An Alabama family is grieving the sudden loss of a young girl who took her life earlier this week.
McKenzie Adams’ family said the fourth-grader died by suicide after incessant bullying and taunting by her classmates, Tuscaloosa News reported. Adams, a fun-loving 9-year-old who enjoyed math and loved to make silly videos with her cousins, was found dead in her home by her grandmother on Dec. 3. She had hanged herself.
Eddwina Harris, the girl’s aunt, said it’s been an “emotional roller coaster.” The family was planning for a joyous Christmas holiday but are instead planning a funeral.
Harris told the Tuscaloosa News that much of the bullying her niece experienced stemmed from her friendship with a white classmate, which other students teased her about.
“She was being bullied by 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’,” Harris explained.
Adams, a student at U.S. Jones Elementary School, had experienced bullying at her previous school and transferred to Jones after her mother and grandmother complained to the State Board of Education.
On Facebook, Jasmine Adams, McKenzie’s mother, mourned her daughter and shared pictures of the two of them together.
“My world is gone … my first love #stopbullying #antibullying,” she wrote in a heartfelt post.
The Demopolis City School System issued a statement through its attorney this week saying that it is “cooperating with the Demopolis and Linden Police Departments in their joint investigation of this incident.”
“In response to the recent tragedy of the loss of a Demopolis City School System student, The Demopolis City School System does extend its heartfelt wishes and condolences to the family, friends, students and teachers that have been affected by this tragedy,” the district said in a statement to NBC News.
Adams’ death comes just weeks after another Alabama student, Madison “Maddie” Whittset, 9, also died after intentionally hanging herself in her bedroom closet. Whitsett’s parents believe bullying and side effects from her ADHD medication played a role in their daughter’s suicide.
In the wake of her niece’s death, Harris, who’s a TV personality in Atlanta, said she will use her platform to speak out against bullying and hopes her message will spare other families from experiencing a similar tragedy.
“God has blessed me to help others with my platform, and now it’s time to help,” she said. “There are so many voiceless kids. God is opening great doors for justice for my niece.”
Watch more in the clip below.