WILMINGTON, Del. — A teenage girl died on Thursday after being beaten in the restroom of a Delaware high school.
According to reports, the incident took place at the Howard High School of Technology shortly before the start of the school day. Students report that the 16-year-old, Amy Inita Joyner-Francis, was arguing with another girl in the restroom when she was jumped by others.
“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,” Kayla Wilson said.
Some students recorded the incident on their cell phones.
Two of Joyner-Francis’ friends told the Delaware News-Journal that she had told them the night before that she was going to the restroom to “settle the beef.” Some reports state that the argument was over a boy, but the girl’s friends state it was not.
Paramedics were called and the teen was taken out on a stretcher and transported via helicopter to A.I. duPont Hospital for Children. Found in critical condition upon arrival, Joyner-Francis died of her injuries at the hospital.
Classes dismissed early on Thursday because of the incident.
“This not a young lady who was involved in street activity,” Councilwoman Sherry Dorsey Walker, who is serving as a spokesperson for the family, told reporters. “This is an honor roll student, manager of the wrestling team, whose mother and father were very engaged in her life, as well as her siblings.”
A vigil was held outside of the school Thursday night, where some expressed frustration over the violence that plagues the community and that none intervened to stop the fatal beating.
“That little girl got beat up inside of a bathroom,” activist Malcom Coley lamented, according to local television station WPVI. “How many of y’all stopped it? Did anybody stop it?”
Some also prayed and sang spiritual songs as they cried out to Jesus.
Mayor Dennis Williams was noticeably shaken over the news as he held a press conference over the matter. He held back tears as he provided a brief statement.
“I’m so upset that the young lady lost her life today. Things like this shouldn’t happen,” Willams said. “My heart bleeds for the family, the kids that go to this school, administrators and our city.”
Attorney General Matt Denn also expressed his disappointment over the incident.
“I’ve dealt with the details of a couple of dozen homicides, and they’re all tragedies,” Denn said. “But the brutal beating death of a child, allegedly at the hands of another child, in a school is shocking even to those of us whose daily work involves dealing with the aftermath of violence.”
City Councilman Nnamdi Chukwuocha told reporters that community leaders need to do more to reach young women as fights among female youth are not uncommon.
“Some of the worst fights I’ve seen in the community have been with the females,” she said. “We need to address the needs of the young women. As of right now, I don’t think we’re doing that.”