Davis District announces team to review events at Foxboro Elementary School prior to 10-year-old girl’s death by suicide
Review to include interviews of Izzy Tichenor’s family, school personnel and students in fifth, sixth grades
The Davis School District announced Friday the members of an independent team that will review events at Foxboro Elementary School preceding the death by suicide of 10-year-old student Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor.
Team members include Abby Dizon-Maughan, an attorney with the Salt Lake law firm Parsons Behle & Latimer; Brian Garlock, a licensed clinical social worker who is an expert in interviewing children about trauma; and education consultant Michelle Love-Day, considered an expert in education equity.
Dizon-Maughan is former president of the Utah Minority Bar Association, chairwoman of the NAACP Salt Lake branch’s criminal justice committee and leads the Professional Standards Review Board, which reviews West Valley City Police Department officer-involved critical incidents.
Garlock is a licensed clinical social worker with 20 years of experience working with children and teens. He has extensive experience in trauma-informed interview techniques, and focuses much of his private practice on suicide prevention training.
Love-Day has taught elementary school and has been an elementary school administrator. Her educational consulting business provides families and students of color tools and avenues to navigate the educational system.
The school district received input from several sources in assembling the team, including Department of Justice attorneys, representatives of the Children’s Justice Center state board, mental health professionals, staff at the Utah State Board of Education, special education professionals and educators actively involved with the Black community, officials said.
“We believe the members of the team have the experience and credentials to conduct a thorough, impartial, and complete review of the allegations,” according to a statement by the school district.
According to her family, Tichenor took her life on Nov. 6 at her family home after she was bullied at the North Salt Lake school because she was Black and had an autism spectrum disorder. Her family has said their complaints to the school and the district that were ignored.
Izzy’s death occurred shortly after the release of the DOJ’s findings of a two-year investigation that found “serious and widespread racial harassment” of Black and Asian American students.”
The district is in the early stages of a process to address the DOJ’s findings under a settlement agreement with the federal agency.
Following Izzy’s death, the school district announced it would seek an independent investigation of what had occurred at Foxboro Elementary School.
“The district further determined that a team of investigators with various areas of expertise will bring important perspectives that a sole investigator could not,” a document released Tuesday states.
The review will include interviews with staff and fifth and sixth graders and possibly younger students, according to a memorandum of understanding between the school and review team.
The review team will send notices to parents of students it intends to interview.
“If any parent requests that their child not be interviewed, the district will honor that request and will notify the review team,” the document states.
Tyler Ayres, attorney for the Tichenor-Cox family, has indicated that Izzy’s family will be available for interviews.
Asked for comment, Ayres said, “We appreciate this step towards addressing the racial insensitivity exhibited in Davis County School District and Foxboro Elementary. We are skeptical as to whether the investigation will result in significant change without extreme sanctions for those demonstrating the deliberate indifference identified in the DOJ report.”
The independent team will review current processes and practices for receiving and responding to allegations of bullying at Foxboro Elementary School.
The team will not determine legal liability or draw any legal conclusions regarding potential violations of state or federal law, according to the memorandum of understanding between the parties.
“The review team is asked only to provide findings of fact regarding the specific allegations, and offer recommendations regarding processes and practices for receiving and responding to allegations of bullying” at the school, the document states.
At the conclusion of the review, the team will produce a report with its findings and recommendations.
“The review team will have as much time as it needs to complete its investigation, and after the investigation concludes, we will release the team’s findings and take all appropriate steps moving forward,” a statement from the school district said.