Federal lawsuit filed over Alabama girl’s 2018 suicide

Mckenzie Adams took her own life, her family says, after school officials failed to stop a classmate’s bullying
McKenzie Adams
McKenzie Adams(Source: Family)
Updated: Jan. 16, 2020 at 1:24 PM CST
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SELMA, Ala. (WSFA) - A federal lawsuit has been filed by the family of Mckenzie Adams, a 9-year-old west Alabama girl whose 2018 suicide made national headlines. The suit was brought on behalf of Mckenzie’s mother and grandmother, Jasmine and Janice Adams.

Mckenzie, a fourth-grade student at U.S. Jones Elementary School in Demopolis, is said to have taken her own life in Dec. 2018 at her grandmother’s home after being the victim of ongoing bullying. Her family contends the bullying continued despite concerns being raised with school officials.

In the month after Mckenzie’s death, law enforcement said they could not find any evidence to back up the bullying allegations and closed their investigation.

More than a year later, a lawsuit alleges the defendants “exhibited deliberate and blatant indifference to the wrongful persistent bullying and harassment, rife with racial and gender-based slurs, imparted upon Mckenzie by a boy who was her classmate.”

Defendants named in the complaint include U.S. Jones Elementary School, the Demopolis City School system, DCS Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff, Principal Tori Infinger, Assistant Principal Tracy Stewart, and teacher Gloria Mims.

“The Demopolis City Board of Education has only recently learned of a lawsuit filed against them on behalf of Mckenise Adams,” said a statement provided by the school system’s attorney, Alex Braswell. “While we are not permitted to discuss pending litigation, the Demopolis Board of Education can say that we look forward to defending this case and dispelling the allegations made therein.”

The suit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, in Selma, by the law firm Grant & Eisenhofer. The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages in a jury trial.

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