The family of an 8-year-old who hanged himself after violent bullying by his classmates claims his school did nothing to intervene.
The parents of Gabriel Taye, described by family as a “shining light to everyone who knew him,” are pursuing a wrongful-death suit against Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS), who they believe tolerated and covered up their son’s bullying.
Taye’s mother, Cornelia Reynolds, said she didn’t even know he was being harassed, sometimes violently, at Carson Elementary: In one incident, classmates shoved him against a wall in a bathroom, leaving him unconscious on the floor until an adult walked in. The incident was caught on security footage, which Taye’s family was only shown after lawyers saw an email from police describing the footage.
They young boy, who loved to dress up for school, hanged himself on January 16, two days after the attack in the boy’s room.
“If CPS had been honest with [Reynolds] about what happened in the bathroom, how long he had been unconscious, and the dangerous school environment Gabe had to navigate each day of third grade, she would never had let him return to Carson,” said attorney Jennifer Branch.
Meanwhile, CPS claims Taye told teachers he had fainted and never reported the bullying incident. His school district issued a statement last week lamenting Taye’s “tragic death.”
According to their suit, Taye’s family had no reason to believe he had suicidal thoughts. A GoFundMe page started to cover Taye’s funeral and a memorial has garnered more than $21,000.
“I am my son’s voice, and it will be heard,” a devastated Reynolds told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It is my obligation to make sure that this will never happen again. No, this will not go away.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, please contact The Trevor Project at 888-989-2455.