Utah District Agrees to Pay $2M to Family of Bullied Student Who Died by Suicide

The family alleged their daughter, who was Black, was constantly bullied by her classmates because of her race, disabilities, and her family’s homelessness.

Utah District Agrees to Pay $2M to Family of Bullied Student Who Died by Suicide

(Photo: gustavofrazao, Adobe Stock)

Salt Lake City, Utah – The Davis School District has agreed to pay $2 million to the family of Izzy Tichenor, who died by suicide after being bullied by her classmates.

The settlement ends the Tichenor-Cox family’s lawsuit against the district, which was filed after their 10-year-old daughter’s death in November 2021. Izzy’s mother says her daughter, who was Black, was constantly bullied by her classmates at Foxboro Elementary School because of her race, disabilities, and her family’s homelessness, reports KUTV.

According to the lawsuit, the school and district were notified of the bullying but didn’t respond appropriately or provide services to Izzy or her family. It alleges her classmates called her the N-word, told her she stank, and made fun of her for being autistic, reports the Associated Press.

However, an investigation of Izzy’s death didn’t find direct evidence she was bullied but did uncover other incidents and recommended changes, reports Fox13.

Izzy was the only Black student in her class, and the Davis School District has a student population that is less than 1% Black. Shortly before her death, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reprimanded the district for not addressing widespread racial discrimination against its Black and Asian-American students.

“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,” the DOJ said in a statement. “The department concluded that for years, Davis’s ineffective response left students vulnerable to continued harassment and that students believed the district condoned the behavior. The department also found that Davis disciplined Black students more harshly than their white peers for similar behavior and that Davis denied Black students the ability to form student groups while supporting similar requests by other students.”

The Utah legislature recently passed a law requiring school districts to track reported and bullying on K-12 campuses.

If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can text TALK to 741741 or initiate an online chat at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/. You can also call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. Additional resources can also be found at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.

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About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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