A nine-year-old black girl from Alabama, who was allegedly bullied by her fourth-grade classmates for being friends with a white family, committed suicide.
On December 9, McKenzie Adams was found by her grandmother after she hanged herself, the Tuscaloosa News reported. McKenzie attended U.S. Jones Elementary School in Demopolis after transferring from her elementary school in Linden where her mother and grandmother said she had been bullied. Her mother, Jasmine Adams, and her grandmother complained to the State Board of Education about the bullying McKenzie was experiencing, which allegedly continued at her new school.
Jasmine Adams told CBS 42, "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? … 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? You’re black; you’re ugly. You should just die.’”
McKenzie's aunt, Eddwina Harris, a television host in Atlanta, told the Tuscaloosa News, “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-tch,' 'Just die.’’’
Adams was angry at the school system, stating that her daughter had informed her teachers and her assistant principal numerous times that she was being bullied. She said, “I just felt that our trust was in them that they would do the right thing. It feels like to me it wasn't it wasn't done.” Demopolis schools' attorney Alex Brasswell issued a statement saying, “We are working fully with the Demopolis and Linden police department. They are doing a joint investigation of these allegations. We are cooperating fully and I can't comment on any of the aspects of the investigation until they conclude it."
Harris described McKenzie as a girl who loved the beach, the zoo and had dreams of being a scientist in the future. She said she will use her status as a television host to help other children who have been bullied, asserting, “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.”
Brasswell stated, "Certainly our hearts goes out to the family and friends of Mckenzie and her fellow students as well as her teachers. Demopolis school system has provided grief councilors and crisis councilors at the school since this and ministers and youth ministers have been at the campus since the date of this incident. And we certainly want to extend those services to any students and teachers on our campus as they go through this healing process.”
Funeral services for Mckenzie, who was described as a straight-A student, were held at her school.