Gabriel Taye was eight years old when his mother found him hanging, dead in his bedroom. In their lawsuit, Taye’s family claimed that Cincinnati Schools covered up the extent of bullying at Carson Elementary.
Cincinnati Public Schools expects to settle a lawsuit with the parents of an 8-year-old boy who committed suicide after being tormented by bullies.
According to CNN, Gabriel Taye was barely eight years old when he hung himself with a necktie in 2017. Taye’s family, says CNN, filed a lawsuit against Cincinnati Public Schools shortly afterward.
In their complaint, Taye’s family said that the district—along with Gabriel’s principal, assistant principal, and a school nurse—did not adequately respond to or otherwise address the boy’s complaints of harassment.
Furthermore, Taye’s family says that nobody told them of a bullying incident that allegedly occurred two days before the boy’s suicide.
The proposed settlement, says CNN, would pay $3 million to Gabriel’s family; it would also oblige the district to implement an assortment of new anti-bullying methods and procedures.
However, Cincinnati Public Schools would maintain that it did nothing wrong.
“The defendants strongly believe that neither CPS, its employees, nor the school were responsible for the tragic death of Gabriel Taye,” said Aaron Herzig, an attorney representing Cincinnati Public Schools. “CPS embraces the goal of eliminating bullying within schools, as well as continuing to refine and improve reporting, management, and training processes related to incidents of bullying.”
The New York Times notes that Gabriel was severely bullied for at least a year prior to his suicide. He was reportedly very academic—he avoided most physical confrontations and was eager to learn, but had a reputation for not being a “cool kid.”
From the first grade through the third, Gabriel Taye began exhibiting signs of trouble—he occasionally came home bearing unexplained injuries, ranging from bruises to loose teeth.
In January of 2017, school security cameras captured another incident in which Gabriel was thrown to the ground and knocked unconscious by another child.
While Gabriel’s mother decided to keep him at home the next day, his torment resumed once he went back to school on January 26—two more students accosted Gabriel in a restroom, where they tried to flush his water bottle down a toilet.
Gabriel committed suicide in his room the same day.
The New York Times quotes Gabriel’s parents as saying there were never any real indications that Gabriel was being bullied—he never complained and tried to remain cheerful. Indeed, Carson Elementary School only told Gabriel’s family about the bathroom attack after the boy was already dead.
The family, adds the Times, later discovered that multiple other parents had pulled their children out of Carson because bullying was so prevalent and relentless.
Nonetheless, Carson’s leadership only reported four bullying incidents in the prior year—despite there being dozens of complaints.
Michele Young, another attorney for the parents, said she and her clients hope that the reforms Cincinnati Schools plans to implement will help the district “become a model of how we create safety for all children.”