School of Alabama Child Believed Tormented Into Suicide Disputes Family’s Account of Persistent Bullying

Illustration for article titled School of Alabama Child Believed Tormented Into Suicide Disputes Family’s Account of Persistent Bullying
Image: McKenzie Adams (Photo provided by family)

Edwinna Harris, aunt of nine-year-old McKenzie Nicole Adams, the Tuscaloosa, Ala., student whose apparent suicided has been blamed on racist bullying, is promoting a GoFundMe page to establish an organization to fight bullying.

The McKenzie Foundation, the page reads, “will serve as a source to stop the [bullying] nationwide.” On Facebook, she has endorsed the sale of $7 buttons bearing McKenzie’s likeness, with proceeds benefitting the #KenzieFoundation.


While Harris and other family members mourn their loss, McKenzie’s school, U.S. Jones Elementary, disputes their story.

“We have concluded our internal investigation to the allegations of bullying which led to this senseless death,” said Alex Braswell, attorney for the Demopolis City Board of Education. “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.”

When reached yesterday by the Washington Post, Linden Police Chief Robert Alston said his department was still looking into the details surrounding McKenzie’s death.

“We’ve talked to several officials at the school, and all of them said they have no official report of any bullying,” said Alston, who called McKenzie’s family “very good people,” adding he had no reason to doubt their version of events.


Alston has requested an autopsy from the Marengo County Coroner.

McKenzie’s mother Jasmine told a local CBS affiliate that her daughter had been receiving “nasty notes” from a classmate leading up to her death. It was just things you wouldn’t think a 9-year-old should know,” she said. Police have yet to zero in on any particular incident or classmate, citing the young ages of McKenzie’s peers.


“There’s resistance from parents who don’t want to get their kids caught up in this,” said Alston.

Contributing Editor. When he's not pullin' up, he's usually jumpin' out. You can find him in the cut.

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Hmmm, I know of kids that have been ruthlessly bullied and no reports were filed because people felt that nothing would be done. Sometimes families feel helpless in their own communities. Also, is this defensiveness I sense from other parents in the community? Not wanting their kid caught up? How about let’s find out IF the child WAS involved and not just circle the wagons and say, “not my kid”.