Two days before he took his own life at home by hanging, horrifying video of an 8-year-old being bullied unconscious in the entry way of a school bathroom has emerged.
The video shows 8-year-old Gabriel Taye lying motionless on the ground being taunted, stepped over and kicked at by kids at Carson Elementary School in Cincinnati, Ohio, before being found by a school employee in January.
According to NBC News, the boy’s mother, Cornelia Reynolds, says she was told by the school that day that her son had “fainted.”
“Mom got a call from the school. She was told her son had fainted, he’s in the nurse’s office. His vitals are fine, he’s fine and she decided to come to the school to get him to make sure he was okay and she took him home,” the mother’s attorney, Jennifer Branch, said. “Later that night he was nauseous and had fainted and thrown up a couple of times and she took him to the hospital.”
Neither the mother nor medical professionals knew that the source of the boy’s illness was no stomach virus, as it was diagnosed.
In a statement, the school said that when they asked the boy what happened he said he “fell” and later said he “fainted.”
The video tells a different story.
Two days later after the incident, Gabriel Taye hung himself in his room from his bunk bed by a necktie.
The school spokeswoman said administrators weren’t aware of the recording until days later when the detective investigating Gabriel’s suicide requested surveillance videos from security officials.
The district released copies of a choppy 24-minute-long video that shows one boy bullying other students and then, according to the mother’s attorneys, pushing Gabriel into a wall when he tried to shake the boy’s hand and knocking him unconscious. The spokeswoman said it’s unclear from the video what happened to Gabriel at that moment.
The school claims that the video does not support “allegations portrayed in the media.”
“It is our firm position that the allegations portrayed in the media are not supported by the video,” the district said in a statement released later Friday. The release also noted that police reviewed the video and no charges were filed.
An assistant principal arrived about 4½ minutes after Gabriel fell to the floor, followed by other school employees and the school nurse, who helped him to his feet. He was on the floor just over seven minutes.
Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco told Cincinnati radio station WLW on Thursday that she asked police for a full investigation to determine whether there were contributing factors to Gabriel’s suicide, WXIX-TV reported.
“It was very hard for me to believe that an 8-year-old would even know what it means to commit suicide,” Sammarco told WLW.
The district said administrators asked Cornelia Reynolds, Gabriel’s mother, to pick him up from school and take him to a hospital. Her attorneys counter that Reynolds decided on her own to pick him up and took him to the hospital after her sister, who was baby-sitting while Reynolds was at work, called to say Gabriel had vomited and was complaining of stomach pains. Doctors said he had a stomach virus and sent him home, attorney Carla Leader said.
Leader said Gabriel had no history of mental health issues and described him as a happy-go-lucky kid. When Reynolds asked him what happened at school the day he was knocked unconscious, he said he didn’t know, her attorneys said.
On Friday, a small group of demonstrators gathered on the sidewalk outside Carson Elementary, with some parents complaining about their children being bullied.
Other parents say their kids have also been bullied at the school.
Carolyn Emery has two children at the school, including a daughter who was in first grade with Gabriel. She said he was a “very loving little boy who always had a smile on his face.”
Her 9-year-old daughter, Jericka, said she has been bullied as recently as this week when another girl smacked her. She said she has seen a lot of bullying at the school and doesn’t think it will get any better.
“They won’t do anything about it,” Jericka Emery said.
Another demonstrator outside the school said her 9-year-old daughter was jumped by other girls on a school bus and had marks and bruises on her face.
“She doesn’t even want to go to school anymore, and she always liked school,” Amy Henson said. “Her grades have been slipping since this started.”
No charges have resulted from the investigation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.