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Isabella ‘Izzy’ Tichenor cause of death update – Report reveals teachers told her she smelled before she killed herself

A TEN-YEAR-OLD Utah girl killed herself after students and teachers complained that she smelled, a new report has found.

Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor – who was on the autism spectrum – took her own life in November 2021.

The girl’s mother alleged that the black child had been bullied due to her race and disability, sparking outrage and questions about the school district’s handling of such allegations.

An investigative report commissioned by the Davis School District, and carried by a three-person review team, found that Izzy was told by classmates and even her teachers that she smelled and needed to bathe.

However, the report found that there was no “direct evidence” she had been bullied because of her race or autism.

The team explained that “issues relating to race, disability, and poverty sometimes intersect and when they do, can further complicate already challenging situations. it can be very difficult to extricate one from the others.”

“When a student told Izzy she needed to wash her hair, this comment could have been borne out of racial animus, could have been an innocuous observation, or could have been a clocked insult about poverty,” read the report.

Yet, the report also found that Foxboro Elementary School, where Izzy attended, failed to protect the girl by not investigating her mother’s allegations that Izzy was being bullied in a timely manner.

According to the report, the staff at Foxboro did not show “actual knowledge” of the district’s definition of “bullying” and that the school had supposedly created an environment “in which bullying…could go underreported, uninvestigated, and unaddressed.”

Weeks after Izzy’s death, the Justice Department detailed a troubling pattern in the school district in which Black and Asian American students were harassed for years and officials had ignored complaints from students and their parents.


The DOJ had been investigating the school district since July 2019 and the findings came in a report released in October.

In a statement to CNN, the Davis School District said they were taking the allegations seriously and are reviewing the report’s recommendations.

“We vow to continue our ongoing and extensive efforts to foster a welcoming environment for all students in the Davis School District,” read the statement.

According to the report, Foxboro received reports of alleged bullying, however, it took months for staff to create an official record, which was only done after Izzy’s death.


Brittany Tichenor-Cox, Izzy’s mother reported three incidents starting from September 2021, including an incident where Izzy’s sister had been called a name by another student.

Tichenor-Cox reached out to Foxboro, claiming the same student had allegedly threatened her daughters and told them he had a gun, read the report.

The student’s backpack was searched by the school and surveillance video was reviewed but there wasn’t enough evidence to support the allegations.

Only a week later, Tichenor-Cox again called the school, claiming “the same student called Izzy’s sister the ’N-word’ and touched her.” But the school could not confirm the alleged incident after speaking with two “potential witnesses”.

However, it was determined by school officials that it was “more likely than not” that the incident occurred and the student was suspended and barred from eating breakfast in the school cafeteria.

Tichenor-Cox’s children and the student also signed a contract in which both parties agreed to avoid each other.

The report said that none of the over 40 employees and students interviewed in the investigation remembered Izzy being outright bullied for being Black or autistic, but many, including teachers, made comments about her hygiene.

The girl’s mother complained to a teacher that Izzy was being bullied by a classmate who told the girl that she smelled and needed to wash her hair, according to the report.

she smelled and asked her if she had taken a shower, said the report. Tichenor-Cox said that Izzy had sprayed Febreze on herself before going to school after the comments were made.

However, an independent review found that there were no records of Izzy’s autism diagnosis. Tichenor-Cox asked the administration for an assessment in the fall of 2020 but she never brought Izzy in for observation or testing.

Another request for an assessment was made in September 2021, which was done the next month, however, it was not completed when Izzy died.

The review team is recommending the district train its staff on how to identify and address bullying, provide diversity and equity sessions and “trauma-informed, poverty training.”


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