CPS expected to enact reforms, pay $3M to family of Gabriel Taye in wrongful death settlement
CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Public Schools is expected to reach a settlement agreement next week with the family of Gabriel Taye, an 8-year-old student who died by suicide in 2017 after he was repeatedly bullied at Carson Elementary.
The family filed a federal lawsuit against CPS in 2017, which claimed the third-grader’s suicide resulted from repeated attacks at school. Attorneys said a student knocked Taye unconscious in the boy’s restroom on Jan. 25, an attack which was caught on a school surveillance camera.
Two days later, students again accosted the third-grader in a school bathroom, attorneys said. That day, Taye went home from school and immediately hanged himself.
The family’s lawsuit also claimed that CPS officials had covered up the attack and “rampant” bullying at the school.
Attorneys for the family announced a proposed settlement Friday, and the CPS Board of Education will vote on the proposal Monday.
The settlement would include anti-bullying reforms and enhanced training for staff, improving the ability of school nurses to report suspected incidents of bullying, and using “restorative justice principles” to intervene with those who engage in bullying. The family’s counsel would meet CPS officials twice a year for the next two years to monitor these reforms.
Under the proposed settlement, CPS and a nurse employed by the city of Cincinnati would pay $3 million to the family.
“In honor of Gabe, his family is using this settlement to protect current and future CPS students. We will make sure these reforms take root and end bullying throughout the CPS system,” said the family’s lead counsel, Al Gerhardstein, in a release.
Co-counsel Carla Loon Leader and Michele Young said in the release that Taye’s parents “have fought hard” in the years since their son’s death.
“We are awed by their strength and commend them for their commitment to pursuing such a comprehensive settlement,” they said.
Aaron Herzig, a partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP and lead outside counsel for CPS, said resolving of “this difficult matter” is in the best interest of all parties.
“The defendants strongly believe that neither CPS, its employees, nor the school nurse were responsible for the tragic death of Gabriel Taye,” Herzig said in the release. “CPS embraces the goal of eliminating bullying within schools, as well as continuing to refine and improve reporting, management, and training processes related to incidents of bullying.”