Isabella Faith Tichenor suicide: 10 year old autistic black girl kills self after bullying at Utah school after school admin and the district failed to intervene according to family.
Isabella ‘Izzy’ Faith Tichenor took her own life over the weekend after she was allegedly racially bullied by her classmates and teachers. She was studying at the ‘majority white’ Foxboro Elementary school in North Salt Lake, Utah.
The girl’s mom, Brittany Tichenor, told of reaching out to the Davis School District ‘multiple times’ and saying her daughter was mistreated by some students after starting her fifth grade. The mother alleges her grievances were not addressed and no concrete action was taken by the school FOX13 reported.
On November 6, 2021, Isabella was discovered hanging in a closet at the Tichenor home in North Salt Lake. According to Tichenor, her daughter was a victim of bullying because she was both Black, and an autistic student. She said other children recognized her differences and constantly bullied her.
‘She was an easy target especially after a teacher joined in mocking this young lady,’ the family said in a statement.
‘Nothing was done to protect Izzy’
Her parents continued, ‘As any parent would, we reported this abuse to her teachers, the school administration, and the district administration. Nothing. Nothing was done to protect Izzy. Children did not have their behavior corrected so the torment of this child continued day after day.’
Just about a month after the school began, Isabella informed her mother that she didn’t feel her teacher liked her because she would greet ‘all the other kids’ in her class but would give least attention to Isabella according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
Isabella’s peers would tease her several times. Her teacher had once reportedly complained during class that students smelled bad. Due to the teacher’s remarks, other kids began taunting her claiming that it was Isabella. Isabella then started to carry air freshener to school to dispense as perfume.
Izzy’s grandfather Gregory Tichenor told The Sun that the bullying had been ‘going on for months and nothing has been done. It was both verbal and physical,’ he said.
The family’s attorney revealed that Isabella’s siblings have also been the victims of racial abuse at the Foxboro Elementary School. One of her siblings was even being called the n-word.
‘The offending student was not disciplined in any way. We are investigating the school’s lack of response but cannot say more about it at this time,’ the lawyer said.
The Davis School District said in a statement obtained by Deseret News that it is investigating bullying at the school. ‘We, like everyone, are devastated by the death of this child,’ the district said.
Culture of permissiveness
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) condemned the Davis School district, saying it had reviewed more than 200 incident files it had received over the course of two years, containing allegations of racial harassment and other discrimination, according to findings the DOJ released in September.
‘The Department’s investigation uncovered systemic failures in the District’s handling of complaints of racial student-on-student and staff-on-student harassment, discipline of Black students, and refusal to allow Black students to form student groups,’ the DOJ wrote.
The agency reported that the district was ‘deliberately indifferent to known racial harassment,’ including white students repeatedly calling Black students the N-word. ‘We learned of incidents in which white students referred to Black students as dirty, asked why they did not wash their skin, and commented that their skin looked like feces,’ the DOJ reported. ‘White students also called Asian-American students pejorative slurs, such as ‘yellow’ and ‘squinty’ and told them to ‘Go back to China.’’
Failure to intervene led to a racially hostile environment and students of color feeling vulnerable and susceptible to ongoing abuse.
‘As a consequence of this dismissive attitude to serious racial harassment, a district-wide racially hostile environment went unabated,’ the department concluded in the report.