April 03, 2019

Devastated Parents Demand Answers after Their 10-Year-Old Daughter Died from a Classroom Fight

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Jermaine Van Dyke and Ashley Wright are looking for information from the school district after their ten-year-old daughter, Raniya Wright, passed away from a classroom fight.

Van Dyke held a news conference on April 1 requesting for more information. He talked briefly to the media outside of Forest Hills Elementary School. 

Jermaine Van Dyke speaking at the press conference in Walterboro on April 1 | Photo: Facebook/Live 5 News

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“I’m here today just looking for justice for my daughter and I’m looking to just to find out what happened, how it happened and who was involved, that’s really it,” he said.

Van Dyke and his lawyer, Mark Peper, said that in spite of attempting to contact the school district and law enforcement handling the case, they'd got little information about the incident.

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"It’s been made pretty clear to us that there’s been a pattern of behavior over the last, really, four or five years."

According to Peper, Raniya's father had one meeting with the superintendent of the school. However, the session didn't really give any actual improvements about what prompted the fight or who was included. 

Although it's not yet known whether a teacher was in the classroom when the fight happened, the attorney said his team has spoken with a teacher who was in the classroom that day of the fight as well as some parents who have children at the school.

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"We’re still gathering the results of our investigation," Peper explained. "But it’s been made pretty clear to us that there’s been a pattern of behavior over the last, really, four or five years."

Peper continued that he was reluctant to identify the fight as bullying while an investigation is progressing. 

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Meanwhile, the attorneys for Raniya's mother, Ashley, said in a statement:

"They are awaiting answers to questions regarding the circumstances surrounding Raniya’s tragic death including was there appropriate supervision in the classroom, and what, if any, steps did school administrators take to intervene in the fight."

Raniya, a South Carolina fifth-grade girl, was fatally injured in a fight on March 25 at Forest Hills Elementary School in Walterboro. She died at the Medical University of South Carolina, where she was airlifted from the Colleton Medical Center, on March 27.

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