THE slashing of a teenager at ITE College West on Tuesday was an isolated incident, but security patrols have been increased and measures are being reviewed as the school works with police on the case, said its principal.
Dr Yek Tiew Ming was responding to queries from The Straits Times about how someone could have come to school with a large knife and attacked another youth, presumably over a girl.
In the brawl, 16-year-old Muhammad Zuhairie Adely Zulkifli - believed to be a student of the school - allegedly used a bread knife with a 35cm blade to slash Ahmad Nurthaqif Sahed, 19, understood to be a school dropout dating a current student.
The fight took place in the heart of the campus at an open atrium, while students seated on the steps around it watched in shock.
Dr Yek said a security officer attempted to stop the fight, and kept other students away.
But videos recorded by students and posted on social media showed the lone guard standing by helplessly as the two youths fought, leading several students to question why there were no other guards there.
Dr Yek said the guard followed safety protocol and "immediately called for reinforcements from the fire and security command centre", as well as the police.
He said other security guards and student guidance officers arrived "within minutes" to separate the two and restrain the attacker, who dropped the bread knife and fled.
ITE staff rendered first aid to the victim, who suffered lacerations to his back and arm, and a fractured elbow.
Several students told The Straits Times it was the first time they had witnessed a scuffle involving a dangerous weapon, and the incident raised some concerns about campus security.
Dr Yek said: "The safety of our students is a top priority, and while this is an isolated incident, ITE is reviewing current security measures.
"ITE will also examine the sufficiency of security awareness programmes for students.
"In the meantime, increased patrols by security officers and staff trained as VSC (Volunteer Special Constabulary officers) have been put in place.
"We are also working closely with the police and helping with their investigation."
He did not respond to requests to verify if Muhammad Zuhairie and Ahmad Nurthaqif were students.
Muhammad Zuhairie was charged on Wednesday with causing grievous hurt by using a dangerous weapon.
He will next appear in court on April 8.
If convicted, he could face a jail term of up to 15 years or life, and may be fined and caned.
This article was first published on Mar 13, 2015.
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