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Davis School District to undergo independent investigation into bullying after 10-year-old's death

An undated photo of Isabella "Izzy" Faith Tichenor.

An undated photo of Isabella "Izzy" Faith Tichenor. (Family photo)

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Davis School District will conduct an independent investigation after the death of Isabella "Izzy" Faith Tichenor, a 10-year-old girl who died by suicide last week after family members say she was bullied.

The investigation will "review our handling of critical issues, such as bullying, to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all students," the district said in a news release Friday.

"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," the district's statement says.

The district also encouraged parents to stay connected to their children, especially as the community grieves Izzy's death. The district also encouraged parents to talk with their children about mental health and well-being, and seek help if necessary.

Davis School District's Student and Family Resource Department can be reached at 801-402-5155. Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. Other resources include Davis Behavioral Health, 801-773-7060; Stabilization and Mobile Response, 1-833-723-3326; and Safe UT Crisis Chat & Tip Line, 1-833-372-3388.

The death of Izzy, who was Black and had autism, has ushered waves of grief and support from the Davis County community and beyond.

On Thursday at a press conference before their game against the Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz stars Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles expressed sadness and anger at Izzy's death. The Jazz also held a moment of silence in Izzy's honor at the beginning of the game.

"People were alerted about the situation, by the child, by the parents … no one did anything," Mitchell said. "She was an autistic Black girl. Our jobs, especially in education, are to inspire and teach our youth to be better than we are."

"People sat there and let this continue to a point where a 10-year-old girl killed herself. That to me doesn't sit right, it doesn't feel right," he added. "As a human being, how do you let it get to that point? Especially after being told about it. You can't say you didn't know."

In a previous statement given Monday after Izzy's family spoke with local media, Davis School District said it takes all incidents and reports of bullying seriously: "At this point, the incident we are aware of involved another student. The teacher and administration responded quickly and appropriately. As with all allegations of bullying, our investigation will continue."

Ingles, whose son Jacob has autism, said he spent an hour speaking with Izzy's mother Brittany Tichner-Cox this week. Mitchell said he plans to meet with the family, too.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox also expressed his condolences for Izzy's family and promised to change things.

"My heart is broken for Izzy and her family. We must — and will — do more," Cox said Tuesday in a tweet.

In a statement Wednesday released through a family spokesperson, Izzy's parents, Tichner-Cox and her husband Charles Cox, thanked the community for the outpouring of support and kindness. They also called for change and for people to show compassion in honor of Izzy.

"As we offer our final goodbyes to our beautiful and precious Izzy, we ask that as a community, we think of those in need, because Izzy was always thinking of others. Let us offer love to those who may feel they are not worthy of it. Let us offer a kind word or gesture to those who need to hear and feel it," the family's statement says. "Let us have conversations about racism, disabilities, bullying and mental illness, even if they are hard and maybe uncomfortable conversations to have. We must have them. Talk to your children, learn who they are and remind them that they are loved. We ask that you Stand for Izzy."

Suicide prevention resources

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Crisis Hotlines

  • Utah County Crisis Line: 801-691-5433
  • Salt Lake County/UNI Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
  • Wasatch Mental Health Crisis Line: 801-373-7393
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386

Online resources

Warning signs of suicide

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

The more of these signs a person shows, the greater the risk. Warning signs are associated with suicide but may not be what causes a suicide.

Information from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

What to do if you see warning signs of suicide

  • Do not leave the person alone
  • Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt
  • Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional

Information from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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