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Saturday, November 13, 2021

An Autistic Student Killed Herself. She was Ten.

Almost 40 percent of youth with an autism spectrum disorder never get together with friends, and 50 percent of never receive phone calls from friends. These figures are higher than for peers with intellectual disability, emotional disturbance, or learning disability. When school ends, many adults with autism have grim prospects. Though evidence is sparse, it seems that most do not find full-time jobs. Compared with other people their age, they have higher rates of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and suicide attempts.
One recent victim was just ten years old.

Jordan Miller at The Salt Lake Tribune:
The Davis School District “will be bringing in an independent investigation” to look into the bullying of 10-year-old Izzy Tichenor, who died by suicide last weekend, according to a news release.

According to the statement, the investigation will also review the district’s “handling of critical issues,” like bullying, so that it can provide a safe environment for students.

Izzy’s mother, Brittany Tichenor-Cox, said Monday that she reached out to the district several times to discuss Izzy’s treatment from teachers and classmates, but the abuse of her daughter for being Black and autistic was allowed to continue without intervention.

Just a few weeks before Izzy’s death, a report from the U.S. Department of Justice showed the district had intentionally ignored hundreds of reports of racial harassment, including incidents where Black students were called slaves, the N-word, and threatened that they would be lynched.

“The death of Izzy is tragic and devastating,” the district said in a statement. “Our hearts continue to be with the family, friends and community who are grieving this loss. The well-being of our students will always be a priority, and we are committed to preventing this from happening in the future.”

According to Fox 13, Gov. Spencer Cox said he would be meeting with the Davis School District and other districts to discuss bullying.

The district will also be providing resources to community members who are struggling with the loss. Trained and licensed therapists will be available to help children and parents facilitate conversations about feelings of depression, bullying or isolation, according to the statement.

“The tragedy of suicide can be far-reaching, and it’s not uncommon to feel grief for the loss of someone you have never met, especially if there’s a feeling of shared commonality,” the district said in the statement.

Individuals can contact the district’s Student and Family Resource Department at 801-402-5155.