Singapore's Rosyth School tells parents to stop spreading rumours about 'suicide game'

PHOTO: ST reader

SINGAPORE - A primary school has told parents to stop spreading rumours about an incident involving some of its pupils on a school bus which had sparked concern that the children were playing a "suicide game".

The principal of Rosyth School, Madam Elis Tan, wrote to parents on Tuesday (July 24) after rumours circulated online about a game that some children were playing on a school bus in which pupils receive "happiness" points for achievements such as being praised by teachers and lose points for bad behaviour such as not doing well at spelling.

On July 3, a Primary 1 pupil told his friends that he no longer wanted to play the game. They told him he needed to "die" from the game before exiting.

While the children understood that "die" referred to the end of the game, the Primary 1 pupil took the word literally.

He told his parents about it when he got home, and they informed Rosyth School. The school investigated and told the pupils to stop playing the game. It said nobody was hurt playing the game.

However, various versions of the incident began circulating in various parent chat groups, prompting the principal to write to the parents to clarify the incident. 

"The purpose of this letter is to clarify the incident," wrote Madam Tan. "The school... would like to appeal to parents to stop circulating unverified accounts of the case.

"The students have been counselled and advised against the compulsion of others in the playing of games, and the use of loose language, which may be misconstrued and result in fear and anxiety."

Businessman Seah Kwang Peng, 40, whose daughter is a Primary 3 pupil at Rosyth, received the letter on Tuesday.

"This is the first time the principal has sent such a letter, so I assume the inaccurate chatter must have gotten too loud," he said. " It is good that they've clarified it before the online rumours get out of hand."

On Wednesday night, Rosyth School sent a message to parents saying that it had become aware of another rumour and was preparing a response to it.

The school said the rumour involved Primary 1 and 2 pupils playing an unsafe game but did not give more details. 

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.