By Dan Yount

The Cincinnati Herald Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education (CPS) and the Gabe Taye Family reached a settlement agreement to resolve the lawsuit filed after Gabe’s death. The agreement was approved by the Board of Education on Monday, June 7.

Gabriel Taye, an eight-year-old boy, committed suicide on Jan. 26, 2017, following bullying at his school, Carson Elementary School, 4323 Glenway Ave. in West Price Hill. His parents filed the lawsuit alleging CPS knew he was the victim of bullying, including an attack by classmates that left him unconscious for more than seven minutes, yet misrepresented to his mother he had merely “fainted.” CPS also allegedly concealed from his parents the extent of the bullying that went on at Carson Elementary School. The settlement builds on the bullying reporting system now in place at CPS and includes the following additional non-economic terms:

1. Improved efforts to identify bullying by tracking repeat offenders, repeat victims and repeat locations where acts of bullying take place regardless of how the school or district becomes aware of the bullying;

2. Improving the ability of school nurses to report suspected incidents of bullying within the district’s reporting system;

3. Intervening with those engaged in bullying by using restorative justice principles;

4. Adopting the state model policy for deterring bullying;

5. Training and supervising all staff to follow the reforms; and

6. Placing an appropriate memorial to Gabriel Taye at Carson School. CPS and Plaintiffs’ Counsel will meet twice a year for the next two years to monitor these non- economic terms.

The defendants, including a nurse employed by the City of Cincinnati, have also agreed to pay a total of $3 million as part of the settlement. The settlement agreement was made to avoid the cost and uncertainty of continuing the disputes between them.

Gabriel Taye told school staff he fainted and never told administrators he was bullied or hit, a school spokeswoman said.

Taye was captured on a 24-minute video falling to the floor outside a boy’s bathroom at Carson Elementary School in West Price Hill on January 24. Two days later, he hung himself in his bedroom with a necktie. Cincinnati Public Schools officials said they weren’t aware of the incident outside the boy’s room until investigators asked to review it.

The district released a video of the incident. In the video, Taye walks into the restroom and reaches out to shake hands with another student. That student instead pulls him into the restroom wall, and he drops to the ground. The other student disappears. For more than six minutes, Gabriel does not move as other students poke, kick, touch or walk past his unmoving form. The assistant principal arrives more than 4 minutes later, and he is joined by other adults. They get Gabriel on his feet, and he walks away with them. District officials said in a statement, “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.’’ Cornelia Reynolds, the boy’s mother, said she got a call from the school to pick Gabriel up because he had faint-ed. She said the school did not tell her that her child had been assaulted. Later that night, he began vomiting. She took him to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where he was treated and released the next morning as a case of stomach flu. He stayed home from school that day but returned to Carson Elementary the next day.

That evening, he hanged himself with his tie from his bunk bed. Lead counsel for the family, Al Gerhardstein, stated, “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.” Co-Counsel Carla Loon Leader and Michele Young added, “These parents have fought hard for the four years since Gabe’s death. We are awed by their strength and commend them for their commitment to pursuing such a comprehensive settlement.”

Aaron Herzig, a partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP and lead outside counsel for CPS, said, “Resolution of this difficult matter 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 embraces the goal of eliminating bullying within schools, as well as continuing to refine and improve reporting, management, and training processes related to incidents of bullying.”

To view the 25-minute video, go to Gabe Taye Family, CPS agree to anti-bullying reforms, financial settlement.

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