SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz stars Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles took time Thursday to speak on the death of a 10-year-old girl who was bullied at a Davis County elementary school.
Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor was a student at Foxboro Elementary in North Salt Lake. Her family said she died by suicide and that she was an "easy target" for bullying because she was on the autism spectrum and had dyslexia.
Izzy's mother, Brittany Tichenor, told FOX 13 she reported the bullying to teachers at Foxboro Elementary and the administration but claims nothing was done to protect her daughter.
Both Ingles and Mitchell emphasized that the Tichenor family has the team's support as they navigate their grief and many conversations have taken place within the team and league about Izzy's story.
"As an organization, there's no doubt that everyone's behind them," Ingles said.
The Utah Jazz Organization made a donation of $50,000 to Izzy's GoFundMe and before the Jazz game on Thursday against the Indana Pacers, a moment of silence was observed in honor of Izzy.
"It's mind boggling," Mitchell said. "It's sad. It's just flat out disgusting. You know...bullying in itself."
Mitchell, who frequently speaks as a youth advocate believes this should have never happened. He promised to continue to speak out on the issue and discuss with the family what further action could be taken on Izzy's behalf.
"A child who had hopes and dreams is no longer with us because of that, and I think that doesn't sit right with me," Mitchell said. "My mom's a teacher as well. So obviously, y'all know that the schooling system education system is something that's really near and dear to me."
Joe Ingles said he had the chance to speak with Izzy's mom, and remarked that hearing their story from the perspective of her family was truly heartbreaking.
"It's disgusting that that had to end like this for Izzy and her family," Ingles said. "Because at the moment, the teacher of that class is still at school, the kids that were bullying are still going to school, and Izzy's family are the only people that are really living a different life to what everyone else is right now."
Ingles has frequently spoken out about his son, Jacob, who also has autism. Hearing Izzy's story has struck close to home, Ingles said, due to the similarities between Izzy and his son. He promised Izzy's family he would do whatever it takes to make a change in the education community for the better.
"She's got a story that she wants to tell and I'll be her voice if need be I'm going to do everything I can for her family," Ignles said. "Obviously right now what were they going through to support them but then obviously moving forward to make sure this doesn't happen again."
The Jazz Stars reiterated that children in Utah and around the country, especially those facing disabilities, deserve the opportunity to go to school in a safe and loving environment.
"We need to continue to help our youth grow and help our youth to become and feel accepted and feel wanted," Mitchell said.
"Regardless of a special needs or race or color, or religion or whatever it is, [kids] deserve to be able to go to school and learn and play on the playground and do what every kid wants to do at school, have fun with their friends," Ingles commented.