The parents of an 8-year-old Ohio boy who killed himself in his home back in January have filed a civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit against Cincinnati Public Schools.
The lawsuit claims that the boy’s school did not adequately respond to the fact that Gabriel Taye was being bullied; nor did the school tell his parents about a brutal bullying incident in the bathroom that left the 8-year-old unconscious, CNN reports. Two days after the bathroom incident, Gabriel would hang himself with a necktie.
Video of the shocking bathroom encounter shows a group of bullies beating up an unconscious Gabriel, with students stepping over his body and pointing at, nudging and kicking him for about five minutes before an assistant principal finds him on the bathroom floor.
According to CNN, the Cincinnati Public Schools said in a statement Monday that it was aware of the lawsuit, but did not offer any further comments.
“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 district said.
After Gabriel’s death, a Cincinnati police homicide detective reviewed the security footage from Gabriel’s school, Carson Elementary. According to CNN, the detective acknowledged that he saw “bullying” and that the behavior of the kids involved “could even rise to the level of criminal assault.”
Back in May, school officials released the footage from the bathroom to the public after the detective’s email describing what it showed started making the rounds. However, officials insisted in a statement, “It is our firm position that the allegations portrayed in the media are not supported by the video.”
The lawsuit also claims that the school knowingly withheld from Gabriel’s parents exactly what happened in the bathroom. After the incident, he was taken to the nurse’s office. His mother took him to the hospital later that day when he began to show signs of nausea. That is where the story from school officials and Gabriel’s mother begins to separate.
Jennifer Branch, an attorney representing Gabriel’s mother, Cornelia Reynolds, said that the school said that the young boy had fainted and mentioned nothing about what happened in the bathroom.
School officials, however, claim in a statement that a school nurse called Reynolds to pick up Gabriel and take him to the hospital, although the statement does not clarify what was wrong with Gabriel at the time of the incident.
Cincinnati Public Schools insists that its employees followed proper procedures.
“The school nurse checked Gabriel’s vital signs, which were normal. She also contacted Gabriel’s mother and asked her to pick him up and take him to the hospital to be checked out,” the district said in a statement.
The lawsuit, however, claims that there is “a culture of violence at Carson Elementary School that the school hid from the parents.”
Whatever the outcome of the lawsuit, Gabriel stayed home from school the day after the bathroom incident but returned to school the following day. That afternoon his mother found him in his bedroom, dead.
Read more at CNN.