Izzy Tichenor: 10-year-old Black Utah student dies of suicide weeks after DOJ report

The tragedy comes just weeks after the Justice Department publicly unveiled a disturbing pattern in which black and Asian American students at the Davis School District in Farmington, Utah, were harassed for years, and officials deliberately ignored complaints from parents and students. The DOJ detailed the pattern in a report and a settlement agreement released in October. The agency had been investigating the school district since July 2019.

“Izzy was a happy child. She was a happy little girl, she did well in school … All she wanted was to be connected with family and friends,” lawyer Tyler Ayres told CNN ahead of the private funeral, which is scheduled for Saturday morning.

Izzy’s mother and stepfather, Brittany Clark Tichenor Cox and Charles Cox, said they became aware that their daughter was being bullied around September, Ayres told CNN.

“They found she was taking a bottle of Febreze to school and when they asked her why they said she said because the kids said she smelled,” Ayres told CNN, adding that her teacher instructed her to sit away from other students at the back of the school. the classroom.

Ayres also said the kids allegedly used the n-word and teased Izzy repeatedly.

According to Ayres, Brittany and Charles sought out Izzy’s teacher to lodge their complaints, but “when they realized they were not making any progress … they went to the principal. The principal addressed them to the vice principal and the vice principal. and just very much neglected. ”

CNN has approached The Board of Education at Davis School District and Foxboro Elementary School to confirm Ayres’ specific allegations, but the school district declined to comment on the details, citing privacy concerns and instead shared a press release sent to local media Friday.

“Izzy’s death is tragic and devastating. Our hearts remain with the family, friends and community who mourn this loss. The well-being of our students will always be a priority and we are committed to preventing this from happening in the future,” he said. the school district.

“As part of this commitment, we will bring in an independent inquiry to look into this and review our handling of critical issues, such as bullying, to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all students,” the school district said.

Black and Asian U.S. students are each about 1 percent of the approximately 73,000 students enrolled in the district, according to the DOJ report.
Representatives from the Foxboro Elementary School PTA joined the Tichenor family at a news conference Monday morning about Izzy’s death, according to CNN affiliate KUTV.
On Thursday, The NBA’s Utah Jazz held a moment of silence during their fight against the Indiana Pacers to mourn Izzy’s death.

“Izzy touched the hearts of all who knew her with an unwavering will to always help others. She shared her kindness with everyone, especially with her infectious laugh. A daughter, a sister and a friend, she will be missed by everyone who knew her. Izzy was easy. Izzy was love, “it was announced during the game.

Isabella "Izzy"  Tichenor as a baby and her mother Brittany Clark Tichenor Cox.

Several players on the team support Izzy’s family and offer their assistance during this time, according to Ayres.

The Justice Department is “deeply saddened” by Izzy’s death, a DOJ spokeswoman told CNN.

“We are aware of reports that Isabella was subjected to harassment at school due to her race and disability. The Civil Rights Division is committed to the full and effective implementation of our settlement agreement on October 21, 2021 with the Davis School District, and that ensure that district students have access to the safe and healthy schools they deserve. Harassment and bullying in schools have devastating consequences. ”

“The only thing the family really wants to do is make sure the system is affected by this horrific incident, and then and to affect the system, it will require the school district to cough up a huge amount of money so they know, that they can never afford to do it again, “Ayres said.

For assistance, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). There is also a crisis text line. For crisis support in Spanish, call 1-888-628-9454.

CNN’s Nicole Chavez contributed to this report.


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