10-year-old Utah Black student with autism commits suicide weeks after scathing Justice Department report on school district

Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor, a 10-year-old black student with autism in Utah, committed suicide last Saturday after she was allegedly harassed by classmates and her family’s complaints were ignored, lawyer said family to CNN.

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

“Izzy was a happy kid. She was a happy little girl, she was doing well in school… All she wanted was to be in touch with her family and friends,” attorney Tyler said. Ayres to CNN ahead of a private funeral scheduled for Saturday morning.

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

“They found her bringing a bottle of Febreze to school, and when they asked her why they said she said because the kids said she stank,” Ayres said to CNN, adding that his teacher had asked him to sit away from the other students in the back of the classroom.

Ayres also said the children allegedly used the n word and teased Izzy on several occasions.

According to Ayres, Brittany and Charles sought Izzy’s teacher to lodge their complaints, but “when they realized they were not making any progress … they went to the principal. The principal turned them to the deputy principal. and with the main vice, they felt very inaudible and just very ignored. “

CNN contacted the Davis School District School Board and Foxboro Elementary School to corroborate Ayres’ specific allegations, but the school district declined to comment on the details, citing confidentiality concerns, and instead shared a statement from press sent to local media Friday.

“Izzy’s death is tragic and devastating. Our hearts continue to be with family, friends and the community mourning this loss. The well-being of our students will always be a priority, and we are committed to preventing that. that won’t happen in the future, ”the school district said.

“As part of this commitment, we will open an independent investigation to further investigate the matter 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 American students each make up about 1% of the approximately 73,000 students enrolled in the district, according to the report of the Ministry of Justice.

Representatives from Foxboro Elementary School PTA joined the Tichenor family at a Monday morning press conference on Izzy’s death, according to KUTV, subsidiary of CNN.

Thusday, the Utah Jazz of the NBA observed a minute of silence during their game against the Indiana Pacers to mourn the death of Izzy.

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

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

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

“We are aware of reports that Isabella was harassed at school because of her race and disability. The Civil Rights Division is strongly committed to fully and effectively implementing our October 21, 2021 Settlement Agreement. with the Davis School District, and to ensure that students in the district have access to the safe and healthy schools they deserve.Bullying and bullying in schools has devastating effects.

“The only thing the family really wants to do is make sure that the system is impacted by this terrible event and then and in order to have an impact on the system, the school district is going to have to shell out a huge amount of money. money so they know they can never afford to start over, ”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 assistance in Spanish, call 1-888-628-9454.

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