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School fight leads to death of fifth grader

by Bridgette Babb - Copy Editor
Thu, Apr 11th 2019 04:00 pm
Tragic death The death of fifth-grader Raniya Wright has struck many. A memorial was set up with flowers, balloons and loving messages for the 10-year-old girl taken too soon. Her father, Jermaine Van Dyke (right), mourns the death of his daughter who was reportedly bullied many times before her death.
Tragic death The death of fifth-grader Raniya Wright has struck many. A memorial was set up with flowers, balloons and loving messages for the 10-year-old girl taken too soon. Her father, Jermaine Van Dyke (right), mourns the death of his daughter who was reportedly bullied many times before her death.

A parent’s worst nightmare is not being able to protect their child when they need it most. A South Carolina family is in mourning after the mysterious death of a fifth-grade family member involved in a school fight.

Pain was spread over the community when news of Raniya Wright’s untimely death surfaced. According to The New York Times, officials in Colten County reported the student had gotten into a fight at her local school, Forest Hills Elementary. When the school nurse’s report came in about Wright being injured, she was transferred to Colleton Medical Center and later airlifted to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. 

The New York Times also reported the young lady was found ‘unconscious but breathing,’ by school officials. Wright was pronounced dead in the hospital two days after the altercation. Colleton County Coroner Richard Harvey did not release the actual cause of death, but did say there would be an autopsy scheduled for later on in the week. 

CBS affiliate WCSC-TV disclosed that the school confirmed the child had passed away after her mother posted a facebook message, saying her baby had ‘got her wings.’ 

“We will temporarily suspend our Facebook page so we can better focus on providing the care that our stakeholders need at this time,” Forest Hills Elementary stated on its website.

CBS relayed that the other student involved was suspended, but there will not be any charges until a thorough investigation takes place. It is still unclear what caused the fight. CNN stated that there were no weapons involved.

“We are devastated by this news, and we want our communities to keep their thoughts and prayers with the student's family at this time,” a separate statement from the school district read.

School administrators have been very tight-lipped about what occurred that day. WCSC relayed that there had been a community meeting discussing the incident, but many bystanders left unsatisfied with the lack of answers. 

“Our board and district have received multiple requests for information, School Board Chairman Tim Mabry said in a prepared statement, according to WCSC. Due to the ongoing investigation and student privacy laws, we cannot share specific details at this time.” 

The school has not even disclosed how long the students were fighting, which is ridiculous. Mother Ashley Wright remembers the exact phone call when the school nurse delivered the call.

“She said 'I just wanted to call and let you know that Raniya has been in an accident today, a fight' and I said 'My child, Raniya?' So, I was like 'Okay, um is she OK?' 'Yeah, she’s okay.' She rephrased to me that she’s OK, if you want to come up here, she’s just complaining about dizziness and headache,” Wright said. “I want to know everything, and they didn’t have no answers for me at all.”

Family members chose to remember Wright as the happy child she was, not the violent ‘fighter’ the school is trying to portray her as. 

“I just want to say one thing: that my granddaughter, she was a good girl,” the victim’s grandmother Ernie Wright, told CNN. "You know, she was, like, 10 years old, and for as what kind of person she was, she was an usher in the church. Very much, you know ... she just, just good to go. I mean, as far as violence or anything like that, she never would do that.”

A GoFundme page has been set up for Wright, raising over the $45,000 goal set by the family. Many donations came in with encouraging words.

This story is extremely sad. For her parents to be searching for answers no one wants to give is very disheartening. It is not fair for them to have lost a child, but even more unfair to have them fight so hard to find out this information. One has to wonder where the faculty was during this altercation.

 The better question would be how these students got into such a bad fight that one passed away. Whatever the outcome is, the hope is for this family to get the much needed closure it deserve. 

 

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