Attorneys for the mother of an 8-year-old Cincinnati boy say he was viciously bullied two days before committing suicide.
Attorney Jennifer Branch says school surveillance video shows Carson Elementary School student Gabriel Taye being pushed against the wall and knocked unconscious by another student in the boy’s bathroom Jan. 24. The student had reportedly been hiding out in the bathroom, threatening and assaulting other students.
In the footage, which hasn’t been released to the media, Branch said you see the 8-year-old child walk into the bathroom and try to shake the attacker’s hand, but the attacker forcefully pulls him forward and slams him into the wall.
“[Taye] ends up on the floor, unconscious, for seven-and-a-half minutes” before the assistant principal and school nurse come to his aid, Branch told local station WLWT. Other students are then seen mocking the boy and kicking him while he was down, she said.
School officials notified the boy’s mother, telling her that her son had fainted. They left out the part about the violent attack, however.
Local station WKRC reported that Taye vomited a few times that night, so his mother took him to the hospital where it was assumed he had the stomach flu. Just two days later, on Jan. 26, Taye took his life at his Cincinnati home after school.
“If the school had told mom that ‘Your son was assaulted, ‘Your son had lost consciousness for seven minutes,’ she would have immediately taken him to the hospital and had him examined,” Branch said. “She’s devastated that her son’s second-to-last day was so painful for him and that she didn’t know and that she couldn’t protect him.”
Taye’s family also blames the school for leaving them in the dark about the attack and possible bullying at the school.
“I just feel like enough is not being done, and I feel like stuff is being swept under the rug,” the boy’s mother, Cornelia Reynolds, told Fox 8 Cleveland.
Now, Branch and Reynolds are hoping that parents and students will come forward with more information.
A friend of the 8-year-old boy provided FOX19 NOW with a statement that said:
“[Taye] was a shining light to everyone who knew and loved him. We miss him desperately and suffer everyday without him. His life was stolen not only from him, but from those of us who expected to watch him grow up.”
Taye’s family has since launched a memorial fund to help cover funeral expenses.
Cincinnati Police said they’ve investigated the incident. School officials haven’t responded to requests for comment.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).