Utah School District To Pay $2M Settlement After 10-Year-Old Girl Tragically Took Her Life Following School Bullying

Photo Credit: Gofundme/ Stand For Izzy

In a recent development, a Utah school district has agreed to pay a settlement of $2 million to the family of Isabella ‘Izzy’ Tichenor, a 10-year-old Black autistic girl who tragically took her life after enduring relentless harassment from her classmates, FOX News reported.

The family held the school officials responsible for their inadequate response to reports of racial and disability-based bullying. The Davis School District, with a student body that is less than 1% Black, announced the settlement on Tuesday.

According to the lawsuit, Izzy, who was the only Black student in her class at Foxboro Elementary School in North Salt Lake, was subjected to severe bullying. Her classmates repeatedly used racial slurs, ridiculed her for her autism, and made derogatory comments about her hygiene. The family had reported the bullying to teachers and administrators, but no effective action was taken to address the issue.

In response to Izzy’s death, Utah lawmakers passed legislation mandating that districts track reported cases of bullying and racism in schools. Izzy’s mother, Brittany Tichenor-Cox, highlighted the deep-rooted racism prevalent in the predominantly white state. Initially, the district defended its handling of the bullying allegations, but an independent investigation was subsequently launched.

Although the investigation found no direct evidence of racial or disability-based bullying, it confirmed several aspects of the family’s account and revealed the mistreatment of Izzy by the staff. As a result, policy changes, including training to effectively address and monitor bullying incidents, were recommended.

The settlement amount of $2 million was approved on Tuesday by a committee responsible for overseeing settlements at the Utah Legislature.

On Tuesday, the district issued a public apology and announced a separate $200,000 settlement with three Black students who said they faced 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.”

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