As I’m sure most of America has heard, the Delaware Department of Justice filed charges against three teenagers involved in Amy Joyner-Francis’ murder two and a half weeks ago at Howard High School of Technology. There is absolutely no mention of Amy’s head being slammed into the bathroom sink even though some reports stated that at the onset. Only one girl, Trinity Carr, actually hit Amy. She has been charged with criminally-negligent homicide. The other two helped plan the assault up to twenty hours earlier. But the true shocker was that Amy had a pre-existing heart condition.
According to the News Journal article linked above:
Investigators determined that the fight was a planned confrontation in the girl’s bathroom, but only one girl – 16-year-old Trinity Carr – actually hit Amy that day, according to a statement by the DOJ. The fight was filmed, according to court documents, and shows Carr hitting Amy repeatedly in the head and torso area with “what what appears to be a closed fist.”
The video then shows Carr leave and Amy attempt to stand up from the floor, according to court documents. Amy then appears disoriented, court papers say, and collapses back to the floor. When paramedics found her, she was unresponsive and went into cardiac arrest shortly after.
Knowing what really happened won’t take away the pain and sadness surrounding all this. It won’t bring back Amy who apparently didn’t know this was coming. Just a sweet, innocent teenage girl going to school one day. The question is how many others knew about it. I am still upset no one else in that bathroom intervened. I’m assuming her heart condition was private as that has never been mentioned before. If the intent was there to do bodily harm to Amy, what did Carr think would happen? While they may not have planned actual murder, how is this “criminally negligent”? Our justice systems works in funny ways. Why did it take two and a half weeks when the police had the video the entire time to arrest Carr? At the very least, the evidence clearly shows an assault.
Trinity Carr, Zion Snow, and Chakeira Wright will have to live with what they did every single day for the rest of their life. Carr will most likely spend what should be some of the best years of her life in prison. Snow and Wright will probably be in juvenile detention while their classmates are going to the prom and graduating. But no amount of justice will ever make any of this alright. Amy will never have the opportunity for any of those things. I really hope this is a wake-up call for all of us in Delaware. We need to make sure this never happens again, and that includes the adults.
Tim Furlong with NBC Philadelphia gave a bit more detail about what happened after the fight:
After the fight, Joyner-Francis complained about head and chest pain. A school resource officer called 911 and Joyner-Francis lost consciousness before medics arrived. CPR was performed as she was flown to a nearby children’s hospital. She later died at the hospital.
Where was this school resource officer during the fight? I understand fights can happen fast, but where were any adults during this assault? That is the question no one is asking. I challenged the district about this a couple of weeks ago. It was important to clarify their board meeting change, but in regards to my other concerns, they completely ignored them. Last week I saw the Superintendent of the district for Howard High School, Dr. Gehrt. She knows who I am cause I’ve seen her at many meetings where I gave public comment. I saw her at the assessment inventory meeting at the Delaware DOE. Usually she gives me a smile. At this meeting, she could only scowl at me. I’ll take my lumps where I get them. But at least own up to… something.
Amy’s death affected me immensely, and I didn’t even know the poor girl. She is a memorial to what we need to fix in our schools. We can’t stop what happens outside of school, but we can make sure Amy’s death is a living testament to change. I haven’t heard one word about school climate from those in power. We have seen plenty in social media comments, but once again it is an empty echo chamber from the decision-makers in our state. Our legislators have been strangely quiet on the issue. The Delaware DOE, the State Board of Education, and Governor Markell have been eerily quiet about the situation. Perhaps things will start to happen now that the investigation is over and charges have been filed. All I know is something has to happen. We can’t have another Amy, or all the many living victims of bullying and assault in our schools. It has to stop.