Bullied to death? Cincinnati Public Schools sued over 8-year-old's suicide
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The family of an 8-year-old boy, who hanged himself, has filed a lawsuit that claims school administrators failed in their responsibility to help protect him.
The suit filed on behalf of Gabe Taye's parents allege a treacherous school environment that led to the boy's suicide.
It names the board of education, the superintendent at the time, and Carson Elementary's former principal and former vice principal. It also alleges a cover-up of bullying the suit says was common at Carson Elementary.
They cite the surveillance video in the school bathroom that shows Gabe being yanked to the floor. He hits his head and is unconscious for seven minutes. According to the claim his parents were never told of this.
His mother says if she knew his suicide could have been prevented. "He would have stayed home with me, maybe home schooled, or transferred to a different school, if I had known that he was going through at Carson. It could have been prevented. It could have been prevented."
"Not only did they withhold the violence, and they withheld video, they withheld his medical information," said attorney Jennifer Branch. "All of that is failure on the school district. They did not protect this child. They did not inform his parent. They did not let his family know what was happening to him so they could protect him"
The lawsuit also documents other incidents involving Gabe.
In response to the lawsuit, Cincinnati Public Schools referred Local 12 to its previous statement from when the district released the surveillance video.
"Our hearts are broken by the loss of this child, and our thoughts are with his parents and extended family. He was an outstanding young man, and this is a great loss for his family and our school community.
In an effort to be completely transparent, we are releasing the video that was reviewed as part of an investigation by the Cincinnati Police Department. As all are aware, no charges resulted from that investigation. We have uploaded the video, in its entirety, blurring out faces of the students who appear to protect their privacy.
We ask that you review the video, in its entirety. It is our firm position that the allegations portrayed in the media are not supported by the video.
Cincinnati Public Schools is reviewing with faculty and staff the procedures regarding adult supervision in the restrooms. We are committed to student safety and ensuring that all CPS schools foster a positive, learning environment.
Timing of events: Third-grade lunch at Carson School, 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., January 24, 2017
Staff members at Carson were notified by a student that “a boy is laying on the ground outside of the bathroom.”
Once staff members were told about Gabriel, they arrived on the scene to check on him. The staff included the Assistant Principal, a paraprofessional, the lunchroom worker, the school nurse and the Principal.
When checking on Gabriel, the school staff members asked him what happened. He responded that he “fell.” He later said that he “fainted.” At no point did Gabriel indicate that he had been hit, yanked, pulled, pushed or assaulted in any way. He had no visible abrasions and there had been no report of a fight of any kind.
Gabriel walked away from the scene with school staff and proceeded to the nurse’s office. His mother was called to pick him up. When she arrived, she was told that, while Gabriel’s vital signs were good, she also should take him to the hospital.
Cincinnati Public Schools became aware of the video after a homicide officer asked for footage of the incident depicted in the video."