School Bullying Incident Preceded 8-Year-Old Gabriel Taye’s Suicide
The boy had been knocked unconscious by a classmate two days before he killed himself.
Cincinnati Public Schools officials are facing criticism following eight-year-old Gabriel Taye’s suicide, which occurred two days after being the victim of a violent bullying incident in January.
Taye’s mother did not know her son had been bullied that day, but video surveillance footage at Carson Elementary School shows the boy being thrown against a wall by a classmate so hard that he was knocked unconscious. Taye is then seen laying on the floor motionless for nearly eight minutes before an assistant principal finds him.
Two days later, on Jan. 26, Taye hung himself with a necktie in his bedroom.
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Officials at the school contacted the mother after the bullying incident and told her that the boy had fainted, attorney Carla Leader says.
Leader learned about the bullying incident after obtaining a copy of an email sent from a homicide detective to an assistant principal at Carson Elementary in February. In the email, the detective described what he saw on the surveillance footage.
Cincinnati Public Schools said in a statement that Taye never told school officials that he’d been bullied or assaulted.
A school spokeswoman also said the detective “mischaracterized the events in the video,” when he sent the email.
Cincinnati Public Schools defended its handling of the situation in a statement released May 11.
“While we are concerned about the length of time that [the boy] lay motionless and the lack of adult supervision at the scene,” school administrators followed protocol and had a school nurse evaluate him.
Later that night the boy began vomiting and was taken to the hospital. Doctors concluded he had a stomach virus and sent him home. The doctors were not aware of the bullying incident.
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