South Carolina mom complained about bullying before deadly 5th-grade fight: 'They failed me'

Raniya Wright died from injuries after a getting into a fight with a classmate.

April 8, 2019, 5:00 AM

Still reeling from the sudden death of her 10-year-old daughter, a South Carolina mom said she complained about her child being bullied multiple times before she died after a fight with a classmate at school.

Raniya Wright, a fifth-grader at Forest Hills Elementary School in Walterboro, South Carolina, died two days after getting into a fight with a another fifth-grade girl who Raniya's mother, Ashley Wright, said she'd complained about "numerous times."

"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 said in an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America" airing Monday. "That's what really breaks me down and makes me question to myself why nothing was never done up until now with this happening.

"I'm thinking they got it handled, and they failed me."

RaNiya Wright, a fifth-grade student at Forest Hills Elementary School is pictured in this undated photo provided by her family.
Family Photo

Paramedics said Raniya was unconscious on March 25 when they found her inside the school nurse's offices and transported her to a local hospital. Her condition was so severe that she was airlifted to another hospital nearly 50 miles away in Charleston, where she died two days later.

A student was suspended after the altercation and the school said it plans to release more information when the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office completes its investigation. Police said no weapons were used in the fight.

Wright said she believes her daughter was the victim school bullying, but authorities have not confirmed that. She said she notified the school and spoke with Raniya's teacher about her ongoing problems with the classmate.

"I've been having problems with her since fourth grade," Wright told "GMA," referring to the student involved in the fight. "I can't speak about third, because I'm not sure, but I've been hearing her name before she got in the fifth grade."

Wright said she didn't speak with her daughter the morning before the fight, but that her mother, who normally sees off the children while Wright's working, said Raniya had been asking to stay home from school more lately.

"My momma said that she did not want to go to school. She told me later on that day, when I was on lunch before the school called, that she didn't want to go to school," Wright recalled. "And the last couple of weeks she's been feeling like that. When I say, 'You got a half a day tomorrow.' She'll be like, 'Yes, can I just stay home?' She did not want to go to school these last couple of weeks. ... I felt like the situation at school was getting worse."

Ashley Wright, the mother of Raniya Wright, speaks with ABC News.
ABC News

Raniya said the girl was picking on her every day, making fun of her nose, saying that her hairstyles were "for little girls," according to her mother. Wright said she offered to go to the school, but her daughter declined, believing that would make things worse.

Wright called the school instead.

"I'd normally call and talk to her teacher about it, and she'll say, 'Well, Raniya never said anything to me about it.' And I'm saying, 'Well, I'm letting you know she comes home to me about it every day,' and I'm leaving it in her hands to do something about it," Wright recalled. "So when Raniya gets home I'm like, 'Well, did she talk to you, did you talk to her about what happened? Is she holding a parent conference? Is she supposed to call me?' She said 'No, momma, nothing.'"

Wright said she's frustrated because police and school officials haven't revealed details about the ongoing investigation.

"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.

The Colleton County School District said it plans to release a full public report about the tragic incident after authorities conclude the investigation.

"We know that members of our community may have questions and concerns as we try to sort out the details surrounding this tragedy. We realize and appreciate that people want to know exactly what happened in this incident," the school said in a statement last Wednesday. "However, it is important for our school district to make sure that the Colleton County Sheriff's Office's thorough investigation, relying on all of the facts available, is concluded before we comment publicly."

ABC News' Zachary Kiesch, Douglas Vollmayer and Bill Hutchinson contributed to this report.