Nearly five months after 10-year-old Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor’s death by suicide, an investigation reveals just how long her school allowed bullying “on any ground” to go unchecked.
A newly released investigative report commissioned by the Davis School District in Farmington, Utah, found that Tichenor had been bullied by her classmates and even teachers, CNN reports. But they found no “direct evidence” linking the bullying to race or her disability.
Tichenor’s mother claimed her daughter was dealing with constant ridicule at Foxboro Elementary because of her race and autism. While investigators found out that students and teachers said she smelled and needed to bathe, it was too “difficult” to determine if the child’s race and disability were a factor.
“Issues relating to race, disability, and poverty sometimes intersect and when they do, can further complicate already challenging situations,” the review team of three people determined. “It can be very difficult to extricate one from the others.”
“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 report said.
The report also found that Foxboro failed to take action after Tichenor’s mother alleged the child was being bullied, NY Post reports. Investigators found that staff at Foxboro did not show “actual knowledge” of the district’s definition of “bullying,” and the school is accused of creating an environment “in which bullying…could go underreported, uninvestigated, and unaddressed.”
Shortly after Tichenor’s death, the Justice Department determined the school district had a troubling pattern of seemingly ignoring complaints of racism from Black and Asian American students.
The Davis School District has since released a statement saying they were taking the allegations seriously and are reviewing the report’s recommendations.
“We vow to continue our ongoing and extensive efforts to foster a welcoming environment for all students in the Davis School District,” the statement read.