COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. — A group of parents are expressing frustration with the lack of information that's been released about a classroom fight that left a fifth-grader dead at a South Carolina school this week.
The parents showed up at an emergency meeting of the Colleton County School Board Thursday which was held to discuss the death of 10-year-old Raniya Wright. The board met for nearly three hours, but for almost the entire time, the group was behind closed doors in what's known as executive session.
Afterward, they came out and read two brief statements, then adjourned their meeting without taking questions.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Wright family," said Tim Mabry, a member of the board. "Our district will continue to support them in any way possible...out of respect for the families, and the integrity of the investigation, we request that the public remain patient and focused on supporting this community during this time of tragedy."
Dr. Franklin Foster, the district superintendent, cited the open police investigation and student privacy laws as the reasons why they couldn't say more. He also asked for the community to help them by not spreading rumors and speculation.
But that wasn't satisfying for the parents who'd gathered in a small meeting room at the district office and had waited while the board was in executive session. As the board left the room after their statement, the parents shouted out at the departing members, who remained silent as they exited a side door.
"We wait outside for two hours and y'all just going to adjourn the meeting and leave," one parent said.
"You don't want any rumors or speculations but you're not answering any questions," said another.
Colleton County deputies, who are probing the death, have said very little so far about what led to the girl's fatal injuries. Investigators say they're waiting until an autopsy that's scheduled for Friday is complete before they release more information.
The fight broke out Monday 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. An incident report states 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.
One student has been suspended in connection with the incident.
Hours after Wright's death, the district issued a statement that said in part, "Raniya was a wonderful student. She loved to write, spend time with her friends, play basketball and loved being a big sister. She was actively involved in her church as a junior usher. She will be missed greatly by her family, friends, and the entire school community."
Meanwhile, there's been an outpouring of support for the girl and her family. A makeshift memorial at the school was filled with teddy bears, flowers, and balloons that members of the community had brought by.
Lowcounty United, a semi-pro soccer team in South Carolina, announced Thursday that their next home game will be dedicated to Wright.
And a GoFundMe page claiming to be set up by a friend of the family had raised over $44,000 for the girl's mother as of late Thursday afternoon.