S.C. Mom Complained About Bullying 'Numerous Times' Before Daughter, 10, Was Killed in Fight
The mother of the South Carolina fifth-grader who died late last month after a classroom fight has opened up to ABC News, and said she notified school officials on several occasions that her daughter was being bullied.
Ashley Wright told ABC in an interview that aired during Good Morning, America her 10-year-old daughter, RaNiya Wright, was the target of physical and verbal abuse by the very girl she got into a fight with on March 25.
RaNiya, a Forest Hills Elementary School student, died two days later at the Medical University of South Carolina, succumbing to the injuries she’d sustained in the fight.
Authorities have yet to release an exact cause of death for the fifth-grade student.
At a press conference last week, RaNiya’s father, Jermaine Van Dyke, demanded answers from school officials, saying they’ve yet to brief him on the fight or what precipitated it.
Ashley Wright said she’d complained about the bullying “numerous times,” but that school officials failed to address the matter.
Like her husband, she has gotten little information from school officials, mostly learning what happened to her daughter that day through conversations with RaNiya’s classmates.
“I’m very upset with the school system, starting out, only because of the fact that I’ve been complaining about the person that she fought numerous times to them,” Wright said in the exclusive interview. “That’s what really breaks me down and makes me question to myself why nothing was never done up until now with this happening. I’m thinking they got it handled, and they failed me.”
The bullying began last year, she told ABC.
“I’ve been having problems with her since fourth grade,” Wright said, referring to the student who she says was involved in the fight. “I can’t speak about third, because I’m not sure, but I’ve been hearing her name before she got in the fifth grade.”
Wright also said that in recent weeks, RaNiya repeatedly asked her mother if she could stay home from school.
“She did not want to go to school these last couple of weeks,” Wright said. “I felt like the situation at school was getting worse.”
In a press statement obtained by PEOPLE, the Colleton County School District said school administrators “ended the fight and called emergency medical services to the school.”
No weapons were involved in the incident, police said.
“This was a physical altercation that took place between two fifth grade students at Forest Hills Elementary,” Colleton County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Shalane Lowes wrote in an email to PEOPLE.
Lowes said the case is active and no arrests or criminal charges have been made.
However, a student from the Walterboro school has been suspended until the investigation is complete, according to the school district’s press release.
According to a police incident report previously obtained by PEOPLE, officers were called to the school about 1 p.m. Monday about a student who “collapsed.” The student, later identified as RaNiya, was in the nurse’s station, not breathing.
She was taken by helicopter to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.
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Wright told ABC News she’s also frustrated with the police, who haven’t been forthcoming about their ongoing investigation.
“My frustration is really towards the school system because I sent my child to school feeling like she can be protected while she’s not in my care anymore,” Wright said.