Students at a Wilmington, Delaware high school will return to school in mourning on Friday after a fight in a school bathroom left a 16-year-old student dead Thursday morning.
The teen, a sophomore from New Castle whose name has not been released, was involved in a fight with two fellow students Howard High School of Technology, which is part of the New Castle County Vocational Technical School District, about 8:15 a.m. that morning, school officials said. She suffered injuries serious enough that she had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital, where she later died with her parents by her side.
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Students from the school have said that they believe the fight was over a boy.
"A lot of families were destroyed today," Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams said.
City spokeswoman Alexandra Coppadge said there was a confrontation in the women's restroom at Howard High.
"Several female students were involved in a physical altercation at approximately 8:15 a.m. this morning, in a main floor girls bathroom, just at the time classes began for the day," the school district said in a statement hours after the attack.
Police said in a statement that officers were called to the high school around 8:20 a.m. Later Thursday afternoon, police said a school resource officer called EMS at 8:18 a.m. for a student with head and stomach pain, and within minutes, the call became a CPR in progress.
Police said the girl had been flown to A.I. DuPont Children's Hospital in critical condition.
An autopsy will be performed Friday and the investigation into the cause of death remains open.
Students who knew about the fight said it stemmed from a dispute over a boy.
Shauntea Bellamy cried as he sat outside the school after learning of the student's death. He worked with her as part of youth outreach programs and said she was set to volunteer in a summer program he organizes.
"It hurts when you know her personally and she's not one of my students who are out there in the streets like that," he said.
Williams said police were interviewing suspects Thursday evening, but didn't elaborate about whether arrests would be made.
State agencies will help provide support for those affected by the tragedy, Gov. Jack Markell said in a statement.
Students were surprised to hear about the girl's death saying the school is not known for being a trouble spot. Records show there have been 14 reported fights there last school year. Williams called the fight an isolated incident.
School was dismissed Thursday and officials had not determined yet whether classes would be held Friday, officials said.
Friends of the girl held a vigil in her memory outside the school Thursday night.
A mayoral debate on public safety scheduled to take place at the school Thursday night was canceled. Students will return to school on Friday.