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The mother of fifth-grader Raniya Wright, who was allegedly killed following a classroom fight with another student at a South Carolina elementary school on March 25, believes her daughter was routinely picked on — and that school officials “failed” to do anything.
The fifth-grader’s mother, Ashley Wright, says that Raniya had a history of being bullied by the student who allegedly killed her daughter, according to ABC. "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 told Good Morning America.
Since the altercation, law enforcement and school district officials have provided few details as to what exactly transpired in the Forest Hills Elementary School classroom on March 25. The student, who hasn’t been identified, is currently suspended while the investigation is ongoing, according to a statement posted on the Colleton County School District website.
Shalane Lowes, a spokesperson for the Colleton County Sheriff's Office, told Oxygen.com that no weapons were involved in the incident. Lowes said an autopsy has been conducted but that the results haven’t been made public yet. “We do not have the results nor a timeline on when the results will be received,” Lowes said.
She declined to provide any further information “until the investigation is complete.”
Sean Gruber, a spokesperson for the school district, also declined Oxygen.com’s request for comment.
In a board meeting on March 28, Colleton County School District superintendent Franklin Foster told parents, teachers, and the community that the district was cooperating with law enforcement.
“Providing a safe learning environment is a top priority for our district,” Foster said in a prepared statement. “After the investigation is concluded, we will thoroughly review the findings and address any areas of concern identified through the investigation.”
The school district denies any negligence on its part.
"We adamantly disagree with any claim that we did not do enough to protect Raniya," said Foster in a separate statement, emailed to Oxygen.com.
But Angela Carr, a family friend of Wright’s, who’s helped organize a GoFundMe for the family, also told Oxygen.com that Wright had previously spoken of her daughter’s problem with the school not addressing bullying.
“She has been to the school about her daughter being bullied before,” Carr told Oxygen.com in March.
Wright couldn’t be reached for comment. Carr said the family is currently focused on covering their daughter’s “medical and funeral expenses.”
Wright told Good Morning America that her daughter had been having difficulties with the other student for at least the past year and that lately, she had been trying to avoid school. She claimed that the other student made fun Raniya’s hairstyle and her nose.
“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."
Wright allegedly phoned the school to complain but received discouraging responses from officials.
"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 to Good Morning America.
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