The Cincinnati Public Schools are holding firm on their belief that the district is not liable for the death of Gabriel Taye, an 8-year-old boy who reportedly committed suicide after being bullied.
According to the Associated Press, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports school officials said the district is pushing for the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a federal trial judge’s refusal to dismiss the parents’ wrongful death lawsuit.
While school officials claim Gabriel told the staff at Carson Elementary School that he had fainted outside a school restroom on Jan. 24, 2017 and never reported he’d been bullied or assaulted, his parents argue the opposite. They say the school never informed them that Gabriel was knocked unconscious by another student during an altercation outside the restroom, the AP reports.
Video released by the district of the incident in question, which took place two days before Gabriel reportedly committed suicide, showed the boy laying on the floor and appeared to be unconscious. He was lying on the floor for approximately 7-minutes, the AP reports.
The video showed one boy bullying other students and then, according to the family’s attorneys, he pushed Gabriel into a wall knocking him unconscious.
The district’s spokeswoman said it’s unclear from the video what happened to Gabriel at that moment, the AP reports.
About 4 and a half minutes after Gabriel fell to the floor, an assistant principal arrived, followed by other school employees and the school nurse. According to the surveillance video, they helped him to his feet, the AP reports.
The school nurse then called Gabriel’s mother, Cornelia Reynolds, and reported he had fainted.
According to the lawsuit, Gabriel returned to school two days later on Jan. 26, 2017, and was bullied again. Later that evening, he killed himself, the AP reports. Reynolds said she didn’t know about the bullying until after Gabriel’s death.
The family’s attorney, Jennifer Branch, said in a court hearing on Wednesday (Dec. 4), the family is accusing school officials of covering up the violence and bullying that Gabriel faced on multiple occasions, which in turn holds the school liable for his death, BuzzFeed reports.
Branch told a panel of judges in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, “These parents had no idea what was going on at Carson Elementary School,” BuzzFeed reports.
Branch added that Gabriel’s parents had “no idea how dangerous his third-grade school was.”