Girl, 9, takes her own life after bullying
THE family of a nine-year-old girl black girl who took her own life in a tiny town in America's deep south last week say she was the target of racist taunts and bullying by classmates.
McKenzie Adams' lifeless body was found by her grandmother in the bedroom of her Linden, Alabama home on December 3. News.com.au has chosen not to reveal how she killed herself.
Breaking the family's silence yesterday, McKenzie's aunt Eddwina Harris said the fourth grader had been the victim of a year-long bullying campaign at US Jones Elementary School.
Ms Harris said classmates had taunted McKenzie daily about her friendship with a white boy and had allegedly urged her to commit suicide.
"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**ch,' 'just die'," Ms Harris told The Columbus Dispatch.
Her aunt said McKenzie had transferred to US Jones Elementary 12 months ago after her mother and grandmother complained to the State Board of Education that she was being bullied at her previous school.
McKenzie was described as a happy, outgoing child who excelled at maths and wanted to be a scientist when she grew up.
Her favourite places were the beach and the zoo and she loved playing video games and making funny home videos with her cousins, according to her aunt.
Ms Harris, who is a television presenter in Atlanta, said she wanted to use her platform to prevent similar tragedies from playing out in other schools.
"There are so many voiceless kids," she said. "God is opening great doors for justice for my niece."
Hundreds of people are expected to attend her funeral, which will be held on December 15 in the town of Demopolis, where McKenzie studied.
US Jones Elementary School, whose motto is "Where hope begins and dreams come true", has not commented on the child's death or the bullying allegations.
Child suicide is a growing problem worldwide.
Earlier this year, 14-year-old Amy "Dolly" Everett, the former face of iconic Australian brand Akubra, killed herself after years of bullying at her Queensland boarding school.
Her parents Kate and Tick started a national anti-bullying campaign ensure their daughter's "would not be wasted".