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Mother: 5th grader who died after fight hit head on shelf

April 8, 2019

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The mother of a fifth grader who died after a fight at her South Carolina elementary school said other students in her class have told her she hit her head on a bookshelf.

Ashley Wright told Good Morning America that she is frustrated by the lack of answers after her 10-year-old daughter Raniya died in the hospital two days after the March 25 fight at Forest Hills Elementary School in Walterboro.

“I want to know everything,” Wright said “And they didn’t have no answers for me at all.”

The Colleton County School District released a statement last week saying they understand everyone is looking for answers, but it is critical to let the criminal investigation into the fight and the girl’s death to finish before more information is released.

Prosecutor Duffie Stone said on March 29, the day of the girl’s autopsy, that investigators need to test tissue and other samples taken from her which will take weeks, and charges may not be filed.

Other students in Raniya’s class told her family that the other fifth grader involved in the fight had been bothering Raniya all day before coming up behind her and hitting or pushing her, Ashley Wright said.

“She pushed her or rammed her head or something into a bookshelf,” Ashley Wright said.

The other fifth grader has been suspended. Her name and age have not been released.

State Sen. Margie Bright Matthews, who represents the area around the school, said she has talked to law enforcement, school officials, the substitute teacher in the class that day, and family members of both students.

Bright Matthews praised law enforcement, saying they separated the students in the classroom and questioned them all two separate times before they went home following the fight.

The Democratic senator said she was told the fight appeared to be just a small scuffle that was broken up, there were not repeated blows to anyone’s head, and Raniya appeared OK after the altercation.

Raniya began complaining of a headache later in the principal’s office, threw up and then lost consciousness, Bright Matthews said.

Ashley Wright said she got a call from the school nurse who said her daughter was complaining of dizziness and a headache. She said Raniya didn’t have any serious medical conditions before the fight, but by the time she made it to the school, things had gotten much worse.

“No one called me back,” Ashley Wright said. “All I saw was my daughter hooked to all these machines and cords.”

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