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Elementary school where fight led to death of 5th grader earned ‘unsatisfactory’ school report card rating

Forest Hills Elementary School is located in Walterboro. (Source: Live 5)
Forest Hills Elementary School is located in Walterboro. (Source: Live 5)
Published: Mar. 28, 2019 at 4:48 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Walterboro elementary school in which a reported fight between two students led to the death of a 10-year-old girl earned a failing grade, according to a school report.

Forest Hills Elementary School earned a rating of “Unsatisfactory” for the 2017-2018 year, the most recent year available, according to SCReportCards.com, a website linked from the South Carolina Department of Education’s main website.

The school earned a 29 score out of a possible 100.

The site indicates a school can achieve a score from 100 down to as low as 61 and still be considered “excellent,” the highest rating. A school scoring between 53 to 60 points is considered “good.” “Average” scores fall between 42 and 52 points, while “below average” schools earn scores between 34 and 41 points.

“Unsatisfactory” schools are those scoring 33 points or less.

According to the site, a product of the South Carolina Department of Education, that rating means that the school’s performance “fails to meet the criteria to ensure all students meet the profile of the South Carolina graduate.”

In terms of academics, the report card rated the school “below average” in academic achievement, preparing for success and student progress.

For school environment, Forest Hills Elementary ranked “unsatisfactory” in school quality.

The report did not provide a rating for school safety, but listed four incidents of threats of physical attack not involving weapons for the 2017-2018 time frame.

A survey of teachers found that 93.1 percent said they felt safe before and after school hours and 89.7 percent said the rules for behavior are enforced there.

A survey of parents found 82.6 percent claimed their child feels safe at school. But only 47.8 said they felt their child’s teachers or school staff prevent or stop bullying at school.

The report showed the enrollment at the school at 667 for students in first through fifth grade.

Colleton County deputies responded to the school Monday afternoon for a reported fight. One student, 10-year-old RaNiya Wright, was airlifted from the school to MUSC in Charleston where she died Wednesday morning.

Authorities have not released details about the incident because the investigation is ongoing.

The Colleton County School Board held a special meeting Thursday afternoon so that board members could be briefed about the incident in executive session. After the meeting, the board’s chairman and the district’s superintendent read prepared statements but did not answer questions.

The Colleton County coroner has scheduled an autopsy for Wright Friday morning and deputies are expected to release more information after the autopsy is complete.

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