The family of a young Black girl from Utah who died by suicide last year after being bullied over her race and disabilities is filing a $14 million lawsuit against her school.
Brittany Tichenor-Cox announced on Wednesday that she would be seeking $14 million in damages for the 2021 death of her 10-year-old daughter, Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor. According to the notice of claim, Foxboro Elementary School in North Salt Lake City, its director, and its principal have all been named as defendants.
The school allegedly violated state and federal laws, including requiring schools to ensure equal treatment, provide educational opportunities and protect students experiencing homelessness. The claim also names the Davis School District, school board, and superintendent.
“Izzy was bullied, abused, harassed, and excluded from activities because she was female, learning disabled, poor, homeless, and black,” the claim read.
It also alleged that teachers commented on Izzy’s hygiene and odor in front of other students and created a hostile classroom environment
“As a result of this unchecked bullying and the school’s overall ‘deliberate indifference’ to minority students, Izzy failed nearly all her classes. At the time of her death, she could barely read or do math on a first-grade level,” the claim said.
Ten-year-old Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor died on Nov. 6, 2021.
The school district released a statement to KUTV following her tragic death.
“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.”
But Izzy’s mother said they reported the abuse, and nothing was done.
“As any parent would, we reported this abuse to her teachers, the school administration, and the district administration,” said Tichenor-Cox to KUTV. “Nothing. Nothing was done to protect Izzy. Children did not have their behavior corrected so the torment of this child continued day after day.”
According to AP, the defendants have 60 days to respond before the family can file a lawsuit based on the claim.
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