who only wanted to be known as Nur, said her daughter called her around 9.20am to say she was on the way home.
"Everyone was told to (be) dismissed from school as there was an emergency situation in school. She was not sure what happened but saw there were quite a number of police cars and vans in school. She also saw police with their K9 dogs patrolling around the school," she told CNA.
Ms Nur recalled feeling uneasy when she received her 16-year-old daughter's call during school hours.
"It's unusual. (I thought) maybe she is sick and needed to be (picked up) from school but instead got shocked when she explained that they were all dismissed. Feeling worried for her safety, I video-called her to accompany her on the way home, (which) was about 15 minutes walk away," she said.
"I told her to just be aware of her surroundings as my head kept thinking about the River Valley (High School) case."
After realising it was a false bomb threat when she read the news, Ms Nur said she felt a bit relieved.
"Also, (my daughter's) form teacher texted that they are safe to be back to school tomorrow ... I would like to thank all the teachers, principal and staff in school for their fast (action) to ensure all the students are safe. They even made a Zoom meeting to check again on the students if they are already safe at home."
Another parent, Ms Jamilah Ali, who lives opposite the school said her 14-year-old son had received the message from the school at around 8.30am telling him to stay home.
"Right after that, I received (a message) from the Parents Gateway (app). So I felt that it's quite serious already. My window is just facing the gate and I saw a few police cars. I was quite worried. For me, the safety of the children is more important," said the 52-year-old who works at the People's Association as a Residents' Committee manager.
"At the start, (I was) quite anxious. To me, Evergreen is quite a good school in the Woodlands area. So I just hoped there was nothing silly (that happened)," she said.
It was not until Ms Jamilah saw the Education Minister's Facebook post that she realised there had been a false bomb threat.
She said that her son also told her there was a spam message circulating regarding the false threat.
"To me, this bomb thing (is) quite serious. How can this message leak out until it trigger and panic everybody?" she said.
"I'm glad the Government, the teachers, the management all take things seriously. I can see the patrol dog going around the school (some time after) 9am. Very fast."
Mr Chan in his Facebook post added that teachers are checking in with students on their well-being, and school counsellors are on standby to assist any student if required.
STUDENTS BACK AT SCHOOL FOR O-LEVEL ORAL EXAMS
Students who were scheduled to take their O-Level English oral examinations on Thursday were allowed to return to school, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Education said in response to CNA's queries.
Teachers were on site to facilitate the examinations and classes will resume as per normal tomorrow, the spokesperson added.
A few students who returned to the school for their O-Level oral examinations told CNA that they felt safe returning to school.
Vera (not her real name), a 17-year-old student, recalled receiving a message from her form teacher in the morning about an "emergency case" and was told not to make her way to school.
"I was almost going out of the house (so) I just came back home ... But I didn't know what (the) emergency case (was about)," she said.
Around 1.45pm, Vera, who is in Secondary 5, went back to school for the oral examinations.
She said that the morning's events didn't affect her focus, and that things appeared normal at school.
Another student, Jane (not her real name), also told CNA she received a message after 8am telling her not to go to school when she was out having her breakfast.
"So I went home. Actually, I feel nothing because I think that in Singapore, it's quite safe," the 16-year-old said.
"(My friends) were (also) quite calm, and instead I was thinking about what to wear tomorrow for Racial Harmony Day."
Jane said she wasn't fully aware of what happened because the school only informed the students that "it's quite sensitive" and that "they will address (it) tomorrow". But at the moment, she did not feel anxious.
Yeoh, G. (2022, July 21). Evergreen Secondary School false bomb threat: Parents worried and anxious, but relieved at quick action taken. CNA. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/evergreen-secondary-school-false-bomb-threat-parents-worried-anxious-relieved-quick-action-2826221