Police are investigating the apparent suicide of a 9-year-old girl in Alabama. McKenzie Adams was found dead on December 3 by her grandmother after she hanged herself in her home in Linden, according to reports.
Adams was bullied by classmates, and taunted over her friendship with a white boy, the girl’s family said. The girl was a fourth-grade student at U.S. Jones elementary school in the town of Demopolis.
Adams’ death is the second such tragedy in Alabama in as many months. Another Alabama 9-year-old hanged herself in November. Her parents blamed bullying combined with suicidal thoughts, prompted by medication.
Bullied by classmates
McKenzie Adams’ mother said that her daughter had repeatedly told her teachers and assistant principal that she was being bullied by classmates. “She told me that this one particular child was writing her nasty notes in class. It was just things you wouldn’t think a 9-year-old should know. And my baby, to tell me some of the things they had said to her, I was like where are they learning this from,” Jasmine Adams recalled.
Adams noted that her daughter rode to school every day with a white family friend, and insisted that race was a significant factor in the bullying her daughter received.
“Part of it could have been because she rode to school with a white family. And a lot of it was race, some of the student bullies would say to her ‘why you riding with white people your black, your ugly. You should just die,'” she said.
Adams also said she felt that the school system had failed both her and her daughter by not addressing the situation.
However, WIAT reported that while the school system had offered condolences over the death, they denied ever receiving any reports about bullying. “There have been no findings of any reports of bullying by either the student or family,” the school said, citing an internal investigation. The Linden police department investigation is still ongoing.
The reports of bullying were echoed by the girl’s aunt, Eddwina Harris, a TV host in Atlanta who now plans to use her platform to speak out against childhood bullying. Harris revealed to the Tuscaloosa News that the girl had been transferred to the school in Demopolis after she had experienced similar bullying at the school in her hometown of Linden.
“She was being bullied the entire school year, with words such as ‘kill yourself,’ ‘you think you’re white because you ride with that white boy,’ ‘you ugly,’ ‘black b****,’ ‘just die’,” explained Harris.
“It’s an emotional roller-coaster,” she said of McKenzie’s death. “God has blessed me to help others with my platform, and now it’s time to help. There are so many voiceless kids. God is opening great doors for justice for my niece.”
If you or someone you know are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for free, anonymous counseling.