When a student dies, the school district only allows investigators to investigate bullying based on race or disability

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Investigators said they found no direct evidence to support claims that Izzy was “bullied because of her race or disability…While many interviewees reported that students and teachers had done comments to Izzy about her hygiene, no witnesses recalled that she was specifically bullied for being black or autistic,” the investigators wrote. They also concluded that there was “no direct evidence to support claims ‘that Foxboro or district officials’ knew of and did not respond to alleged bullying on the basis of race or disability. of Izzy”.

“The only allegations the team could find were from Ms. Tichenor-Cox, who alleged after Izzy’s death that Izzy was bullied because he was black or autistic,” the investigators wrote. .

They noted, however, that “Issues of race, disability and poverty sometimes intersect and, when they do, can further complicate already difficult situations.”

“It can be very difficult to clear one of the others,” the investigators wrote.

They reviewed more than 2,600 pages of documents, including Izzy’s educational assessments, Individual Education Plan, and emails between Foxboro and the district. Investigators also interviewed 47 witnesses, not including Izzy’s mother, who investigators say declined through her attorney.

The Davis School District received the report of the investigation on March 29, but waited until just before 5:30 p.m. the day before its spring break to release the findings and an attached statement to the media, KUTV reported.

“Once again, the Davis School District expresses its sadness and sincere condolences to the family of Izzy Tichenor,” the district spokesperson said. Chris Williams said in the release. “We thank the independent review team for their work and diligence. We are studying the report and considering its recommendations. We take it seriously.

“We are committed to continuing our ongoing and thorough efforts to foster a welcoming environment for all students in the Davis School District.”

Students of color and their parents have long reported a toxic environment in the neighborhood. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has reviewed more than 200 incident files containing allegations of racial harassment and other discrimination, according to DOJ findings released last September. “The Department’s investigation revealed systemic failures in the District’s handling of complaints of student-on-student and staff-on-student racial harassment, discipline of black students, and refusals to allow black students to form student groups. students,” the DOJ wrote.

The agency reported that the district was “deliberately indifferent to known racial harassment,” including white students repeatedly calling black students the N-word. “We learned of incidents in which white students called students dirty blacks, asked them why they weren’t washing their skin, and said their skin looked like feces,” the DOJ reported. , like ‘yellow’ and ‘shady’ and told them to ‘go back to China’.

The report regarding Isabella’s experience is just the latest reported incident of racism at the school. Investigators recommended that the district provide training to identify and address bullying, diversity and equity, and trauma-based poverty, as well as establish “clear protocols” regarding record keeping. “As described above, Foxboro did not document Ms. Tichenor-Cox’s complaints that Izzy was being bullied until they were made aware that Izzy had attempted suicide,” wrote investigators in the report. They also said the school did not identify Isabella’s family as the complainant when her mother reported that another student called Isabella’s sister the N-word on or around October 25, 2021.

“The district did not learn who the complainants were until November 3, 2021 – the day Ms. Tichenor-Cox told Foxboro that Izzy had attempted suicide,” investigators wrote in the report. “That same day, the District reviewed Izzy’s Encore file, which at that time Foxboro updated to include Ms. Tichenor-Cox’s complaints that Izzy’s sister had been abused. bullying for his race.

“Had the District been alerted to Ms. Tichenor-Cox’s concerns sooner, the District could have investigated the allegations and taken corrective action against the perpetrator sooner.”

Investigators concluded in the report that while the school cared about the Tichenor-Cox family and provided resources to help with her housing instability, it ultimately failed to protect Isabella. “Ms. Tichenor-Cox reported at least one incident that she believed constituted bullying in Foxboro,” investigators concluded. “Foxboro had an obligation and responsibility to Izzy to investigate Ms. Tichenor-Cox, yet Foxboro dismissed and failed to timely document her concern, and as a result, Foxboro failed to conduct the investigation that Izzy was due and deserved.

Darlene McDonald, an attorney for the Utah Black Roundtable and the Utah Education Equity Coalition, said The Salt Lake Grandstand she wishes investigators had gone further with their report after the only evidence of racial harassment cited involved Izzy’s sister.

“As a community, as a state, as people of color, we have to look at this and ask ourselves how we don’t keep going through this year after year after year,” she said.

Note: A previous version of this article used a phrase that Daily Kos no longer uses when reporting stories involving suicide. This sentence has been deleted.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, help is available. Talk to someone today.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. (After July 2022, this emergency number will change to 988.)

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