A mother is heartbroken and a Cincinnati school is in shock after it was revealed the suicide of an 8-year-old boy came just two days after he was bullied and beaten unconscious by another elementary school student. Now the boy's mother is trying to bring her child justice and school officials are scrambling to explain how this vicious attack went unreported until it was too late.
According to the Daily Mail, on Jan. 24, 2017, Cornelia Reynolds picked her 8-year-old son Gabriel "Gabe" Taye up from school after teachers informed her that he had fainted in one of the boys' bathrooms. He came home and vomited, so Reynolds took Gabe to the local ER to get checked out. They told her it was probably a stomach flu.
Reynolds let Gabe stay home the following day, then sent him to school the next. But on the night of Jan. 26, Reynolds found Gabe hanging in his bedroom. He had fashioned a noose from a necktie and used his bunk bed.
At the time of his death, school officials told Reynolds that there was no evidence of bullying at the school. They stood by their claim that Gabe had fainted.
But Reynolds and her lawyer pushed the school to release of the surveillance footage. In the shocking video, which has not been publicly released, a group of boys are in the bathroom talking when another boy enters, sending many of the boys scattering. The boy who entered threatens and assaults several of the other children. Then Gabe walks in.
Jennifer Branch, the family's attorney, described the scene for Cincinnati.com: "[Gabe] actually attempts to shake the assailant's hand, and the assailant pulled him forward and slammed him into the wall and he is knocked unconscious for seven-and-a-half minutes."
Eric Karaguleff, a homicide detective who viewed the footage, described the footage as alarming: "I saw some concerning events, and I don't even have a child at that school."
Karaguleff said that the tape shows that for nearly five minutes after Gabe is knocked unconscious, "many students step over, point, mock, nudge, kick, etc.," Gabe before an assistant principal rushes in.
Branch said school officials did not tell Reynolds that Gabe had been assaulted. "If the school had told her what had happened to him in the bathroom, that he was unconscious for such a long period of time, she would have taken him to the hospital immediately, reported that to the medical professionals, and she would have called the police … That's why this is so frustrating for her, not knowing what really happened in that school."
A school spokeswoman declined to answer any questions about the situation, but had previously gone on record saying the school had zero reports of bullying in the previous term. In January, Cincinnati Public Schools even reported a decline in bullying incidents across the system.
Gabe was the first youth suicide for 2017 in his county. Already this year, seven county residents 18 years of age and younger have died from suicide. Last year, there were 13.