Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Your child commits suicide. Your response? File a lawsuit, months after the fact. Not a good idea.

In January, 8 year old Gabriel Taye, a 3rd grader at Carson Elementary School in Cincinnati, committed suicide by hanging himself with a necktie off his bunk bed. It sounds ludicrous, I know, but the circumstances surrounding Taye's death are in the news again today.

Seems the lad was supposedly "bullied" at school, and although there is no real, hard evidence to support the allegations, Taye's parents have decided to file a lawsuit, alleging that officials at Carson Elementary supposedly withheld information about the incident on January 24. Taye, supposedly, took his own life 2 days later.

The Cincinnati Public Schools District released a report on bullying recently which doesn't include any account of Taye being bullied, but there was a culture of violence at the school during the just concluded school year. In the lawsuit, it is alleged that another 3rd grader threw a chair at a girl and wished he could rape her. What are these kids watching in the inner cities at such young ages? R-rated movies on HBO? The initial report on Taye on 1/24 is that he had taken a spill in the boys' bathroom. His family learned of the assault after lawyers reviewed police documentation describing a surveillance video that captured as much of the incident as possible.

The lawsuit follows reports of one intended to be filed by the family of 12 year old Mallory Grossman, a New Jersey student who was the victim of cyberbullying by other students, perhaps jealous of her for whatever reason. A video on NBC News' website shows that Ms. Grossman looked like a future Homecoming Queen in waiting, fairly attractive, but perhaps had run afoul of jealous peers who saw her as a threat to them. As of now, the Grossman family hasn't formally filed the suit. They have, though, identified four classmates as the bullies, but not publicly. They allege that officials at Copeland Middle School in Rockaway, where Mallory was a 6th grader, did nothing to stop the bullying, and that efforts to address the issues were ignored. Likewise, pleas to the bullies' parents were dismissed.

With a new school year right around the corner, this is the last thing they need in Ohio, New Jersey, or elsewhere. Parents don't feel their kids are safe because of a few cowards who need to make themselves look good by hassling other kids.

Where I have a question is in the timing of a suit filed by Gabriel Taye's parents. Nearly 7 months have passed since Gabriel died, and now they want a lawsuit? Something about this case doesn't ring true, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Security cameras are in place all over the schools, which I think link up to a central monitoring area near the principal's office. You'd think it wouldn't reach the point where litigation has to be an option, but there's also the matter of how many security guards are available on a day-to-day basis. If they're short-staffed, then there's cause for concern.

Here's to hoping cooler heads prevail without litigation.

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