McKenzie Adams, a nine-year-old girl from Linden, Alabama, has taken her own life. Her family has laid the blame squarely at the feet of racism and bullying.
Eddwina Harris, McKenzie's aunt, told Tuscaloosa News that the girl was bullied for her friendship with a white boy. Adams' grandmother found the young girl dead by suicide Monday night.
Harris was quoted saying:
"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-tch,' 'just die'."
The story is heartbreaking.
The family says the girl had been bullied at Linden Elementary before they transferred her.
However, the school district refuted the claim.
"There is no record of any bullying during that time and there's no note as to why she withdrew."
Superintendent Timothy Thurman said:
"She transferred to U.S. Jones Elementary School in Demopolis and she's been there ever since."
This doesn't provide evidence of bullying, nor does it prove she wasn't bullied.
It just leaves us with more questions.
Harris is a television host in Atlanta and wants to use her show to help prevent bullying.
"God has blessed me to help others with my platform, and now it's time to help. There are so many voiceless kids."
It is important to talk to your children about bullying, and equally important to keep an eye out for the warning signs. The CDC reports an increase of suicide rates of 30% since 1999.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go here to chat with someone online right now.