Zyiar Harris

Photo of a boy with brown skin, wearing a gray baseball cap and black and white patterned sweater.Name: Zyiar Harris.
Died: April 10, 2022.
Age at death: 13.
Cause of death: Accident (Hit by car).
Location: Detroit, Michigan, USA.

Zyiar rode the bus to and from school. In the USA, school buses are equipped with vehicle-mounted stop signs and flashing lights, and bus drivers are required to display the signs and lights whenever they stop to load or unload students, so that drivers on the road will see the signs and stop to let the children cross the road. Because he was autistic, Zyiar’s driver was supposed to let him off the bus right in front of his own home.

However, instead of stopping in front of Zyiar’s home, Zyiar’s bus driver stopped on a busy street. She did not activate the signs or the lights when she stopped to let Zyiar off, so traffic did not stop. When Zyiar got off the bus to cross the street, he was hit by a car; and instead of stopping to help, the bus driver simply drove away.

Zyiar was taken to a hospital, but his injuries proved fatal. “My son was autistic, so you didn’t care, you just let him out, in the middle of the street,” Zyiar’s mother said. “And then when he got hit, she pulled out, she saw him get hit and still pulled off.”

The bus driver has been charged with child abuse and failing to stop after being involved in an accident.

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Final arrangements for Baby Zyair

Isabella Tichenor

Photo: An African-American girl with light-brown skin, brown hair tied into two small buns. She is smiling, showing a small gap between her front teeth. She is wearing a leopard-print sweater.Name: Isabella “Izzy” Faith Tichenor.
Died: November 7, 2021.
Age at death: 10.
Cause of death: Suicide (After long term bullying).
Location: North Salt Lake, Utah, USA.

Izzy, a fifth-grader, was constantly bullied at school for being autistic and being black. She reported the bullies multiple times; the school did nothing, and a teacher even joined in. Her mother talked to the principal; again, nothing was done.

Isabella died by suicide at the age of 10.

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Xavier Hernandez

Photo: Teenage boy with brown skin and black hair in a buzz cut, wearing a white T-shirt and a pair of big headphones.Name: Xavier Hernandez.
Died: March 2, 2021.
Age at death: 21.
Cause of death: Chlorpromazine toxicity in the setting of physical restraint.
Location: Fort Worth, Texas, USA.

Xavier was fascinated with electronics and had a talent for working with computers. His aunt remembers him as “smart, energetic, funny.” He attended a special school because he “had high support needs”.

Xavier had no history of violence when seven staff restrained him. After holding him down for a while, they thought he had calmed down, but he was actually unresponsive. An ambulance was called and he was taken to the hospital. Hours later, he was declared dead.

Not long after that, a bystander took video of another student at the same school, a small fourth-grade girl, jumping a fence and being restrained by multiple adults. The girl’s mother was horrified; she had had no idea what her daughter had been enduring.  She spoke to her daughter, who confirmed that this was not an unusual incident–that she was routinely restrained, pushed down, slammed to the ground, and sat on. Her mother immediately moved the girl to online education, but other students are still attending the same school, which is still restraining the students.

Xavier’s parents are looking for answers and demanding justice.

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Bowen Levy

Photo of a teenage boy with curly brown hair. He is grinning and his eyes are squeezed shut in laughter.Name: Bowen Levy.
Died: November 10, 2019.
Age at death: 17.
Cause of death: Choked on latex glove.
Location: Edgewater, Maryland, USA.

Bowen was an energetic teenager who was always smiling and laughing, and made everyone else around him smile too. He loved his family and he loved eating good food. Sesame Street’s Elmo was his favorite. He had two sisters.

Bowen went to a special school for severely disabled children. He needed a one-on-one aide to keep him safe; but the school, citing funding cuts and the difficulty of hiring aides, eventually denied him the aide. Bowen, lacking the supervision he needed to stay safe, tried to eat a latex glove, choked on it, and died in the hospital eight days before his 18th birthday.

In his obituary, his family says, “The world is simply a better place because he was in it.”

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Kedar Williams

Williams, KedarName: Kedar Williams.
Died: August 13, 2019.
Age at death: 19.
Cause of death: Negligence (Choked; diet plan ignored).
Location: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA.

Kedar liked people-watching at the shopping center CityPlace. He liked riding the trolley. He often sat on his grandmother’s porch, just watching people walk by. He loved dogs and, after he had begged his parents for a long while, his family adopted a Yorkshire terrier named Bella.

When Kedar was in his mid-teens, he started having problems swallowing. While eating a meal with his family, he choked and nearly died; he spent time in a medically induced coma in the hospital before recovering. Luckily, Kedar’s problem didn’t prevent him from eating on his own–he merely had to have his food cut into small pieces, and have someone sit with him when he ate to make sure he ate slowly and washed each bite down with his drink. His mother and pediatrician designed an education plan, approved by the school, that he would always have one-to-one supervision.

Only a year later, however, Kedar was riding the bus–without an aide–when he got some snack food out of his backpack, put it into his mouth and choked again. This time, Kedar’s sister intervened and saved him. His mother went to the school and insisted that Kedar’s safety plan be followed, showing them a photo of Kedar in a coma to make it clear what happened when he was not supervised while eating.

At 19 years old, Kedar was starting another school year. His previous aide wasn’t available and he hadn’t been assigned a new one. At lunch, though he was supposed to be on one-on-one supervision, he was sharing an aide with another student. Two days into the school year, Kedar tried to eat some chicken nuggets. He choked and died.

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