COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. — The father of a South Carolina girl who died after a fight in a classroom says he's heard almost nothing from officials about his daughter's death, one week after the fight that ultimately took her life.
Jermaine Van Dyke, the father of 10-year-old Raniya Wright, spoke alongside his reporters.
"I'm here today looking for justice for my daughter," Van Dyke said. "I want to find out what happened, how it happened, and who was involved."
The fight broke out on March 25 in a classroom at Forest Hills Elementary School in Walterboro. The Colleton County School District said teachers ended the fight as quickly as possible, and called for EMS. Both of the students involved were fifth-graders.
The report says Wright made it to the nurse's station. When deputies arrived, the girl was unconscious but breathing. She was taken to a local hospital for treatment, then airlifted to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Around mid-morning Wednesday, she passed away.
The dad says he learned about Raniya's injury from her maternal grandmother, and raced to the hospital. By the time he got there, however, she'd already been taken to Charleston for further treatment.
But Van Dyke's attorneys say they've only heard from a school district lawyer, who couldn't provide much details. According to them, the sheriff's office and the solicitor's office have not reached out to the dad.
Attorney Mark Peper said they've spoken with the teacher in the classroom, and parents of some of the other schoolchildren. While he's hesitant to label it bullying, he said there was a "patter of behavior" and that the school was on notice that there'd been altercations in this particular classroom.
Raniya's mother, Ashley Wright, has hired separate attorneys from Van Dyke. But the father's attorneys say both teams are working together.
"Ms. Wright's council has been in constant communication," Peper said. "We've formed a unified front."
Investigators have said it could take weeks to make a determination in the case, including if charges are necessary. One student was suspended by the district.
Her father's attorneys say the dad right now is focused on his daughter's funeral, which will take place Wednesday. They're also calling on the community to come together and heal.
In a separate statement released on behalf of Raniya Wright's mother, attorneys Margie Pizarro and Myesha Brown said the family joins the community in calling for transparency and accountability from the school district.
"In Raniya's name, the family is demanding change," the statement reads. "Change that addresses the reasons that a child would openly express anxiety about attending school. Change that addresses legitimate fears that a child has while in the school building. Change that addresses bullying and teasing and the collateral damage when those behaviors go unchecked."