Lawmakers approve bill inspired by Izzy Tichenor to track who gets bullied at school
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers passed a bill to require school officials to collect data on kids who are getting bullied. That data would include the victim’s demographics. The bill was inspired by Izzy Tichenor who died by suicide after reporting being bullied at school.
Rep. Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City, said H.B. 428 is designed to address bullying and harassment in schools.
“I’m trying to protect all our children in the school system,” Hollins told House lawmakers. “They should feel safe there.”
This comes after 10-year-old Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor — who was Black — died by suicide after her family says she was bullied.
“We all sat in horror this past year as a young girl, Izzy, 10-year-old, took her life. And decided that death was better than stepping back into her school,” Hollins said.
The bill passed in both the House and Senate and is on the way to the governor’s desk.
The story of Izzy Tichenor
Back in mid-November, the Davis School District announced it would be opening an investigation into the death of Tichenor.
Her family said her death by suicide came after being bullied at school for being autistic, and it came a month after the United States Department of Justice issued a report about a “culture of racism” within the district.
The report found Black students reported being called the “n-word” regularly. They were also frequently told things like their skin looked dirty.
The district’s superintendent, Reid Newey, said they were striving to make changes in the district.
Since then, the district has hired a new assistant superintendent. Dr. Jacqueline Thompson was selected for the position back in November, in the middle of the Tichenor investigation.
Since then, Thompson has been at the head of how the Davis School District has been handling bullying and the investigation into Tichenor’s death, along with other allegations of racism and bullying. This includes a partnership to combat discrimination as well.