NORTH SALT LAKE, Utah (KUTV) — A Utah family is grieving the loss of their 10-year-old girl who took her own life after telling her family she had been bullied by other kids.
The family of Isabella “Izzy” Faith Tichenor spoke publicly Monday in hopes that their tragedy will deter bullying and raise awareness about suicide among children.
“We are going to be Izzy’s voice, we are going to ring this bell as loud as we can because we are going to stop this bullying. That little girl had spark, that little girl had hopes and dreams,” said Paula Harris, Izzy's grandmother.
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According to her family, Izzy attended Foxboro Elementary School in North Salt Lake and had reported being "belittled and bullied."
“As any parent would, we reported this abuse to her teachers, the school administration, and the district administration," said mother Brittany Tichenor-Cox. "Nothing. Nothing was done to protect Izzy. Children did not have their behavior corrected so the torment of this child continued day after day."
Tichenor-Cox said there was no sign or warning that Izzy was contemplating taking her own life.
“I didn’t know she thought like that, I was so involved with her at school," Tichenor-Cox added. "You don’t know what a child is going through mentally."
The Davis School District said in a statement to 2News that it will continue to investigate any allegations of bullying.
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.
Representatives from the Foxboro Elementary School PTA joined the Tichenor family at a Monday morning press conference about Izzy’s death.
“We want things to change too, the culture in this county is not what we want for our children either," parent Breanna Larson told 2News. "Everyone has a role here in this failure, and everyone has a role in the solution. It is on the parents, it’s on the students, it’s on the teachers, it’s on the administration."
The Davis School District was recently placed under supervision of the Department of Justice after a two-year investigation found the district was "deliberately indifferent" to reports of racial harassment of students, including the use of the n-word.
Friends have established a fundraising website for Izzy’s family.
If you or someone you know feel hopeless or in crisis, resources are available. Call the national suicide prevention 24-hour lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. A list of area-specific suicide and crisis prevention hotlines in Utah can be found here.
Utah students can talk or text with a counselor through the SafeUT app.