9-year-old girl commits suicide over racist bullying, family says
Family members of a nine-year-old black girl say she took her own life after enduring vicious, racially-motivated bullying at two separate schools.
On Dec. 3, McKenzie Adams' grandmother, Janice Adams, discovered the 4th-grader's lifeless body in their Alabama home, according to Tuscaloosa News. The child had reportedly hanged herself.
"Instead of shopping for Christmas, we’re picking out caskets for my nine-year-old," Adams told ABC News.
Eddwina Harris, McKenzie's aunt, said that her niece's suicide was the result of months of harassment from other students at U.S. Jones Elementary School stemming from her friendship with a white boy named Harris, who she often carpooled with.
"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***h,' 'just die,'” Harris told Tuscaloosa News.
McKenzie's mother, Jasmine Adams, said she transferred her daughter to Jones Elementary in Demopolis, Ala., after complaining to the State Board of Education that McKenzie was being bullied at her previous school, Linden Elementary School in Linden, Ala.
Tim Thurman, superintendent of Linden City Schools, disputed Adams' claims, saying he could not verify reports of McKenzie being bullied during her time at Linden Elementary.
Alex Baswell, attorney for Demopolis City Schools, released a similar statement, denying that any reports of bullying were made by either McKenzie or her family at Jones Elementary:
"We have concluded our internal investigation to the allegations of bullying which led to this senseless death. There have been no findings of any reports of bullying by either the student or family. The findings of this internal investigation are consistent with the results of the investigation of the Linden Police Department at this point in time. The Linden Police Department investigation is still pending."
Linden Police Chief Robert Alston told ABC News that they are investigating the conflicting accounts coming from the girl's family members and from school officials.
McKenzie's relatives remember her as a bright, outgoing young girl who was interested in math and wanted to become a scientist. A GoFundMe page has been started to create a foundation in McKenzie's name that would aim to fight bullying and help victims seek help.