Girl, 16, Killed in High School Bathroom Assault: 'She Went In There to Talk Things Out'
A Delaware teenager known as the peacemaker among her friends died after she was assaulted at her high school on Thursday.
The 16-year-old girl, identified by loved ones as Amy Anita Joyner-Francis, went into one of the bathrooms at Wilmington’s Howard High School of Technology to “settle” an issue with another group of girls, around 8 a.m., according to reports.
The confrontation became violent and Joyner-Francis reportedly banged her head on a sink, a girl who said she witnessed the incident told WPVI-TV.
The tenth grader was airlifted in critical condition to A.I. DuPont Children’s Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, officials said.
“My heart is broken,” Mayor Dennis Williams said as he choked up during a press conference on Thursday. “I’m so upset that the young lady lost her life today. Things like this shouldn’t happen.
"My heart bleeds for the family, the kids that go to this school, administrators and our city."
Loved ones were at a loss after the death of Joyner-Francis, who they remembered as a level-headed and academically minded girl.
Sonny Francis, the teen's father, told WTXF-TV his daughter was a great student and a loving teenager who was into fashion and was very close with her family.
He said she was especially her mother, who dropped her off at school this morning not knowing she would never see her daughter again.
"I think this is a dream and I'm trying to wake up," he tearfully told WTXF-TV. "All I know is that my daughter's gone, and she was the love of my life, and it hurts."
Focused on attending college, the teen encouraged her friends to rise above petty drama, friends said.
“She never would beef with no other girls or none of that,” Capone Whyte, who went to school with Joyner-Francis, told WXIA-TV.
“She didn’t believe in fighting, and the craziest thing is she died in a fight,” Nik Stryminski told the station, saying that Joyner-Francis had kept him out of a fight earlier this year.
Stryminski said he thought his friend went into the bathroom to diffuse the situation, adding: “She went in there to talk things out.”
Joyner-Francis’ social media presence reflected such a mindset, pinning a tweet to the top of her Twitter page that read: “I really wish I hadn't stuck by some ppl through all the bs they put me through because I swear that s*** wasn't even worth it in the end.”
It was unclear what occurred during the fight, which friends denied was about a boy.
An autopsy will determine cause of death.
Two female students were taken to police headquarters for questioning and several witnesses were being interviewed Thursday, Police Chief Bobby Cummings told reporters.
No charges have been announced.
Seven violent felonies were reported last year at Howard High School of Technology, The News-Journal reported.