“We don’t want this to happen to anyone else,’’ Madison’s stepfather, Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service Lt. Jimmie Williams, told AL.com.
“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,’’ Jimmie Williams said. “It must have really worn her out that day.”
Her mother, Eugenia Williams, said Maddie had been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and received one-on-one help at her school. There had been incidents in which other students called her “stupid” and “dumb” but her parents felt like the issue had been addressed.
Just a few weeks ago, Maddie’s parents said she had been started on a medication to help with her ADHD that listed a side effect of possibly causing suicidal thoughts.
“The bullying plus the medicine, I think, gave her the boost to do that,’’ Jimmie Williams said.
The Williams hope Maddie’s story will help other parents.
“Maybe you can see if anything is going on. Look for changes in attitude. Changes in behavior,’’ Jimmie Williams said. “Support them and be there for them.”
He also hopes children will let adults know if they see a peer being bullied: “Like they always say, ‘If you see something, say something.’’’
Birmingham City Schools released this statement Tuesday afternoon: “Our school community is deeply saddened by the recent passing of a student. Counselors and district-level support staff, trained to help students, parents and school personnel at difficult times such as this, have been on-site at the impacted school today to provide assistance to students and staff in needed of support in processing this tragedy. The death of any young person is a tragic loss that impacts the whole school community, and we send our deepest condolences to the family.”
Eugenia Williams remembers her daughter as “alive, energetic, funny,” and said she loved to dance. Jimmie Williams said the suicide “came out of left field.”
“She just wanted to be your friend. She wanted to be everybody’s friend and wanted everyone to be happy,’’ he said. “We saw that in everything she did.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255