8-year-old Gabriel Taye died by suicide two days later at home.
Provided by Cincinnati Public Schools
CINCINNATI — The parents of an 8-year-old Ohio boy sued his school district for his wrongful death, accusing the system Monday of allowing the school to decay into a place so terrorized by bullies that the third grader died by suicide Jan. 26. The suicide came two days after the boy was assaulted and left unconscious on a restroom floor.
The suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, also accuses Cincinnati Public Schools of covering up bullying at Carson Elementary School — not just the repeated instances against Gabriel Taye but also at least 14 other instances just in the last school year. The suit claims the school district may have destroyed security-camera recordings to shield itself from legal action.
Cincinnati Public Schools, the lawsuit said, “with utter reckless wanton disregard for Gabe, permitted a treacherous school environment to become even more so by withholding these critical facts and covering up the risk to Gabe’s safety.”
Named in the suit, which seeks unspecified damages, are the school system; Mary Ronan, who just retired as Cincinnati Public Schools superintendent; and Carson’s leaders at the time of the bullying, Ruthenia Jackson, the principal, and Jeffrey McKenzie, the assistant principal. Jackson and McKenzie have since left Carson Elementary.
Dawn Grady, spokeswoman for the school district, released a statement Monday in response to the complaint filed by Cornelia Reynolds and Benyam Taye of Cincinnati: “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.’ “
The statement said the school district would no longer comment on the matter now that litigation has begun.
In an interview with WKRC-TV that aired Monday, Reynolds said: “He would have stayed home with me, maybe homeschooled, or transferred to a different school, if I had…