SINGAPORE, July 22 — Students of Evergreen Secondary School were asked to stay home yesterday morning (July 21) after the school received a bomb threat, which turned out to be false.

The police said that they were alerted to a bomb threat at 11 Woodlands Street 83, where the school is located, at about 7.40am.

They completed security checks at the location and no threat items were found.

A male teenager is assisting in investigations and the police are looking into the case under the United Nations (Anti-Terrorism Measures) Regulations 2001.

“The police take all security threats seriously, and will investigate persons who intentionally cause public alarm,” they added.

Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said in a Facebook post yesterday that students who were already on the school premises were fully accounted and asked to return home as a precaution.

The police, he said, were alerted to the threat by staff members of the school.

“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,” Chan wrote.

He added that parents were informed of the situation via the school's online portal and told not to take their children to school.

Teachers of the school, he said, are checking in with students on their well-being following the incident and school counsellors are on standby to assist any students if required.

“The safety of our students and staff is paramount, and the Ministry of Education will not tolerate any threat or action that endangers our schools. Together with the police, we will take necessary action against anyone who causes public alarm.”

The Ministry of Home Affairs said in a Facebook post that while the threat at the school was determined as false, “such security threats should be taken seriously”.

“It is important to have safety and security protocols in place, and to exercise crisis plans regularly,” it said.

“When responding to a crisis, remain calm and only refer to official or credible information sources. This will ensure that we do not spread any misinformation that could create unnecessary panic.”

Students, parents relieved it was a hoax

When Nur, 34, a homemaker, received a call from her 16-year-old daughter at 9.20am yesterday, she was worried that the teenager had fallen sick and needed to be picked up from school.

Her daughter is a Secondary 4 student at Evergreen Secondary School.

Nur, who declined to give her full name, added: “After she explained that (students) had to go home as there's something happening at school, which we didn't know yet (what it was) at that time, I panicked more and was worried for her safety.”

As her daughter took her usual 15-minute walk home from school, Nur “accompanied” her virtually through a video call.

“I reminded her to be aware of her surroundings as we didn't know what was going on yet.”

For Nur and the parents of other Evergreen students interviewed by TODAY, yesterday morning was full of anxiety because they did not know any details, aside from the fact that there was an “emergency situation”.

They told TODAY that they feared the incident might turn out to be as tragic as the River Valley High School murder, which occurred almost exactly a year ago, or even like cases of school shootings in the United States.

Nur said: “The form teacher texted me at 8.40am but I was asleep, so I found out only when my daughter called me. In the message, the teacher said only that students will be sent home because of the 'emergency situation' and that investigations are ongoing.”

Students at school early yesterday morning told TODAY that they were alerted by an announcement at around 8.10am to evacuate to the school field.

Not all students were there because school starts at 8.50am yesterday. Those who had yet to reach the school were asked via phone text message to return home before they arrived.

Among those already in school, some had seen police vehicles entering the school, which got people talking since they were not privy to any details aside from it being an “emergency situation”.

It was only after Chan's Facebook post was picked up by the media did parents and students learnt more details of the situation.

Although some students said that they were relieved no one was hurt and the threat was a hoax, they said that it was a reminder to not take their safety for granted.

TODAY understands that form teachers addressed their students through a video call meeting on Zoom yesterday morning to assure them that they would be able to go to school today and to approach their teachers should they need any support.

They were also told that the school's principal will be addressing the situation before their Racial Harmony Day celebrations today. Racial Harmony Day is on July 21, but the school had earlier planned to hold celebrations today, students told TODAY.

However, despite the planned festivities, students and parents have mixed feelings about the return to school.

Nur said: “I'm still feeling half-hearted to take (my daughter) back to school tomorrow (Friday). But after reading the news, I'm assured that it's safe to return as usual since it was a (false) alarm.” ― TODAY