The lawsuit claims administrators and teachers at U.S. Jones Elementary School in Demopolis, AL showed “deliberate and blatant indifference” to the bullying McKenzie Adams endured before she killed herself at her grandmother’s home in December 2018.
One white boy in particular taunted the black girl with “racial and gender based slurs,” the lawsuit said, but McKenzie wrote in her diary that another boy also harassed her. The child, her mother and her grandmother all complained but the suit claims school officials did nothing to stop the bullying. Instead, the lawsuit claims a teacher told McKenzie to “tell it to the wall because I do not want to hear it.” Rather than punishing the main bully, the teacher disciplined the girl for telling on him, the lawsuit claims. The boy who bothered McKenzie the most told her to kill herself, instructed her how to do it and said she would be “better off dead” the day she took her life, the lawsuit said. The suit did not name the alleged bully. The girl’s mother, Jasmine Adams, is listed as a plaintiff along with the child’s grandmother, Janice Adams.
Filed in U.S. District Court in Mobile, the complaint accuses school officials of failing to follow state and federal law meant to guard against bullying. “The ultimate consequence of this lack of interest and empathy was the tragic death of a 9-year-old,” Diandra Debrosse Zimmerman of Birmingham, the family’s lead attorney, said in a statement.
The suit seeks an unspecified amount of money. A lawyer for the Demopolis city school system, which was named in the lawsuit along with Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff, two elementary administrators and a teacher, did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Demopolis is located in rural western Alabama about 110 miles (177 kilometers) southwest of Birmingham.
By Jay Reeves | January 24, 2020 | Claims Journal