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Davis School District reaches $2 million settlement with family of 'Izzy' Tichenor

Posted at 5:06 PM, Aug 08, 2023

FARMINGTON, Utah — The Davis School District announced it has reached a settlement agreement with the family of a 10-year-old girl who was allegedly bullied before she committed suicide in 2021.

According to a statement released by the district Tuesday, the $2 million agreement was reached by "mutual resolution" with the family of Isabella "Izzy" Tichenor.

In November 2021, Tichenor died by suicide after constant bullying from classmates at Foxboro Elementary School over race and disabilities. Tichenor's mother, Brittany, said her daughter was on the autism spectrum and had dyslexia.

Despite reporting the bullying to teachers, Tichenor's family claimed that nothing was ever done to protect her. However, an investigation following Tichenor's death found "no direct evidence" she was bullied, but did learn of other incidents and recommended changes.

"While Davis School District and its staff have made profound and meaningful progress, there is still work to be done," the district said in its statement announcing the settlement. "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."

According to the Director of the Division of Risk Management Rachel Terry, there were many factors to be considered when evaluating the settlement.

"This case would've been expensive to litigate and would have required extensive attorney commitment and expert witnesses, as to the likelihood of success the district has strong defenses," said Terry. "However, there are factual disputes in this case that would've probably required the case to go to trial."

Representatives Sandra Hollins and Angela Romero both agree that the work for inclusivity in the Davis School District must continue and cannot end here.

"I'm glad that you made that settlement," said Representative Romero. "But we as a state and school districts have to do better for our students regardless of who they are, their families, or their racial identity."

The Davis School District is making changes in light of thee Tichenor-Cox settlement and in agreement with their 2021 settlement with the Department of Justice.

"We can never forget the injustice suffered by Izzy, for being forgotten and ignored," said Tichenor-Cox's lawyer, Tyler Ayres.

Some of the changes the district has agreed to make include creating an office of equal opportunity and a centralized system to report and respond to complaints, training, and professional development, and placing a statue of Izzy in the Foxboro Elementary School library.

"With those implemented changes I hope to see the people advocating for those changes in the school district up at the Capitol because we need those changes implemented in a solid way for the whole state," said Rae Duckworth with the Black Lives Matter Utah chapter.

Izzy's mother Brittany Tichenor recalled the day the incident had occurred.

"I remember the day the incident happened, we went to Wendys, we went to go look at some furniture, we were singing and she was like 'Mom thank you for loving me,'" said the mother Brittany Tichenor. "Thank you for being a good mom to me."