Amy Inita Joyner-Francis, 16, was by all accounts a quiet teenager who did not believe in fighting. Thursday morning, Joyner-Francis lost her life when a group of classmates, described as a “gang of bullies,” confronted her in a restroom at the Howard High School of Technology, a vocational school in Wilmington, Delaware.
Witnesses said the fight started over a boy. When it was over, one of the bullies slammed Amy’s head against the sink. She was later pronounced dead.
According to People on April 22, Wilmington police are questioning two students, but no charges have been filed. Wilmington Police Chief Bobby Cunningham told reporters that no weapons were used in the assault, which involved at least three other female students along with the victim.
The incident occurred at approximately 8:15 a.m. Thursday. Two hours later, the school was closed and robocalls were sent out to family members advising them to come pick up their children. Joyner-Francis was flown to the A.I. DuPont Children’s Hospital in critical condition, and was later pronounced dead. Her cause of death has not been released.
“I’m so upset that the young lady lost her life today,” commented Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams at a press conference Thursday. “Things like this shouldn’t happen. My heart bleeds for the family, the kids that go to this school, administrators and our city.”
Added school principal Stanley Spoor: “It is a tragic day for Howard High School. Our hearts go out to the family.”
According to KTLA.com, student Kayla Wilson was in one of the stalls when the altercation broke out. Initially, the argument was between Amy Inita Joyner-Francis and one other girl. When the fighting started, others ganged up on Amy. “She was fighting a girl, and then that’s when all these other girls started banking on her – like jumping her – and she hit her head on the sink,” Wilson said.
Wilmington city councilwoman Sherry Dorsey Walker spoke about the incident and the victim, stating she knows the family and was asked to speak on their behalf. Walker said the family is “asking people to just be calm and pray for them,” adding that Amy was “a wonderful human being,” and that “her loss is a big void, not just in the family.”
Fellow student Nik Stryminski spoke with the Delaware News-Journal, stating that Amy stepped up and broke up a fight earlier in the year between him and another boy. “She didn’t believe in fighting, and the craziest thing is she died in a fight,” Stryminski said, adding that he believes Amy went into the bathroom to “talk things out.”
The social media hashtag #RIPAmy is trending as several people across the nation are speaking out about the senseless, bullying death of Amy Inita Joyner-Francis.