A Utah district will pay $2 million to the family of a bullied Black girl who died by suicide

Aug 9, 2023, 1:13 PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah school district has agreed to pay $2 million to the family of a Black, autistic 10-year-old girl who killed herself after being harassed by her classmates.

The family of Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor blamed her death in 2021 on an inadequate response by school officials to reports that the girl was being bullied over her race and disabilities. The Davis School District announced the settlement on Tuesday.

The lawsuit said that Izzy, the only Black student in her class, was bullied by students at North Salt Lake’s Foxboro Elementary School by classmates who called her the N-word, told her she stank and made fun of her for being autistic. The family said they had reported the bullying to teachers and administrators, who hadn’t stopped the harrasment.

Tichenor’s death came weeks after the district, which educates 73,000 kids north of Salt Lake City and has a student body that is less than 1% Black, was reprimanded by the U.S. Department of Justice for failing to address widespread racial discrimination. It sparked widespread outrage, including from the Utah Jazz, whose then-star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell spoke out about how school officials should’ve done more to stop the racist bullying.

Utah lawmamkers passed legislation requiring districts to track reported bullying and racism in schools. Izzy’s mother, Brittany Tichenor-Cox, pointed to deep-rooted racism in the predominantly white state. The district initially defended its handling of bullying allegations, but launched an independent investigation after Tichenor’s death.

The investigation found “no direct evidence” of Tichenor being bullied specifically because of her race or disabilities but confirmed major parts of the family’s account, including that staff had mistreated Izzy. It recommended policy changes such as training to address and track bullying.

The $2 million amount was approved on Tuesday by a committee at the Utah Legislature that oversees settlements.

“The District is continually assessing and expanding its processes and efforts to better support every student who attends its schools, including implementing trauma- informed counseling and other resources for its students,” it said in a joint statement with the Tichenor-Cox family.

The district did not admit liability or negligence, or announce concrete policy changes. The statement said the district will continue to provide training “and is dedicated to creating environments to encourage open dialogue and discussions that promote mutual learning, respect and empathy, free from any undue pressure on individual students.”

The district also made a public apology Tuesday and announced a separate $200,000 settlement with three Black students who said they experienced daily discrimination.

“Any form of racism, bigotry, discrimination, or harassment within our schools is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The district encourages anyone who observes a student or staff member being harassed or bullied to report it right away. Reports of bullying will be thoroughly documented, addressed promptly, and appropriate consequences will be administered,” it said.


If you or someone you know needs help, call or text the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988. (link: https://988lifeline.org/ ). You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting CRISIS to 741741. (link: https://www.crisistextline.org/ )  Organizations like Therapy for Black Kids maintain databases of Black mental health providers: https://www.therapyforblackkids.org/about.html

United States News

Associated Press

Heat has forced organizers to cancel Twin Cities races that draw up to 20,000 runners

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A forecast that record high temperatures and humidity would create “extreme and dangerous” conditions prompted organizers to cancel two long-distance races Sunday in Minnesota’s two largest cities that were expected to draw up to 20,000 runners. The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon from Minneapolis to neighboring St. Paul had been expected to draw […]

1 hour ago

File - The Southern University Human Jukebox marching band warms up before the 2023 National Battle...

Associated Press

Federal student loan payments are starting again. Here’s what you need to know

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal student loan borrowers will need to start making payments again this month after a three-year-plus pause due to the pandemic. You should expect a bill that lays out how much you have to pay each month at least 21 days before your due date. It’s likely that most borrowers have […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., appears before the House Rules Committee to propose amendments to t...

Associated Press

Gaetz says he will seek to oust McCarthy as speaker this week and calls for new House leadership

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Matt Gaetz said Sunday he will try to remove House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a fellow Republican, from his leadership position this week after McCarthy relied on Democratic support to pass legislation that avoided a government shutdown. Gaetz, a longtime McCarthy nemesis, said McCarthy was in “brazen, material breach” of agreements he […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Chester County, Pa. election workers process mail-in and absentee ballots at West Chester Un...

Associated Press

Pennsylvania governor’s voter registration change draws Trump’s ire in echo of 2020 election clashes

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Donald Trump has a familiar target in his sights: Pennsylvania’s voting rules. He never stopped attacking court decisions on mail-in ballots during the COVID-19 pandemic, falsely claiming it as a reason for his 2020 loss in the crucial battleground state. Now, the former Republican president is seizing on a decision by […]

3 hours ago

FILE - The U.S. Supreme Court is seen, Wednesday, Aug 30, 2023, in Washington. The new term of the ...

Associated Press

The Supreme Court may tackle guns, abortion in new session starting Monday

Major cases await, as they always do, including several challenges to regulatory agencies and efforts to regulate social media platforms.

4 hours ago

Run by a private firm hired by the city, migrants stay in a makeshift shelter at O'Hare Internation...

Associated Press

Chicago is keeping hundreds of migrants at airports while waiting on shelters and tents

CHICAGO (AP) — Hidden behind a heavy black curtain in one of the nation’s busiest airports is Chicago’s unsettling response to a growing population of asylum-seekers arriving by plane. Hundreds of migrants, from babies to the elderly, live inside a shuttle bus center at O’Hare International Airport’s Terminal 1. They sleep on cardboard pads on […]

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Home moving relocation in Arizona 2023...

BMS Moving

Tips for making your move in Arizona easier

If you're moving to a new home in Arizona, use this to-do list to alleviate some stress and ensure a smoother transition to your new home.



Here are the biggest tips to keep your AC bill low this summer

PHOENIX — In Arizona during the summer, having a working air conditioning unit is not just a pleasure, but a necessity. No one wants to walk from their sweltering car just to continue to be hot in their home. As the triple digits hit around the Valley and are here to stay, your AC bill […]


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

5 mental health myths you didn’t know were made up

Helping individuals understand mental health diagnoses like obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder or generalized anxiety disorder isn’t always an easy undertaking. After all, our society tends to spread misconceptions about mental health like wildfire. This is why being mindful about how we talk about mental health is so important. We can either perpetuate misinformation about already […]

A Utah district will pay $2 million to the family of a bullied Black girl who died by suicide