A family in Tuscaloosa, Alabama are mourning the death of their beloved little one, nine-year-old McKenzie Nicole Adams, a vivacious kid who wanted to grow up to be a scientist. The U.S. Jones Elementary School student took her own life after her family says she was bullied and taunted with racist remarks by her peers.
McKenzie was in the fourth grade, a time when children challenge both authority and each other. However, parents and educators are in place to make sure that all children in those environments are able to feel safe and protected. According to McKenzie’s aunt, Edwina Harris, the young girl struggled for “the entire school year” with words that you wouldn’t wish on anyone, especially a nine-year-old innocent child.
Edwina told Tuscaloosa News that the harassment began after McKenzie transferred to the school and she and another boy became friends.
“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,'” Edwina said.
Jasmine Adams, McKenzie’s mother, told a Birmingham news station that McKenzie regularly reported her experiences to her teachers and the school’s administration, including the assistant principal. However, the chiding continued.
“She told me that this one particular child was writing her nasty notes in class. It was just things you wouldn’t think a nine-year-old should know,” Jasmine said. “And my baby, to tell me some of the things they had said to her, I was like, ‘Where are they learning this from?'”
“I just felt that our trust was in them that they would do the right thing,” Jasmine continued, “And it feels like to me it wasn’t. It wasn’t done.”
McKenzie’s grandmother was the one to find her body after the nine-year-old hanged herself in her home.
An attorney for the school, Alex Brasswell, gave his condolences but certainly didn’t speak about the responsibility of the institution (or the students who bullied McKenzie).
“Certainly our hearts [sic] goes out to the family and friends of McKenzie and her fellow students as well as her teachers,” Brasswell said. “Demopolis school system has provided grief counselors and crisis counselors at the school, 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.”
A memorial service will be held at the school.
My deepest condolences to McKenzie’s loved ones. If you or anyone you know is being bullied, please visit StopBullying.gov for information on how to proceed.
May this beautiful girl rest in power. She was our sister, and her life mattered.