Saturday, October 23, 2021

Family of Ohio Boy Who Committed Suicide Over Bullying to Receive $3M from School District

Gabriel Taye

*The parents of an 8-year-old Ohio boy who killed himself after being bullied repeatedly at school reached a tentative $3 million settlement that calls for anti-bullying reforms in the school district.

Third-grader Gabriel Taye was a student at Carson Elementary school, where his parents claim he was subjected to repeated bullying. The relentless harassment prompted the boy to take his own life on Jan. 26, 2017. He was found dead two days after being knocked unconscious by fellow classmates, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by his family against Cincinnati Public Schools in 2017, ABC News reports.

The school district will pay $3 million to Taye’s family, and the settlement also calls for anti-bullying reforms and staff training to identify bullies and victims. Per Complex, the proposal also seeks “an appropriate memorial” for Gabriel at the school, as well as the use of “restorative justice principles” to intervene with students engaging in bullying, per the report. 

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“In honor of Gabe, his family is using this settlement to protect current and future CPS students. We will make sure these reforms take root and end bullying throughout the CPS system,” the family’s lead counsel, Al Gerhardstein, said in the release.

As part of the agreement, CPS and the family’s legal team will meet twice a year for the next two years to monitor the reforms, according to the report. 

“We are awed by their strength and commend them for their commitment to pursuing such a comprehensive settlement,” co-counsels Carla Loon Leader and Michele Young​​​​​​​ told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The lawsuit, filed in 2017, alleged that school officials “deliberately withheld vital information from his mother, including that he had been assaulted, lost consciousness for a considerable period of time and was at risk of a serious head injury. Defendants informed his mother only that Gabe had fainted in the boys’ restroom and had recovered completely.” 

In May 2017, Cincinnati Public Schools released surveillance video recorded Jan. 24 outside a boys’ bathroom at Carson, which showed several students attacking Taye. The boy’s parents claim school officials knew about the bullying and covered it up. 

Officials at the elementary school said back in 2019 that it’s not their responsibility to intervene in violent clashes between students. Cincinnati Public Schools released a statement in response to the lawsuit at the time, calling the death “tragic,” and added, “Now that litigation has been initiated, we offer no further comments regarding this matter at this time.”

“As we have stated previously pertaining to Gabriel’s passing, 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,” the school added. 

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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