Brittany Tichenor-Cox told KTLA, she is still having a hard time dealing with her 10-year-old daughter, Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor, suicide. Her daughter took her life on November 4, after suffering endless racism and bullying at school, some of which came from the teacher and staff. She wants to honor her daughter's memory by changing the Utah school system, making it safer for children like Izzy.
The mother said her autistic daughter was always a happy child until her class teacher pointed out to the class everyone needs to take a bath before attending school. One of her classmates teased her during recess that she smelled bad. Brittany remembers her daughter spraying herself with air freshener before going to school. She said that was her first inkling that something was off with her daughter.
Izzy Suffered Endless Bullying In School
Besides the hygiene comment, the mother said her daughter's classmates made fun of her skin color, her eyebrows, and the beauty mark on her forehead. She was the only black student in class. Because she had autism, she wasn't able to vocalize how badly she was hurting and ask for help.
Brittany informed the school of the bullying and they did nothing to keep her daughter safe. If anything, the mother believes it only got worse. Izzy's suicide brought attention to a broken school system in Utah, highlighting the racism and lack of mental health support in the classroom.
After Izzy's death, the Department of Justice launched a probe into the Davis School district for failing to address the widespread racism. The district has approximately 73,000 students, with only 1% being Black and Asian. Initially, the district claimed they were not responsible for Izzy's suicide, but has since launched an independent investigation to validate the family's claims.
Brittany Wants A Change To Protect The Izzy's In The World
Brittany said she is still struggling with the fact when she was asking for help with the school bullying, no one would listen, but now her daughter has died, they want to investigate.
”It just hurts to know that my baby [sic] was bullied all day throughout school — from the time I dropped her off to the time I picked her up.”
Tichenor-Cox said she first realized there was a problem when her daughter wanted to get rid of her beauty mark, and shave her unibrow. She told her daughter she was beautiful, just like she was, and she didn't need to alter her appearance.
Izzy complained to her mother her teacher didn't like her and she wouldn't help her when she asked for assistance with her work. Her family blames the teacher for allowing the bullying to continue, because they say she was fully aware of it.
Utah Is Deep Rooted In Racism
Brittany remembers being bullied in school for being Black, and she said the school system has done nothing to stop it three decades later. She claims many of the student still throw around the N-word, yelling at Black students to go "pick cotton."
“No parent should have to bury their 10-year-old. I’m still in shock.… This pushes me to get this out there like this. Mommy is pushing to make sure that this don’t happen to nobody else," Brittany said as she wiped a tear from her cheek.
The school district launched a probe and, after talking to Black students in their schools, they discovered they all had stories of being bullied because of their race. They implemented a new policy to keep Black students safe, but Brittany doesn't have much faith in Davis School district and their ability to create a plan to stop the widespread bullying.
“I want her to be remembered of how kind she was, how beautiful she was, how brilliant she was and intelligent she was,” Tichenor-Cox said. “Because if I keep thinking of what happened, it’s just going to put me back, and I’m trying to be strong for her.”
Do you think the school is liable for Izzy's death? Tell me what you think in the comments section below.