'Hardest thing I ever had to do': Mom of fifth-grader who died after classroom fight

WABC logo
Monday, April 8, 2019
Classroom fight death: Mom recounts girl's last days
The mother of Raniya Wright, the fifth-grader who died after a classroom fight, opened up about the heartbreaking ordeal.

WALTERBORO, S.C. -- The mother of Raniya Wright, the fifth-grader who died after a classroom fight, is opening up about the heartbreaking ordeal.

"I had to sleep by my baby the night before she passed," Ashley Wright said. "And that was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life."

The South Carolina mom spoke exclusively to Good Morning America just two weeks after her daughter, 10-year-old Raniya, passed away after a classroom fight.

"I'm thinking, 'they got it handled,'" she said of the school, "and they failed me."

Raniya's exact cause of death has not been released, but her mom says, "My baby was normal as a 10-year-old supposed to be."

Investigators are working to piece together exactly what happened on Monday, March 25 at Forest Hills Elementary School in Walterboro, South Carolina. They say it could take weeks to determine whether anyone will face charges.

Raniya's mom said that the other girl involved was always picking on her daughter and that she notified the school of her concerns about bullying. The other children in the classroom told Wright that, on the day of the fight, "She was bothering Niya all day, wanting to fight her."

Wright said the classmates told her that the other student was hitting her daughter in the head and that she pushed her against a bookshelf.

Her mom also wonders how closely the substitute teacher was paying attention.

"The other kids say that she was on her phone," Wright said.

Wright said she got the call from the nurse about the fight during her lunch break.

"She said, 'I just wanted to call and let you know that Raniya has been in an accident today, a fight,''' Wright recalled. "And I said, 'My child? Raniya?' And I'm like, 'OK, Is she OK?' 'Yea, she's OK. If you want to come up here, she's just complaining about dizziness and headache.'"

Those headaches worsened, and soon Raniya was hospitalized. A police report said she was unconscious but breathing when paramedics arrived at the school. She died two days later.

Raniya's autopsy was completed on Friday, but the results have not yet been released, as tests need to be done on samples taken during the examination.

"We realize and appreciate that people want to know what happened," reads a statement from the Colleton County School District. "Once the investigation is complete, we will release a full report to the public."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.