Friday, May 12, 2017

An 8-Year Old Committed Suicide over Bullying

Shocking.  Stunning.  Horrible.  From USA Today:

A security camera video taken inside a Cincinnati elementary school reveals that a student assaulted an 8-year-old boy in a restroom and other children may have kicked and struck the boy for 5 minutes while he lay unconscious.
 
Two days later, the child, Gabriel Taye, hanged himself.

You'd think that was the worst part but no, there's more:
In a report obtained by The Cincinnati Enquirer, a Cincinnati Police homicide detective describes the Jan. 24 Carson Elementary School video’s content: “I witnessed behavior that in my belief is bullying and could even rise to the level of criminal assault” if not for the young ages of the perpetrators.

School officials did not tell Gabriel's mother about the assault or that he had lost consciousness, only that the boy had fainted, said Jennifer Branch, a lawyer for the boy's mother. Gabriel's mother has agreed to identify her child publicly but did not wish to release her own name.
The district, the school did not tell the mom what had happened.  So when she took him to get checked at a hospital, hospital staff had no idea that he may have had a concussion from kids kicking him in the head or falling on the tile floor.

It is unclear what the nurse had been told about the child she was examining.
Later in the evening, Gabriel became nauseous and vomited twice, and his mother took him to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Branch said the boy only told his mother his stomach hurt, adding that the mother believes he did not know what had happened that day.
Right and Gabriel probably didn't know he was kicked in the stomach as he lay on the bathroom floor, nor did his mother who, in turn, could not have let hospital staff know.
He did go to school Jan. 26 and came home. But around 5:30 p.m., he went to his bedroom, knotted a loop in his necktie and hung himself from his bunk bed.

Gabriel died Jan. 26, the first youth suicide in 2017 in Hamilton County, where Cincinnati is the largest city. Seven county residents 18 and younger have died in suicides so far this year.
And, more than one child was assaulted over the course of the attack.

The police ended their investigation with no charges; it is unclear what the district is doing.

It's hard to read this and believe that any school, any district would withhold information about a child's health and safety from his parent, especially since they knew he did not faint.  Perhaps they thought they had it covered since the nurse seemed to think he was okay.

Shameful, absolutely shameful.

11 comments:

Zegota Shalom said...

It is an extreme attack on the culture, parents and staff at this school, for such behavior to happen at all. But resulting in a lost of a young life, an innocent young life is an example that our society is way too busy and too ignorant to raise children. All children are a gift and a blessing from our Heavenly Father, the lost of this young life is a warning sign to us all, that we must start at the beginning. To start with all families and all parents regardless of race, or religion, that all life is important and respect must be a priority today. Way to much violence, way to many gangs, way to many racial and bias behavior, we are all in this together and it must stop. Parenting is the beginning and the answer, we must take ownership and become the answer to our children's behavior, and stop blaming others. Parents must be involved in there children's life from day one, and be concern, educated, and caring parents. May God Bless this young child, and May God be with his parents, and all of his family. I am so sorry...

Jet City mom said...

Unfortunately, I think all schools need security cameras, and trained staff to go through them.
I was sexually assaulted on the grounds of my jr high 40 yrs ago, but it was my word against theirs.

Melissa Westbrook said...

They had security cameras; that's how the mom came to know about this.

The issue is humans and what they do or don't do.

Jet City mom said...

Precisely my point..
Think of all the incidents that we only know about because there were security cameras.
This goes on in Seattle.
But we only hear about the security cameras in the cafeteria.
Do we have any others?

Lynn said...

Jet City Mom - I'm sorry that happened to you.

Anonymous said...

Seventeen years ago this same kind of attack happened to my son on the playground at a Seattle public school. He was eight years old and so were the other boys. I was informed of the attack by the mother of one of the attackers, who was appalled at her son's behavior and took immediate and drastic action to change it. Her son was grounded for many weeks and had to spend time talking about the effects of these kinds of behaviors, what kinds of behaviors are more appropriate and why, and he was required to participate in activities where he could demonstrate to his mother that he was treating younger children and peers with kindness and consideration, in his case things like helping younger children in Sunday school. He had to apologize to my son, in her presence, twice: once the day after the attack, and once later after he had time to discuss and understand the effects of his behavior. She invited mothers of the other attackers to have their sons participate as well, some did and some didn't.

The school had contacted her to let her know that her son had been sent to the office for discipline. My son did not lose consciousness and had no visible injuries so the school did not contact me. When I asked at the office they said yes, they were aware that he might have been the target of some bullying and they had followed normal discipline procedures but they could not discuss those. They assumed my son would tell me if he had any problems. He did suffer some psychological aftereffects but he seemed to think that the attack was simply a more extreme example of how he was treated regularly by the boys in his class.

I applaud the actions of this mother. She thought the attack was an aberration, and out of character for her son, but she was taking no chances and making sure that he understood the situation thoroughly. In middle school her son was popular and was known as a peacemaker who would call out people for things like name-calling.

Yes, these things do happen here in Seattle, and we cannot assume that we will find out at the time that they happen. There does not seem to be any kind of uniform practice with respect to informing parents.

What kind of followup will there be for those boys in Ohio? I saw one mother deal with the situation effectively here, would the same thing work for other children, or not? A few years later my younger child was involved in some name-calling at school and I took a page from her book to nip it in the bud. What kind of response would other parents have? Do they have any idea how to deal with a situation where their child is a bully?

Seen Both Sides

Outsider said...

The video is on youtube, and you can watch for yourself. There is no clear indication that other students kicked or otherwise further assaulted the victim when he was unconscious on the floor. A couple of kids apparently poked the victim with their shoes, as if to see if he was really knocked out. But what is clear -- the first loyalty of the other students was to the perpetrator, not the victim. None told an adult for five minutes, even though an adult was five feet away on the other side of a door just a few seconds after the initial incident. None of these kids wanted to be in a position of being asked how it happened or who did it, and that mattered more to them than the life of the other student.

Also, if you look closely in the video, you can see an elephant in the room. Who can say with a straight face that you don't know exactly why school officials did their best to cover up the incident? Or that it won't happen again and again?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Jet City, the high schools have more video cameras in their buildings (and I believe to monitor bathroom comings and goings). That said, things still happen.

Seen Both Sides, that's a great story about a woman who knew she needed to help her son. It was a great example for both adults and children.

I think most SPS elementary schools do talk about bullying. Reporting incidents is the best policy for both adults and children.

Anonymous said...

A disabled student had his skull fractured at Washington middle school a couple years ago. (The disability irrelevant to the assault.) Washington middle school basically did nothing. They simply called home and told them that their kid wasn't feeling well and to come and get him. No police call. No ambulance. Nothing. The kid required surgery. School really isn't a safe place.

Parent

NESeattleMom said...

In my guessing from the boy's name, another layer to the bullying could be that the boy may have come from an immigrant family. I did not watch the video.
The incident is horrible, and if my guess is accurate, it may have made getting help even harder for the mother.
I cry for the boy.

Anonymous said...

The number of students who either ignore or prod the child while he's down is incredible. It looks like there was a coach or teacher just on the other side of the door. This is heart breaking. He could've died. That's what the other students need to understand with the greatest clarity. Parents need to understand and above all the principal needs to be in front of this. You set a standard for every single student to follow. If you assault a student or refuse to render aid, you're gone. There's a line between a principal telling students "Your safety is my top priority" and actually doing what it takes to convince them, yes, all of you are important and this is what happens if you hurt one of your peers. You won't be allowed to do it again. It's clear that no one cared. Likely, they were never given a reason to care.

Westside