Davis School District promises investigation after alleged bullying, suicide of 10-year-old student Izzy Tichenor

Izzy Tichenor. Photo: Gofundme: Stand For Izzy

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah, Nov. 13, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The Davis School District has promised an independent investigation into the alleged bullying and district response that occurred prior to the suicide death of Izzy Tichenor, a 10-year-old student at North Salt Lake’s Foxboro Elementary.

Tichenor reportedly took her life on Nov. 6, following bullying related to her race and her status as a child with autism. An account to help her family with funeral and other expenses can be found at this link.

The Davis School District statement follows:

“The death of Izzy is tragic and devastating. Our hearts continue to be with the family, friends and community who are grieving 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.

“As part of this commitment, we will be bringing in an independent investigation to look further into this and review our handling of critical issues, such as bullying, to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all students.

“We also want to provide resources to our students and community who may be struggling with this loss. The tragedy of suicide can be far-reaching, and it’s not uncommon to feel grief for the loss of someone you have never met, especially if there’s a feeling of shared commonality.

“We want to encourage parents to stay connected to their kids, especially during this time, and talk with them about their mental health and well-being. Feelings of depression, bullying, harassment, vulnerable living situations, feelings of isolation, and addictions are significant problems for children and youth. The district has trained licensed therapists available to talk to and process these feelings and help parents facilitate these conversations.”

The district also provided the following contact numbers:

Student and Family Resource Department: 801-402-5155
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Davis Behavioral Health: 801-773-7060
Stabilization and Mobile Response: 1-833-723-3326
Safe UT Crisis Chat & Tip Line: 1-833-372-3388

Systemic problem

The Department of Justice on Oct. 21 reported it had reached a settlement with Davis School District following a multi-year investigation into racial discrimination in its schools.

“The investigation revealed persistent failures to respond to reports of race-based harassment of Black and Asian-American students by district staff and other students,” the DOJ statement says. “The department’s review, which focused on 2015-2020, found hundreds of documented uses of the N-word, among other racial epithets, derogatory racial comments, and physical assaults targeting district students at dozens of schools.”

A Davis School District reaction statement to the DOJ findings said, in part:

“The district takes these findings very seriously. They do not reflect the values of this community and the expectations of the district. The district pledges to correct these practices.

“The agreement details specific steps the district will take to strengthen its procedures, training and practices for investigation and resolving allegations of racial harassment and discrimination. The district takes seriously its duty to promptly and appropriately investigate and resolve any complaints of discrimination, including harassment on the basis of race.

“This important work begins immediately and will continue over the next several years. Within the next 30 days, the district will share additional information with parents, staff, and students outlining the initial steps it will take to implement the needed changes. The district is wholeheartedly committed to creating and maintaining a safe and welcoming environment for all students free from harassment and discrimination.”

Davis School District. Image: Google Streets

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