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Take Kids Seriously

Shivani Tripathi

Posted on April 10, 2019 18:58

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A fifth grader was recently killed in a fight with another student who had been bullying her for years. If school authorities had stepped in earlier, the tragedy may not have occurred.

In late March, a fifth grader named Raniya Wright was killed in “classroom fight with another student.” Exact details surrounding the altercation have not been yet released, but the tragedy was the culmination of years of bullying.

    Ashley Wright, the victim’s mother, revealed yesterday that she had spoken to school officials on multiple occasions about her daughter’s plight. However, nobody did any countermeasure on the ongoing harassment. “I'd normally call and talk to her teacher about it, and she would say, 'Well, Raniya never said anything to me about it.' And I would say, 'Well, I'm letting you know she comes home to me about it every day,' and I'm leaving it in [the teacher’s] hands to do something about it," Wright said.

    During the weeks leading up to the fatal dispute, Raniya had been “reluctant” to go to school. According to Ashley, the teacher neither reached out to her daughter nor did she confront the bullies.

    Ranya Wright’s story is yet another example of the devastation that arises when children’s experiences are trivialized. Despite the mother’s complaints, school officials likely dismissed the bullying as a frivolous catfight. What else does society expect from elementary school girls, anyway?

Such inaction allows bullying-- whether it be verbal, physical, or digital-- run rampant. While most cases do not result in death, harassment and social isolation can scar kids for life.

Schools are responsible for fostering a safe and healthy environment for students. Children need to learn resilience, but there comes a point when adult intervention is necessary. Upon hearing the mother’s concerns, the teacher should have talked to the girls immediately. Had she done something to defuse the situation, Raniya would still be alive.

Many young people’s reluctance to ask adults for help can be attributed to the refrain we’ve heard our whole lives: “Kids nowadays are so spoiled and immature. They have no ‘real’ problems to be upset about. It’s all a cry for attention. Back in my day, kids weren’t so soft.” Sounds familiar?

It’s disappointing how many school officials have internalized these messages. Or, maybe they are aware of the gravity of these issues and simply don’t care. In any case, it is my sincere hope that Raniya Wright gets justice-- by holding the bully accountable, along with those on top who did nothing while she suffered.

Shivani Tripathi

Posted on April 10, 2019 18:58

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Source: NYT

A memorial for Raniya Wright at her elementary school in Walterboro, S.C., on Thursday. Raniya, 10, died two days after being...

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