Forest Hills Elementry School in Waterloo, South Carolina saw its parents gather in a library Wednesday evening where the conversation was focused on bullying that is going on at the school.
“The school has yet to notify any of the parents except the ones involved that something happened. We all found out on social media,” Forest Hills parent Paige Garris said, according to WCIV. “People on social media are just saying the little girl had been bullied, the mom had been to the school and nothing had been done.”
A candlelight vigil in RaNiya’s memory has been scheduled for Thursday night. It will be held at 6 p.m. in Pinckney Park, WCSC reported. A second candlelight vigil will be held on Friday at 7:45 p.m. at Joseph Rainey Park, according to WCIV.
A makeshift memorial site full of teddy bears, balloons, and flowers can be found near the school’s marquee. A statement from Colleton County School District says a student has been suspended, but, due to the ongoing investigation, the community has been asked to understand that there is little information that can be released at this point.
The incident report that has been released by the sheriff’s office after RaNiya’s death, contains no mention of bullying. It did list another fifth-grader student as the suspect in the case listed as simple assault. Colleton schools spokesman Sean Gruber “said he could not comment” when asked by the Greenville News if the fight stemmed from bullying.
Some people in the South Carolina community are making the connection on their own, including one woman whose SUV was painted with the message “Save Our Kids from Bullies.” The State reported. Kimberly Uptergrove, the owner of the SUV, told the newspaper that her child and RaNiya were playmates.
WLTX reported that the Colleton County School Board held a special meeting Thursday in order discuss what happened. The meeting was private, held almost entirely in executive session, and the only comment made when it finished was a prepared statement read by chairman Tim Mabry, WCSC reported. The statement did not provide any details about what was discussed in the special meeting.
“Forest Hills Elementary and our district as a whole have experienced a great loss. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Wright family. Our district will continue to support them in any way possible as well as offering support to students, community, and staff as we deal with this loss,” Mabry said, according to the TV station. “Our board and district have received multiple requests for information. Due to the ongoing investigation and student privacy laws, we cannot share specific details at this time. … we request that the public remain patient and focused on supporting this community during this time of tragedy.”
The community was quick to voice their displeasure over the lack of information shared following the meeting after many of them had waited for hours according to a video tweeted by WHNS.
Colleton County Coroner Richard Harvey told McClatchy an autopsy is scheduled for Friday for RaNiya Wright.
What We Know So Far:
Information is limited on what happened at the school on Monday. According to the sheriff’s incident report, officers were called to the school and found RaNiya in the nurse’s office unconscious but breathing.
“Fire Rescue was immediately dispatched to the scene,” according to the report, and a school resource officer was already on scene when the ambulance arrived.
The school district said the girl had to be airlifted to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, less than 50 miles away.
“The district crisis response team has been at Forest Hills Elementary School on March 26 to offer support services to students and staff and will continue as needed,” the district said.
RaNiya Wright died at 9:39 a.m. Wednesday, according to the sheriff’s office.
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