Marc Hoover:
Could Gabriel Taye’s suicide possibly have been prevented?

Marc Hoover

A disturbing video came to light recently about Gabriel Taye, a bullied 8-year-old who committed suicide. On January 24, 2017, video footage at Carson Elementary in Cincinnati, Ohio showed another student assaulting Taye and then leaving him motionless in the school’s restroom. While Taye was unconscious, the video showed several other students walking by without showing any concern for Tae’s well-being. After what seemed like an eternity, the first adult appeared to provide assistance.

Marc Hoover

Within three days of the beating, Gabriel Taye would be found dead in his room. The coroner ruled Tye’s death a suicide. After this, the story gets confusing. Through attorney Jennifer Branch, she stated that Cornelia Reynolds, the mother of Gabriel said the school had withheld details about the savage attack on her son. Reynolds said the school told her that her son had fainted, which I find disturbing.

Someone has failed this child and his mother. When we send our children to school, we expect the school to protect them. We never expect our children to be beaten or threatened. Unfortunately, bullying is an ongoing problem that has occurred since the creation of public schools. I can remember facing a few bullies when I was a student. In one instance, the boy who bullied me was older and had outweighed me by more than 100 pounds.

After telling my parents about the bully, they immediately contacted the school. Thankfully, a stern warning from the principal kept this bully away from me. Unfortunately, no one intervened on Tye’s behalf. I cannot imagine what must have gone through this child’s mind before he chose to end his life. For an 8-year-old child to consider suicide is disturbing. He was at a point in his life where he felt his situation was hopeless and he couldn’t go to anyone for help. No child should feel this emotionally embattled.

Based on public outcry, a released video and comments from Cornelia Reynolds, the coroner and prosecutor’s office have decided to take another look at the case. They are even considering homicide charges. So the next question is who do you hold accountable?

Obviously, any student that assaulted Tye should face assault charges or something similar. And if it’s true the school withheld the assault from the mother or law enforcement, then the school must take some responsibility for the attack. Murder charges seem implausible, but someone must be held accountable for this child’s death. Cornelia Reynolds will be the advocate for her son and has already demanded justice for her dead son. She has said she isn’t letting this go and wants to make sure he isn’t forgotten.

Statistics on youth suicides are staggering. The website has provided the following facts involving youth suicide:

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for young people. According to the CDC, roughly 4,400 young people commit suicide annually

Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to a Yale University study

A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying.

According to ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of bullying

Forms of bullying aren’t limited to physical assaults. Other forms of bullying include emotional bullying, cyberbullying and sexting. The site provides warning signs:

-Signs of depression which may include not eating or sleeping
-Giving away personal effects

Although I don’t know if Gabriel Taye showed any signs of suicide, he likely expressed fear about returning to school. All the details of this case aren’t known yet. I don’t know if Gabriel told his mother about the assault or if he mentioned it to anyone else. It’s just a tragedy that such a beautiful child felt that suicide was his only way out of a desperate situation. Suicide is never the answer, but an 8-year-old child doesn’t have the maturity to handle a crisis like an adult. It’s just unfortunate that no one from the school stepped in to comfort this child and reassure him that help was available.

Marc is a grandparent and longtime resident of Clermont County. Visit his author page Life with Grandpa and his blog Wise Grandpa.