Dozens gathered at Fox Hollow Park Tuesday night to show the family of Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor that they “Stand for Izzy.”
Izzy was a student at Foxboro Elementary in North Salt Lake. Her family said she took her own life over the weekend. Izzy was on the autism spectrum and her mother said that made her an “easy target” for bullying.
At the vigil, families, friends and classmates of Izzy huddled together with candles and hot chocolate to show their support.
Members of her family spoke as well as local leaders, a family therapist and some of her friends.
“I was just never expecting her to do what she did. Nobody deserves to feel that way. Nobody deserves to feel worthless like they don’t belong,” said one of her school friends.
The speakers pleaded with parents to talk to their kids about bullying, racism, autism and mental health.
Izzy’s grandmother, Paula Harris, said her granddaughter’s death is “earth-shattering” but said she is thankful for the love and support the family is receiving.
“My daughter was telling me that Izzy, for the last couple weeks, had been showing signs of sadness. If there’s any change in your child’s behavior, I ask you guys: Take the time, talk to them,” said Harris. “They may not want to sit and talk to you, but it’s important we do get the word out and talk to them. Let them know that 'if anything is bothering you, you can tell me. You’re not going to get in trouble.' It’s to save their life.”
The Davis School District sent FOX 13 News an updated statement, writing: “The district and school provided significant resources of support helping this family. We take all incidents and reports of bullying and harassment seriously and will continue to investigate any reports we receive. Out of respect to the privacy of the family and obligations we have professionally to uphold that privacy, we cannot share further details.”
A campaign with the hashtag #StandForIzzy is taking off to demand justice, as well as to motivate conversations regarding mental health and bullying.
Governor Spencer Cox tweeted Tuesday: “My heart is broken for Izzy and her family. We must—and will—do more.”
Izzy’s Celebration of Life is scheduled for this Saturday. There is a Go Fund Me account set up to help the family with funeral expenses. To donate, click here.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, there is always help. Call the National Suicide Prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The lifeline is free and available 24/7.
Help is also available online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org