Ohio school district expected to pay $3 million to family of 8-year-old who died by suicide, enact anti-bully reforms

Courtesy of Cornelia Reynolds

(CINCINNATI, Ohio) — The family of an 8-year-old boy who took his own life after claims of being repeatedly bullied is expected to reach a tentative $3 million settlement that calls for anti-bullying reforms with an Ohio school district.

Third grader Gabriel Taye was a student at Carson Elementary school, where he was subjected to repeated bullying that drove him to take his own life on Jan. 26, 2017, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by his family against Cincinnati Public Schools in 2017.

Attorneys for CPS and Gabriel’s families announced the proposed settlement in which the district and a nurse employed by the city, agreed to pay $3 million to the family in a joint press release Friday.

The CPS Board of Education will vote to approve the settlement Monday. ABC News has reached out to the Board for comment.

The settlement also calls for anti-bullying reforms including staff training, efforts to identify repeat bullying offenders and victims, improve the ability of school nurses to report suspected incidents of bullying and the use of “restorative justice principles” to intervene with students engaging in bullying.

“In honor of Gabe, his family is using this settlement to protect current and future CPS students. We will make sure these reforms take root and end bullying throughout the CPS system,” the family’s lead counsel, Al Gerhardstein, said in the release.

In the agreement, CPS and the family’s counsel will meet twice a year for the next two years to monitor the reforms.

The proposal also seeks to place “an appropriate memorial” for Gabriel at Carson Elementary School.

Aaron Herzig, lead outside counsel for CPS, said the resolution “is in the best interest of all parties.”

“The defendants strongly believe that neither CPS, its employees, nor the school nurse were responsible for the tragic death of Gabriel Taye. CPS 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,” he said.

The settlement was made to “avoid the cost and uncertainty of continuing the disputes” between the two parties, according to the release.

Attorneys said a student knocked Gabriel unconscious in the boy’s restroom on Jan. 24, 2017, which was caught on a school surveillance camera. In that incident Gabriel spent “more than seven minutes unconscious on the floor while students repeatedly taunted and kicked him,” according to the lawsuit. Two days later students bullied him again in the bathroom and after school he went home and hanged himself the same day, per the lawsuit.

Gabriel’s parents contended that school officials knew about the bullying but were “deliberately indifferent,” and withheld information about the bullying he suffered from them, while allowing for a “treacherous school environment.”

Cincinnati Public Schools released a statement in response to the 2017 lawsuit saying, “As we have stated previously pertaining to Gabriel’s passing, 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.”

Prosecutors investigated Gabriel’s death and closed the case without charges. The coroner ruled his death a suicide.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or worried about a friend or loved one help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 [TALK] – for free confidential emotional support 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Even if it feels like it – you are not alone

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