WARNING: The video footage discussed in this article may be disturbing to some.
A surveillance video that shows the bullying of an 8-year-old Cincinnati boy who eventually committed suicide has surfaced, prompting the reopening of an investigation. Gabriel Taye was beaten and bullied in a school bathroom earlier in the year, and then hanged himself just days later.
The coroner reopened the case after security-camera video from Carson Elementary School was presented to the public on Friday by the Cincinnati Public Schools system, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer.
The Jan. 24 video shows Gabriel being pulled head first into a bathroom wall and then goes on to reveal he lay on the floor for more than six minutes as some students ignored him, with others kicking and poking at him without offering help. It wasn’t until an assistant principal came by that he was picked up off the floor.
The tape was made public after the Enquirer requested its release, prompting a flurry of statements from city officials. The coroner, Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco, told the paper that the tape will be reviewed by her office but most likely won’t have an effect on the determination of Gabriel’s death.
CPS officials say they too will be reviewing the video with faculty and staff, and will reinforce procedures regarding adult supervision in the bathrooms. The school system is defending itself against allegations that it was responsible for Gabriel’s death and is asking for the public to patiently await the Cincinnati Police Department’s findings.
The school does appear to be at some manner of fault, as a CPS spokesperson revealed that an adult administrator is supposed to monitor students entering the bathrooms. However, the bathroom was left unsupervised, although the assistant principal was across the hall in the cafeteria.
In an Associated Press report, Gabriel’s mother, Cornelia Reynolds, said in a statement Friday that her son’s voice “will be heard” and does not intend to let the issue rest.
“It is my obligation to make sure that this will never happen again,” said Reynolds. “No, this will not go away. People need to know the truth and help fix this epidemic in our society by spreading awareness and speaking up.”
Reynolds’s legal team said she didn’t know that her son was being bullied at school until she saw an email from a CPD detective depicting the scene in the now-released video. Gabriel was found hanging in his bedroom two days later.
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