Report: ‘No direct evidence’ Izzy Tichenor was bullied over race; school staff failed to document and report
Apr 1, 2022, 8:24 PM | Updated: 11:21 pm
DAVIS COUNTY, Utah — An independent investigation into accusations of bullying as a factor in the death of 10-year-old Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor found that there were reports that she was a victim of bullying, but said there is no direct evidence it was on the basis of race or her disability.
The 16-page report of the investigation, released by Davis County School District, also found Foxboro Elementary educators, administrators and staff interviewed during the investigation “did not demonstrate actual knowledge of the district’s definition of ‘bullying’ ” and failed to document or record reports of bullying, staff interventions and/or communications with the Tichenor family.
The investigation, independently conducted by Parsons, Behle & Latimer, also found the school staff knew of allegations that Izzy’s sibling was the target of racial slurs and investigated those accusations and responded.
CW: Abuse, Suicide
APOC’s deeply saddened by the news of Izzy Tichenor’s recent death by suicide. She was a Black, autistic 4th grader in Utah. A GoFundMe page for her family describes Izzy as a beautiful, kind, amazing daughter and sister and a “light in this world.” pic.twitter.com/nYk7yc2IkV
— The Autistic People of Color Fund (@AutisticPOC) November 13, 2021
The investigative team said it attempted to speak to Izzy’s mother Brittany Tichenor-Cox but was barred by her legal representatives because of a possible lawsuit against the district.
Izzy died by suicide Nov. 6, 2021, drawing an outpouring of community support and anger.
The suicide came just two weeks after a scathing report by the U.S. Department of Justice on the Davis School District, stated there is “serious widespread racial harassment.”
The report went on to say, “Many black students said the harassment was so pervasive and happened so often in front of adults that they concluded school employees condoned the behavior and believed reporting it further would be futile.”
The report recommended the following:
- The Davis County School District provide training to administrators and educators on how to identify and address bullying
- The district provide diversity and equity training
- The district provide trauma-informed, poverty training
- Foxboro establish clear protocols for record keeping and reporting
Associated Press reported in November that Tichenor-Cox said she reported bullying to the school but that nothing was done. The story stated:
(Her mother) coaxed out of Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor that a boy in her class told her she stank after their teacher instructed the class that they needed to shower. It was the latest in a series of bullying episodes that targeted Izzy, who was autistic and the only Black student in class. Other incidents included harassment about her skin color, eyebrows and a beauty mark on her forehead, her mother said.
The report states that Izzy’s mother and grandmother reported to the school that Izzy was bullied because of her hygiene. The report states the investigation was to focus on two allegations:
- Izzy was bullied on the basis of her race/or disability by students and staff at Foxboro Elementary School
- Foxboro and/or District officials knew of the bullying and failed to respond
The investigation was limited to investigating those claims and states that it did not investigate other ways Izzy may have been bullied, including over hygiene.
Donovan Mitchell on Izzy Tichenor:
“You were told…you were told. I can’t imagine what her family is going through…you go to school to learn and to become something you dream of…now a child that had hopes and dreams isn’t with us.”
— Sarah Todd (@NBASarah) November 11, 2021
The full report is below:
Suicide Prevention Resources
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. The Utah Department of Health offers suicide prevention help at utahsuicideprevention.org/suicide-prevention-basics. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. Help is also available through the SafeUT app.
Salt Lake County/UNI Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
National Suicide Prevention Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741-741
Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386
University Of Utah Crisis Interventional Crisis Line: 801-587-300
NAMI Utah: namiut.org
County Crisis Lines: https://www.namiut.org/families-caregivers/suicide-prevention
Utah Chapter-American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: afsputah.com
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org