Bullying can sometimes have tragic consequences for those on the receiving end. Such was the case when 9-year-old McKenzie Adams, from Demopolis, Alabama, did the unthinkable and took her own life.
According to her mother, Jasmine Adams, the child made that irreversible decision due to being subjected to cruel taunts while at school. Her aunt, Eddwina Harris, wants to raise awareness on the impact bullying can have.
Little McKenzie was a fourth-grade student at the US Jones Elementary School. According to her mother in an interview with CBS This Morning, she was a “happy” and “joyful” child. But unfortunately, as her mother said, she was a constant target for bullies at school.
“There were children picking on her, I think a lot of it stemmed from, she rode to and from school with a little white boy. It was like her best friend,” Jasmine explains.
In an interview with WIAT-TV, Jasmine stated that a lot of the bullying was racial. “And a lot of it was race, some of the student bullies would say to her why you riding with white people your [sic] black, your [sic] ugly. You should just die.”
Jones Elementary was McKenzie’s second school, as she had to move due to bullying. Unfortunately, it didn’t help, and the cruelty continued. Nothing could have prepared her grandmother for what she found on Dec. 3, 2018.
As Harris, the girl’s aunt, explained to PEOPLE, “Something happened that day from one of these bullies that pushed my niece over to the edge.
“She went to the bathroom, and the door was locked. [Her grandmother] said, ‘Unlock the door. What are you doing?’” Harris continues. Her grandmother then opened the door with a butter knife and called 911.
While medics tried to revive her, the child was pronounced dead upon arrival at Bryan W Whitfield Memorial Hospital, Harris says.
In a heart-wrenching interview with CBS, Jasmine addressed the school administration directly and said, “You have my child 8 hours a day. So that means that we have to trust you to do the right thing when it comes to the safety of my child. And they didn’t do that. They didn’t do it. And it hurts.”
While the incident was investigated by Demopolis and Linden Police Department in cooperation with the school district, in a press release, the Demopolis City School System claimed that “There has been no findings of any reports of bullying by either the student or family.”
Jasmine found that disappointing. “I don’t know why they would say they knew nothing about it, but they did,” she said, as per CBS This Morning.
“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,” she explains. Harris said she is hopeful that her raising awareness on such important issues will help other children who feel hopeless.
Within days of the little girl’s tragic death, a friend of the family posted on Facebook that they were selling buttons with McKenzie’s photo on them. They intended the proceeds to go to the Kenzie Foundation.
Stories like this are heartbreaking to learn but also serve as important reminders of how impactful bullying can be, especially when it’s directed at young minds—and how it can affect even the life of someone as promising as McKenzie was.