A tenth-grade girl died Thursday, April 21, from injuries sustained during a fight in a bathroom of a Delaware high school. The 16-year-old girl, who attended Wilmington’s Howard High School of Technology, was involved in a “physical altercation” with a “few female students” on Thursday morning. After the fight, she was airlifted to the hospital where she died.
Police are investigating and, according to school officials, two other girls are being questioned by the Wilmington Police. A cause of death has yet to be determined, but a student who witnessed the attack told Philadelphia’s WPVI-TV that the fight was over a boy:
“She was fighting a girl, and then that’s when all these other girls started banking her — like jumping her — and she hit her head on the sink.”
At a vigil this morning, friends said that the victim, identified on social media memorial pages as Amy Joyner-Francis, was “quiet” and known for diffusing fights. A friend told The News Journal that he didn’t believe Joyner-Francis entered the bathroom with the intention of fighting, “She went in there to talk things out,” he said. Mourners also shared memories of Joyner-Francis on a Facebook page dedicated to her memory, as well as the Twitter hashtag #RIPAmy.
In a news conference, city and school officials were visibly upset by Joyner-Francis’ death. “This is a tragic time that we come before you,” Dennis Williams, the mayor of Wilmington, said, holding back tears, “My heart is broken.” He continued:
“I am so upset that a young lady lost her life today. Things like this shouldn’t happen. My heart bleeds for the family, the kids who go to this school, and the administrators and our city.”
According to The News Journal, there were seven violent felonies at the high school last year; Joyner-Francis’ death is the first of its kind at the school, a student said. City Councilman Nnamdi Chukwuocha told the paper that the community wasn’t doing enough to the impact of violence on girls’ lives: “We need to address the needs of the young women. As of right now, I don’t think we’re doing that.”
Image of vigil for Amy Joyner-Francis via Facebook.