A 10-year-old Black girl tragically died by suicide on Saturday (November 6) after enduring, what her mother describes as "relentless" bullying at school.
Isabella, or "Izzy" as her mother, Brittany Tichenor affectionately called her, was a fifth grader at the Foxboro Elementary School in Utah, in a district that was previously under federal investigation for racism. Tichenor told reporters she contacted officials at the Davis School District "multiple times" after Isabella reported being teased and mistreated at school.
"Even though my baby is gone, I'm going to make sure that I stand for Izzy," Tichenor said Monday (November 8). "And I'm going to make sure –– for voices that can't be heard like hers –– that this will never happen again to any kid."
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Isabella, who was also on the autism spectrum, had been in the fifth grade just one month before she started reporting being ignored by her teacher and called "smelly" by other kids.
Isabella reportedly told her mother she didn't believe her teacher liked her because the educator would greet "all the other kids" but not her. Tichenor said the teacher also complained in class about students smelling bad, which led to other kids taunting Isabella accusing her of being the source. Isabella, her mother said, began carrying air freshener at school.
Davis School District officials have been the subject of federal investigation after "hundreds" of documented reports of racial harassment in dozens of its schools between 2015 and 2020. Reports of physical assaults, racial slurs, and kids dressing as Nazi for Halloween parades are some of the incidents that the DOJ said administrators inadequately handled and left children vulnerable to more harassment.
Tichenor said that on Saturday, before Isabella died, the two were making plans to work on a book report. Tichenor said she'd set out markers and materials for her daughter to being working, and that Isabella had kissed her on the cheek and told her she loved her before going into her room. Tichenor said she went to the garage briefly not even 10 minutes before two of her other children found Isabella hanging in her closet.
A GoFundMe fundraiser entitled "Stand For Izzy" has been set up to raise money for funeral expenses.
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.