A young girl committed suicide, reportedly after relentless bullying at her Alabama elementary school and according to her stepfather, her ADHD medication may have been connected to the incident.
AL.com reports that 9-year-old Madison “Maddie” Whittsett, hanged herself in her bedroom on Friday, at her family home in Birmingham. On Monday, while at the Children’s of Alabama hospital, she was pronounced dead.
According to authorities, when Maddie arrived home from school on Friday, she was supposed to go with mom, Eugenia Williams, to a Chick-fil-A restaurant. She seemed excited, even running around the house while screaming with excitement.
Alabama fourth grader takes her own life after being bullied https://t.co/I54RuagEuo
Heartbreaking… 4th-grader Maddie Whitsett now sadly serves as a reminder to all parents: Teach your children not to bully others and look for warning signs that suggest your child is a victim pic.twitter.com/XVJ44U3Ky5
— Local 12/WKRC-TV (@Local12) November 14, 2018
“Maddie loved Chick-fil-A and she was running through the house,’’ her stepfather, Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service Lt. Jimmie Williams, said.
Eugenia Williams called out for her daughter when she was ready to leave, but Maddie didn’t answer. She looked around the deck and the front yard of their home for Maddie, but couldn’t find her.
Eugenia then walked to her girl’s bedroom, where she noticed the television on and the closet door open. Since Maddie never liked to leave her closet door open, Eugenia immediately walked toward the closet and inside, found her little girl unresponsive. She immediately called 911.
Maddie was taken to St. Vincent’s East hospital, but weather prevented her from being immediately airlifted and taken to Children’s of Alabama. She did eventually transfer to the hospital, but she couldn’t be saved.
According to Lt. Williams, Maddie was being bullied at school. On the day she committed suicide, she reportedly had a negative experience at school with one of her bullies.
“We talked to one of her friends and Maddie had apparently had a bad day. The friend said Maddie was bullied and she looked sad while she was being bullied,’’ Lt. Williams said. “It must have really worn her out that day.”
Further, Maddie had recently started taking medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which according to Lt. Williams, came with a possible side effect of suicidal thoughts.
“The bullying plus the medicine, I think, gave her the boost to do that.”
According to Eugenia Williams, Maddie was a target at school because of her struggles with ADHD. Some of the children at her school called her “dumb” and “stupid.” Lt. Williams said they talked with the school principal and thought “took care of it.”
Maddie’s parents declined to reveal the name of the school Maddie attended. They indicated school administration worked with them and tried to help. In turn, the parents don’t want a negative spotlight on the school. Instead, they are hoping their little girl’s death can help other parents look for the warning signs.
“Maybe you can see if anything is going on. Look for changes in attitude,” Lt. Williams said. “Changes in behavior…Support them and be there for them.”
“She just wanted to be your friend. She wanted to be everybody’s friend and wanted everyone to be happy. We saw that in everything she did.”
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, help is available. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
[Feature Photo: Mattie Whittsett/Facebook]