Community holds prayer vigil to honor 5th-grader who died after fight

State - Regional

WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCBD) – A message of unity was spread among several people at a prayer vigil Thursday night in honor of the fifth grade Colleton County student who died after a school fight. 

Hand-in-hand and on bended knee, a large crowd of people gathered at Pinckney Park Thursday after heartbreak echoed throughout the town.

HAPPENING NOW- A prayer vigil is taking place at Pinckney Park in honor of RaNiya Wright #chsnews@WCBD #scnews— Deanne Roberts (@DeanneWCBD) March 28, 2019

“To see this today is something beautiful,” Pastor and vigil attendee, Timika Vroscy said. 

It was a beautiful sight after a tragedy. Wednesday, RaNiya Wright, 10, died following a school fight at Forest Hills Elementary School, read more here. The community says the fight ensued because of bullying, and they want to see change. 

“We are going to love on these babies and let them know they are the generation,” Vroscy said. 

Some community members saying it’s going to take the help of parents to see that change. 

“Parents, we have to step up our game,” Tamika Allen said. “We have to hold ourselves more accountable, we have to teach our children at home.”

Several pastors spoke and prayed at the vigil. Community leaders, activists and state and local politicians attended the vigil as well. Poets and singers ministered through written and spoken melodies throughout the vigil. There were moments of sadness, tears shed, but most of all they smiled at the end. 

Hours before the vigil, the Colleton County School Board held a nearly three-hour-long closed-door meeting discussing the fight that took place at Forest Hills Elementary. Full story here

JUST IN- Colleton Co. School Board members just went into executive session after having a moment of silence for RaNiya Wright, saying the pledge and praying.

They will be discussing the school fight at Forest Hills Elementary that resulted in RaNiya’s death 
#chsnews@WCBD— Deanne Roberts (@DeanneWCBD) March 28, 2019


UPDATE- The Colleton Co. School Board is still in executive session

What happened so far:
• Media entered meeting at 1 p.m
• The board prayed, had a moment of silence for RaNiya Wright, said the pledge and entered executive session
• Media and the public had to leave #chsnews— Deanne Roberts (@DeanneWCBD) March 28, 2019

No cameras or witnesses were allowed inside of the meeting during the executive session. The Chairman emerged with a brief statement once the executive session was over, but gave no new details. 

“Due to the ongoing investigation and student privacy laws we can not share details at this time,” said chairman Tim Mabry. 

News 2 tried asking Mabry questions after the meeting, but he did not respond to any questions. Board member Harry Jenkins did respond to questions, however, with little to no information. 

“It’s an open investigation, that’s why we can’t comment on it,” Jenkins said. 

The community still wants answers. 

“They don’t have no type of respect for us,” Shawnya Mitchell, said. “They are expecting for us to let this go, but they have the wrong group of people, we will not let this go.”

The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office said they will release the incident report once the autopsy is completed. The autopsy is scheduled to be released Friday. 

Please check back for updates. 

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