June 5, 2021 – In Breaking News – THE NEW YORK TIMES
For at least a year, Gabriel Taye, 8, was severely bullied at his elementary school in Cincinnati.
Gabriel, a third grader who dreamed of joining the military and liked to dress up in neck ties, was punched, beaten and mocked repeatedly by students at Carson Elementary School, according to a federal lawsuit.
On Jan. 24, 2017, a student yanked him to the floor in a restroom, knocking him unconscious, the lawsuit said.
Video footage shows Gabriel on the floor, unconscious, for at least seven minutes as other children walked by, some kicking him, others pointing fingers.
His mother, unaware of what had happened, sent him back to school two days later.
(WARNING: Graphic video. Cincinnati school officials released a surveillance video Friday showing a disturbing incident involving an 8-year-old boy two days before he hanged himself. The video, from a hallway camera at Carson School, shows Gabriel Taye pulled to the ground by another student in a bathroom. His legs are visible in the bathroom doorway. Taye remains on the ground as other boys come and go from the bathroom, in some cases stepping over him. Courtesy of WCPO 9 and YouTube. Posted on May 12, 2017.)
Gabriel was bullied again. When he went home that afternoon, he took one of his neckties and hanged himself from his bunk bed.
More than four years after his death by suicide, the Cincinnati Public Schools has agreed to pay his family $3 million and to create a more robust anti-bullying system that would be monitored twice a year by lawyers for Gabriel’s parents.
A memorial for Gabriel will be placed at Carson under the agreement, which was announced on Friday.
The school board is expected to vote on the settlement on Monday.
“We will make sure these reforms take root and end bullying throughout” the school system, Al Gerhardstein, one of the lawyers for Gabriel’s family, said.
Aaron M. Herzig, a lawyer for the district, said the administration “strongly believes” that the district and school employees were not responsible for his “tragic death.”
“Resolution of this difficult matter is in the best interest of all parties,” he said.
He said the district “does embrace the elimination of bullying within schools, as well as continuing to refine and improve reporting, management and training processes related to incidents of bullying.”
Gabriel, who tried to avoid fighting and talked eagerly about learning, was not known as a “cool kid,” according to a teacher, the complaint said.
At first, he excelled academically at Carson, which starts at pre-K and goes to the sixth grade.
In the first and second grade, Gabriel came home from school with injuries, including two loose teeth. School officials told the boy’s mother, Cornelia Daniels, that he had an accident on the playground.
But in the third grade, Gabriel’s grades began to drop and the injuries got worse. Ms. Daniels, a nurse, began to suspect that her son was being bullied.
He would come home with a scraped knee, a bruised elbow or wrist, or a twisted ankle.
School officials rarely told Ms. Reynolds or Gabriel’s father, Benyam Taye, about any physical confrontations.
(A judge on in October 2018 denied Cincinnati Public Schools’ request to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the parents of an 8-year-old boy who died by suicide last January. Courtesy of WCPO 9 and YouTube. Posted on Oct 1, 2018.)
(Cornelia Daniels has a special room in her house dedicated to her son, Gabriel. Courtesy of Local 12 and YouTube. Posted on Apr 20, 2020.)
Editor’s note: Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Gabriel Taye. As the grandparent of a young child who suffered bullying at his primary school which went unresolved by school authorities, I cannot imagine the depth of your despair in losing this awesome and amazing little boy. Your efforts on his behalf to create Anti-Bullying Reforms and Provide Resources for Positive Change are an inspiration to us all and we salute you.
To Learn More, please visit the Gabriel B. Taye Foundation at gabrielbtayefoundation.org, a 501(c)(3) foundation created by Gabriel’s mother Cornelia Daniels, that is actively working to remove the societal stigma of bullying and mental health to create positive change in the lives of children and teens.
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