An 8-year-old boy in the Cincinnati area hung himself just two days after being bullied by classmates at his school.
Gabriel Tayes was identified by his mother as the boy who took his life following what appears to be a case of bullying and assault back in January at Carson Elementary School in Cincinnati.
After an investigation and review of evidence, no charges were filed in the case, mostly because of the ages of the subjects. But that could change with new information surfacing.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Taye Lost Consciousness After an Assault & Killed Himself Days Later
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Taye was assaulted by another student in a restroom before other classmates kicked and struck him for around five minutes while he lay on the ground unconscious.
Officials from Carson reportedly didn’t tell Taye’s mother that he was assaulted or that he was rendered unconscious. They only informed her that he fainted, her lawyer Jennifer Branch said.
Just two days later, the unthinkable happened.
Shortly after arriving home from school at 5:30 p.m. on January 26, the 8-year old hung himself in his room. He was found dead in his bedroom, using a knotted necktie to commit suicide from his bunk bed.
2. The Investigation Has Been Reopened by the Coroner
With no charges ever being filed in the case, outrage struck the community as pleas to reopen the investigation were made.
As details of the case continued to surface, Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco said she requested police reopen the investigation, implying that Taye’s death could possibly be ruled a homicide as a result of the bullying he allegedly suffered. She’s since made the decision to review all new information in relation to the Taye’s death and asked authorities to treat the matter “as a homicide” until it’s proven otherwise.
“There’s enough information here that we would like to reopen the case to look at whether we need to amend the death certificate,” Sammarco said on May 11 on WLW Radio. “It was very hard for me to believe that an 8-year-old would even know what it means to commit suicide and so I asked Cincinnati police to treat this as a homicide until proven otherwise and investigate it fully.”
Sammarco told The Enquirer after the radio program that she intends to “review all the new info including the video when it’s provided.”
3. The School District Released a Video of The Bullying
Officials from Cincinnati Public Schools initially denied a request by The Enquirer to release the security footage of Taye being bullied and refused to comment on the video or the assault. They cited the federal privacy law.
But they changed their minds May 11 and released the footage the next day.
Watch the full surveillance video above.
The security camera video, taken from a hallway camera, shows Taye inside the school being assaulted by another student in a restroom. He’s pulled to the ground by the student in the bathroom and his legs are shown in the bathroom’s doorway unmoved for over five minutes.
Taye laid on the ground as other children step over him with a few stopping to check on his well being. At one point in the video, an adult staff member is seen in the hallway and seems to be unaware that Taye is laying unconscious in the doorway.
As multiple students stop over his motionless body, a few seem to kick and nudge him. Five minutes after Taye hit the ground, an adult was alerted by students and staff responded to check on him.
CPS said that after reviewing the video, officials discussed whether or not the video should be published.
“We felt this video added to the public knowledge about what happened in this case,” the school system said in an accompanying news release. “We believe parents and members of the community have the right to important information that helps them understand how safe students at local schools are.”
4. The School Said Tayes’ Mother Didn’t Take Him to the Hospital After Being Advised to
CPS spokeswoman Janet Walsh released a statement that expressed concern in how long it took adults at the school to respond to Taye after the assault.
It said that Taye was tended to and administrators “followed protocol” once he was discovered.
A nurse at the school checked Taye’s health and reported him being in a “normal” condition. Walsh’s statement said that the nurse advised Taye’s mother to take him to a nearby hospital right away.
While we are concerned about the length of time that Gabriel lay motionless and the lack of adult supervision at the scene, when school administrators became aware of the situation they immediately followed protocol by calling the school nurse to evaluate Gabriel. The school nurse checked Gabriel’s vital signs, which were normal. She also contacted Gabriel’s mother and asked her to pick him up and take him to the hospital to be checked out.
But Branch, who’s representing Taye’s mother, fired back at that statement May 11. The attorney wrote that she took great issue with officials saying the mother was urged to take her son to the hospital. Instead, she wrote, “the nurse’s notes verify” that wasn’t in fact the case.
On the eve of Mother’s Day, it is unfortunate that CPS chose to blame Gabe’s mother for not taking him to the hospital after he was injured at school. No one from CPS told Gabe’s mother that she needed to take him to the hospital. The nurse’s notes verify this.
In fact, if his mother had been told that (he) was assaulted and was unconscious for over seven minutes on the bathroom floor, she would have taken him to the hospital and not let him return to Carson. It is helpful that CPS did not deny that Carson officials withheld this vital information from Gabe’s mother.
A small group of protesters stood outside of Carson Elementary on March 12 demonstrating against school officials and their failure to prevent the child’s death due to bullying.
After his mother picked him up from school, Taye became nauseous, vomiting twice during the evening. After puking, Taye’s mother decided to take him to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where he was evaluated.
He was released from the hospital the next morning at around 6 a.m. and it was determined he had the stomach flu, Branch said. He stayed home from school that day, but attended the next day — returning home and committing suicide inside his room.
Branch and Taye’s mother say that the matter should have been investigated immediately and police should have been called.
5. Youth Suicides Have Been on the Rise Across the Country
The death of the 8-year-old boy has led to a widespread discussion of a serious issue facing our nation: a rise in youth suicide.
The boy taking his own life was 2017’s first suicide victim in Hamilton County. There have been five more in the county since then, an alarming trend in any community.
The Enquirer reported May 5 that since 1999, residents 18 and younger in Hamilton County have committed suicide at an average of about five a year.
But there were three huge spikes in years: 16 in 2009, 11 in 2011 and 13 in 2016.
Across the nation, suicide is listed as the second-leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10-24. According to The Jason Foundation, more teens and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined.
A new series on Netflix, titled 13 Reasons Why also factors into the recent mix. The show focuses on suicide notes that a teen girl leaves behind after her suicide. An influx of calls have been reported to suicide hotlines, and Netflix has now said it’d place warnings on the show because watching it may trigger “risky behavior” for some.
Those who have suicidal thoughts or know someone who is struggling from them are advised to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.