New information continues to be released about why 10-year-old Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor tragically took her own life in Nov. 2021.
After the child’s death almost five months ago, Izzy’s mother, Brittany, alleged her daughter — Black and on the autism spectrum — was bullied because of her race and disability as a student at Foxboro Elementary in Farmington, Utah.
A new investigative report commissioned by the Davis School District shared that a three-person review team has learned Izzy was told by “her classmates and teachers that she smelled and needed to bathe,” CNN reports.
The review team found no “direct evidence” to support Brittany’s claim that Izzy was bullied because of her race and disability.
Still, the investigation’s report highlighted: “Issues relating to race, disability, and poverty sometimes intersect and when they do, can further complicate already challenging situations.”
“It can be very difficult to extricate one from the others,” the report said about how the bullying that occurred may have been layered.
“When a student told Izzy she needed to wash her hair, this comment could have been borne out of racial animus, could have been an innocuous observation, or could have been a cloaked insult about poverty,” the investigation’s report further explained.
It further revealed that Foxboro Elementary School failed Izzy by not promptly investigating her mother’s allegations about the child being bullied before her death.
The school’s staff didn’t show “actual knowledge” of the district’s definition of bullying, and the report noted that ignorance lent to a school environment “in which bullying… could go underreported, uninvestigated and unaddressed.”
Izzy’s death happened weeks after the Department of Justice outlined a worrisome pattern taking place in the Davis School District, wherein Black and Asian American students endured years of harassment and officials ignored the complaints from them and their parents.
The DOJ’s findings were released in October 2021.
The governmental agency had been investigating the Utah school district since July 2019.
In a statement addressing the latest investigative report to shed light on Izzy’s death, CNN detailed the district said: “We are taking it seriously. We vow to continue our ongoing and extensive efforts to foster a welcoming environment for all students…”
Based on the report’s findings, the three-person review committee suggested the Davis School District implements bullying and “trauma-informed, poverty training” for its staff, and sessions on diversity and equity.