The suicide of a once “joyful” 9-year-old girl — and claims that her death was spurred by racially-motivated bullying — has sent a shockwave through the small town of Linden, Alabama. Mackenzie Adams, a strong math student with dreams of becoming a scientist, hanged herself in the family home after enduring what her relatives described as repeated harassment from classmates who allegedly called her the n-word and tormented her over her friendship with a white boy.
“My baby she was happy. She was joyful. She’d walk in the room, and her eyes would just brighten up the room,” recalled Mackenzie’s mother, Jasmine Adams, in an interview with CBS News. “There were children picking on her. I think a lot of it stemmed from her riding to and from school with a little white boy. He was like her best friend.”
At least one boy that she knew of, she added, would torment her daughter with cruel notes and comments which included calling her “the n-word and the b-word.” Adams said that she and her daughter both spoke to teachers and school officials in an attempt to alleviate the bullying from her classmates. But in the wake of her suicide, she said, the school had begun denying any knowledge of the abuse her daughter endured. In a statement given to The Tuscaloosa News, Alex Braswell, a lawyer for the Demopolis City Board of Education, said that the school’s independent investigation had shown no evidence of “reports of bullying by either the student or family.”
The school’s denial, Adams told CBS News, only added to her confusion and pain.
“You have my child eight hours a day. So that means we have to trust you when it comes to the safety of my child. They didn’t do it, and it hurts,” she said, tears coming to her eyes. “I don’t know why they would say they knew nothing about it. But they did.”
Watch video coverage of the story from CBS News below.
Read the full story at The Washington Post.