The parents of an 8-year-old boy who committed suicide in his Cincinnati home in Jan., have filed a lawsuit against the Cincinnati Public School district, where their son attended.
The civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit, which was filed on Monday, alleges that school officials did not respond accordingly to their son Gabriel Taye being bullied at school; nor did they inform them of a bullying incident that occurred just two days before his death outside of a boy’s school bathroom, CNN reported.
Security footage released by the Cincinnati Public Schools, shows the child falling unconscious outside the bathroom in an incident that they believe may have led to the boy’s suicide, an attorney for the family said. Attorneys also said, Cornelia Reynolds–Taye’s mother– did not know her son was bullied until lawyers saw a Cincinnati police detective’s email describing the scene, according to the Associated Press.
“If I had only known,” were Reynold’s words after the family’s attorney, Jennifer Branch, described the scene to her.
According to CNN, who obtained a copy of the email, the detective said he saw “bullying” and behavior that “could even rise to the level of criminal assault.” However, the 24-minute long video does not necessarily portray these direct accounts.
In the video, Taye appears to shake hands with another boy in the entryway of a bathroom before falling to the ground where he remains for several minutes. School staff members then come to the scene where they help him up and walk him away. In a statement released by Cincinnati Public Schools, Taye at the time said he “fell” and then later said 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,” the school district said in the statement.
On Jan. 26, just two days later, Taye hanged himself with a necktie in his home.
“If CPS had been honest with her 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,” Branch said in a statement.
After the incident, Taye was taken to the nurse’s office where they called his mother 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,” CPS said.
Though the school told Reynolds that her son had fainted, there was no mention of what happened in the Bathroom, Branch told CNN.
Prosecutors have since closed the investigation into Taye’s death without charging anyone.
“Gabriel was a shining light to everyone who knew and loved him,” the boy’s mother said in a statement. “We miss him desperately and suffer everyday.”
The school district also expressed their sympathy for the family and described Taye as “an outstanding young man.”
Feature Image via Flickr/Brian Turner