SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake City mother says her 10-year-old daughter took her own life over the weekend after being bullied at school.
Brittany Tichenor said her daughter, Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor, was on the autism spectrum and had dyslexia. She said other children recognized her differences and frequently bullied her.
“She told me, ‘Mommy, I want to be more than this.’ I think I understand what she meant by ‘more than this.’ More than her disability,” Tichenor said.
Tichenor said she reported the bullying to teachers at Foxboro Elementary and the administration but claims nothing was done to protect her daughter.
“You really wouldn’t have known she was going through that,” she said. “So that was the hardest part. She must have really internalized this.”
In a statement, the Davis School District wrote, “We, like everyone, are devastated by the death of this child. Our hearts go out to the family. Foxboro Elementary has worked extensively with the family and will continue to provide help to them and others impacted by this tragedy. We take all incidents and reports of bullying seriously. At this point, the incident we are aware of involved another student. The teacher and administration responded quickly and appropriately. As with all allegations of bullying, our investigation will continue.”
Tichenor said right now, her focus isn’t on the investigation — it’s about getting the message out to other parents. She’s encouraging parents to talk to their kids, preach anti-bullying, and check in on them daily to make sure they’re doing OK.
“I just want to spread Izzy’s love to other kids. I want to spread what Izzy had, her infectious love, her infectious laugh to the other kids. I want to spread the good things about her,” she said. “Even though she came into my life for only a decade, she was my guardian angel and is my guardian angel.”
Friends and family are posting the hashtag #StandForIzzy to demand justice for her.
There is a GoFundMe organized to help the family with funeral expenses. To donate, click here.
There is also a prayer vigil for Izzy scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Foxboro Hollow Park.
If you or someone you know is struggling, 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