The circumstances surrounding the encounter are still unclear, though authorities said no weapons were involved and no criminal charges have been filed in the case. The incident is still under investigation and an autopsy is scheduled for Friday to determine the cause and manner of death, police said.
Officials with the Colleton County School District described Raniya, 10, as “a wonderful student” who enjoyed writing, playing basketball and spending time with friends.
“Our community has suffered a tremendous loss,” the school district said in a statement Wednesday. The district said it is “deeply saddened” by the student’s death. “We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family. Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with this family in the difficult days ahead.”
The incident occurred Monday afternoon in a classroom at Forest Hills Elementary. Authorities and school district officials said that Raniya and another fifth-grade student got into a physical altercation but did not say what the students were arguing about or how Raniya was injured during the fight.
District officials said school staff members stopped the fight and dialed 911.
Authorities responded to a call about a student who had “collapsed” and when they arrived, Raniya was at the nurse’s station, unconscious but still breathing, according to an incident report from the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office. She was transported by helicopter to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, where she later died.
The other student has been suspended pending the investigating, officials said.
Following Raniya’s death, William Bowman Jr., a Colleton County school board member, told CBS affiliate WCSC the community is in mourning.
“It’s heartbreaking to see something like this happen in our schools,” Bowman said.
He told the station that during his time on the board, “We’ve never had an incident of this magnitude that has occurred in our school district. It’s been very tragic to all of our community, it’s been very devastating to all members of our community.”