That case involved an elementary student bringing a loaded gun to the school in response to alleged bullying by another elementary student.
Reported on at the time by The (Walterboro, S.C.) Press and Standard – the gun incident is not believed to be related to the violence that rocked the school two weeks ago, however it underscores escalating safety concerns at government-run schools all across the Palmetto State.
We have known for years that South Carolina’s worst-in-the-nation schools are abject, perpetual failure factories when it comes to academics, but are they also hazardous to students’ health? Even students in grammar school?
According to police reports obtained by The Press and Standard, the gun in question – a black, semi-automatic pistol – was allegedly taken from the nightstand of the student’s father and taken to campus on March 28, 2017. The incident was not reported to school officials until three days later, at which time they notified the Colleton County, S.C. sheriff’s office.
Apparently, the student who brought the gun to school was upset that another child had been calling them names. The student told police they brought the gun to campus in the hopes of scaring the alleged bully.
Allegations of bullying at Forest Hills have dominated discussion in the aftermath of the death of fifth-grader RaNiya Wright on March 27. Following the incident, multiple sources close to the school reached out to us alleging “systemic discipline problems” within this rural, low-income district – as well as specific issues related to those at the heart of this particular incident.
“Rather than expel her, they moved her to a different school, and made it clear that all involved were not to discuss that happening,” a source familiar with the situation told us.
It is not immediately clear which student our sources were referring to, however.
We were also informed of the existence of a “paper trail” involving one of the students allegedly involved in the altercation.
This week, Wright’s mother – Ashley Wright – gave an exclusive interview to ABC News in which she claimed to have complained “numerous times” about another fifth-grade girl alleged to have been involved in the altercation.
“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. “That’s what really breaks me down and makes me question to myself why nothing was never done up until now with this happening.”
“They failed me,” Wright added.
Details about what may have caused RaNiya Wright’s death have proven elusive. School officials have refused to provide any information, citing a pending law enforcement investigation into the matter.
All that is known so far is that Wright was discovered by paramedics in the school nurse’s office – unconscious – and transported to the Colleton Medical Center. Shortly thereafter, she was airlifted to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) given the extent of her injuries.
Wright died two days later at MUSC having never regained consciousness.
No other information has been provided about the incident, although the school has acknowledged that another student has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.
“We realize and appreciate that people want to know exactly what happened in this incident,” a statement from the district issued last Wednesday noted, however it added that there would be no public comment prior to the completion of a “thorough investigation, relying on all of the facts available.”
School officials have said they plan to issue a “full report” on the incident once Colleton County investigators have finished their work.
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