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Case Involving Bullied Carson Elementary Student's Death Moves Forward

Ambriehl Crutchfield

After a two-year appeal process, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court is allowing a wrongful death suit against Cincinnati Public Schools to move forward.

In 2017, 8-year-old Gabriel Taye took his own life, and according to the lawsuit, it was a result of bullying he suffered at Carson Elementary School.

Two days before his death, Taye was allegedly attacked in a bathroom at the school, and left unconscious for over seven minutes. The suit alleges CPS withheld information regarding the attack, and when Taye returned to the school, he was again bullied in the same bathroom. Taye died by suicide later that same day.

Jennifer Branch represents Taye's mother in the case. She said while the appeal process was taking place, she could go forward with discovery during the trial.

"During the whole pandemic we've been working the case," Branch said. "I've taken depositions of every witness, teachers, administrators. We've gotten thousands of pages of discovery from the defendants."

Branch said because the case is in civil court, CPS could lose money, but a settlement could change things within the school district.

"A settlement in a case like this could include reforms that would help CPS and Carson Elementary improve their response to bullying, and that would really be our hope," Branch said.

The court's opinion states that CPS's appeal was denied due to Carson Elementary's principal and assistant principal failing to notify Taye's parents of multiple instances of bullying. Bullies were not properly disciplined either.

It could be a year before a court date is scheduled.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to speak with a certified listener at 1-800-273-8255.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.