10-Year-Old Utah Girl Dies By Suicide After Students & Teachers Complained That She Smelled

A young girl from Utah died by suicide in November 2021 after she was allegedly bullied by classmates and teachers for apparently emitting odor. Now the school district has finally released the findings of an investigation into the alleged bullying that reportedly led to this devastating loss.

As we’ve reported, Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor, a 10-year-old Black girl on the autism spectrum — sadly passed away last year after multiple incidents of bullying occurred at Foxboro Elementary School in North Salt Lake, Utah. According to the girl’s mother, Brittany Tichenor-Cox, Izzy was repeatedly bullied due to her race and disability — and even the student’s teachers were in on the bullying! What the heck?

To get to the bottom of the situation, an investigative report was commissioned by the Davis School District and carried out by a three-person review team. They have now confirmed that Izzy was told by classmates and a teacher that she smelled! That said, they couldn’t find any “direct evidence” that the remarks were based on her race or autism. The report stated:

“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.”

With that said, they added:

“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 clocked insult about poverty.”

According to the report, a special education teacher told Izzy that she smelled and asked if she had taken a shower. Because of these remarks, the child began to spray herself with Febreze before going to school.

Ugh, that is heartbreaking.

Sadly, there were multiple other incidents of bullying as well. The report found that the school’s faculty did not show “actual knowledge” of the district’s definition of “bullying” and that the environment allowed for bullying to “go underreported, uninvestigated, and unaddressed.” So awful. When Foxboro Elementary did receive reports of alleged bullying — such as from Izzy’s mother months before her death — they were reportedly slow to respond. In fact, they didn’t even create an official record of these bullying incidents until after the student died by suicide. Whoa.

According to Brittany, Izzy was first bullied beginning in September 2021. At the time, a student allegedly threatened her and her sister, telling them he had a gun, the report detailed. His backpack was searched by the school and surveillance footage was reviewed, but there wasn’t enough evidence to support the claims, so the boy faced no consequences. Just one week later, Brittany called the school again with more accusations against the same child, saying:

“The same student called Izzy’s sister the ‘N-word’ and touched her.”

After receiving the upset mother’s phone call, the school spoke to two “potential witnesses” but could not confirm the incident actually took place. However, they did determine that it was “more likely than not” that it happened and suspended the bully and banned him from eating breakfast in the cafeteria. Tichenor-Cox’s children and the student also signed a contract agreeing to avoid each other. Interestingly, the report explained that of 40 people interviewed during the investigation, none of the employees or students felt that Izzy had been bullied for being Black or autistic.

Also, Izzy’s autism diagnosis had not been complete before her death either. Brittany reportedly asked for an assessment in the fall of 2020 but never turned up for the observation or testing. Another request was made in September 2021. The process began the next month but was not completed before the child’s death.

Weeks after Izzy’s death, the Department of Justice discovered a concerning pattern of harassment in the school district. According to an investigation that began in July 2019, Black and Asian American students were harassed for years in that school district and complaints from students and parents often went unaddressed. These findings were released in October, just one month before Izzy would pass away because of this alleged harassment. Responding to the harrowing report, the Davis School District told CNN:

“We vow to continue our ongoing and extensive efforts to foster a welcoming environment for all students in the Davis School District.”

The review team has recommended major training for the school district, including teaching staff how to identify and address bullying, provide diversity and equity sessions, and “trauma-informed, poverty training.” We sincerely hope changes are made at this school. It’s shocking to see how many children have allegedly been harassed in this district.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for Izzy’s parents. To support the family, check out the fundraiser HERE. We’re sending love to all of Izzy’s loved ones as they continue to fight for justice for the 10-year-old. May she rest in peace.

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