Video shows alleged bullying two days before 8-year-old’s suicide
WEST PRICE HILL, OH (FOX19) - Officials with Cincinnati Public Schools released a video that, according to family members, shows a bullying incident that may have led to 8-year-old Gabriel Taye to take his own life. Now Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters is investigating the incident as a criminal case against school officials.
The Carson Elementary student died by suicide on Jan. 26. School security video from Jan. 24 shows a fellow student apparently hit the boy inside the restroom, according to an attorney for the victim's family.
It is unclear if the prosecutor is actively pursuing specific charges.
"We miss him desperately and suffer everyday," the child's mother Cornelia Reynolds said in a statement released by her lawyer. "His life was not only stolen from him, but from those of us who expected to watch him grow up and enjoy life. If I could, I would give anything to have him back. I feel he was cheated. I feel robbed. My only child, my best friend and my first true love isn't here with us physically but I know he's here in spirit."
The events are then obscured by a bathroom wall and choppy video quality.
The video then shows the boy on the ground with his legs visible through the bathroom door.
He was unconscious for several minutes before an adult noticed the situation. Three adults then surround the boy and he's eventually able to walk himself out of the bathroom.
CPS released the video Friday, one day after the Hamilton County Coroner reopened the child's death investigation.
They also made the following statement hours after the video release.
"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.
In an effort to be completely transparent, we are releasing the video that was reviewed as part of an investigation by the Cincinnati Police Department. As all are aware, no charges resulted from that investigation. We have uploaded the video, in its entirety, blurring out faces of the students who appear to protect their privacy.
We ask that you review the video, it is entirety. It is our firm position that the allegations portrayed in the media are not supported by the video.
Cincinnati Public Schools is reviewing with faculty and staff the procedures regarding adult supervision in the restrooms. We are committed to student safety and ensuring that all CPS schools foster a positive, learning environment."
A CPS spokesperson said the school is concerned about the length of time the child lay motionless and the lack of adult supervision at the scene.
However, school officials maintain administrators followed protocol once they became aware of the situation.
A school nurse determined the boy's vital signs were normal, the spokesperson said.
Administrators told the boy's mom that he fainted, Jennifer Branch, the family's attorney, claims. She said his mother was never notified of the alleged bathroom assault.
"At no point did Gabriel indicate that he had been hit, yanked, pulled, pushed or assaulted in any way," read a statement from the school district. "He had no visible abrasions and there had been no report of a fight of any kind."
The 24-minute video appears to show a boy wearing a red vest checking out a doorway before jumping on another student inside the bathroom.
As the video continues, the boy in a red vest shakes the hand of another student in a black jacket. The boy then appears to fall on the ground and lays there motionless for several minutes.
The video shows several students walk in and out of the bathroom and check on the motionless boy.
The boy missed school on Jan. 25 and went back to Carson Elementary on Jan. 26.
"He came home from school that last day," Branch said. "Mom found him [dead] in his bedroom a few hours later."
Police have finished investigating the incident and no charges were filed.
"Though the connection between this incident at school and Gabriel's suicide are not clear, the District shared this video with police investigators at the time of the incident," according to CPS.
If you or anyone you know are feeling desperate, or beyond hope here are some phone numbers that you can call 24 hours a day for free counseling:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Talbert House's hotline line: 513-281-CARE (2273).
Talbert House's text line: Text the phrase 4hope to 839863
The state of Ohio's text line: Text the phrase 4hope to 741741
Mental Health Association of Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio: 859-431-1077
Mental Health Access Point mobile crisis line: 513-558-8888.
Mindpeace, at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 513-803-0844.
Mental Health Recovery Services of Warren & Clinton Counties: 1-877-695-6333
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