DAVIS COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) — The Davis School District has settled with the Tichenor-Cox family for $2 million almost two years after the suicide of 10-year-old Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor.

The settlement concludes a lawsuit filed in 2022 by the Tichenor-Cox family, which claimed Izzy’s school, Foxboro Elementary, had violated state and federal laws intended to protect victims of bullying. Schools are required to ensure equal treatment, provide educational opportunities, and protect students experiencing homelessness.

Izzy’s death in November 2021 sparked a massive outcry over youth suicide, bullying, and the treatment of children with autism. It even prompted state legislators to pass a new law requiring districts to track reported bullying and racism in schools.

The lawsuit against the Davis School District recounted how Tichenor, who was autistic and the only Black student in her class, was bullied by students who said she smelled, made fun of her skin color, and eyebrows, and used racist slurs against her.

Izzy’s parents claimed they repeatedly alerted the school of bullying in the months leading up to the death of their daughter, who was in the fifth grade at the time of her passing.

The following is a joint statement provided by the Davis School District and the family of Izzy Tichenor:

The tragic loss of Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor in November of 2021 will always impact our
community and school. Working together, Davis School District and Izzy’s family have reached a mutual resolution.

Davis School District is committed to making schools a safe and welcoming environment for all. Any form of racism, bigotry, discrimination, or harassment within our schools is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The district encourages anyone who observes a student or staff member being harassed or bullied to report it right away. Reports of bullying will be thoroughly documented, addressed promptly, and appropriate consequences will be administered.

While Davis School District and its staff have made profound and meaningful progress, there is still work to be done. The District is continually assessing and expanding its processes and efforts to better support every student who attends its schools, including implementing trauma-informed counseling and other resources for its students. The District continues to provide necessary training to ensure compliance with all applicable guidelines and recommendations and is dedicated to creating environments to encourage open dialogue and discussions that promote mutual learning, respect and empathy, free from any undue pressure on individual students. The District is wholly committed to continuing to implement changes to positively impact students, staff and the community.

Additionally, the Davis School District has settled a different matter for $200,000 with Nicole Sieger, Alonzo Liddell, Lisa Liddell, and Kimberly Olsen regarding the bullying of three children.

Superintendent Dan Linford stated, “I would like to extend my sincerest apologies to you, and most especially, your three children for the unwelcome experiences they had while attending school in our district.”

Linford said that the following changes have been made to instill positive change among the schools in their district:

  • Creation of the Office of Equal Opportunity
  • Appointment of an assistant superintendent position with responsibility for Equal Opportunity
  • Creation of the Harassment and Discrimination Policy (11IR-100)
  • Creation of the Harassment and Discrimination Reporting System (HDRS)
  • All employee training on mandatory reporting of harassment and discrimination
  • All administrator training on processes for reporting, investigation, and resolution