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‘Unpersuasive.’ ‘Meritless.’ ‘Gross mischaracterization.’ U.S. appeals court scorches CPS in case of 8-year-old’s suicide

Anne Saker, Cincinnati Enquirer |

Eight-year-old Gabriel Taye died by suicide nearly four years ago, and for nearly as long, federal judges have studied the chronic bullying he endured at Carson Elementary School.

Gabriel’s parents sued Cincinnati Public Schools for his wrongful death and presented evidence that Carson leaders repeatedly lied to Gabriel’s mother and, as the bullying intensified, threatened Gabriel with punishment if he fought back. In defense, CPS asked for dismissal. Nothing Carson’s leaders did, the system’s lawyers argued, was bad enough to lift the legal shield for official acts of teachers and administrators.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected a motion for dismissal. Of the Carson leaders’ treatment of Gabriel, “This court finds their behavior, as alleged, to be egregious and clearly reckless, thus barring them from the shield of government immunity,” wrote Judge Bernice Bouie Donald in the ruling.

No trial date has been set. Named in the suit are the Cincinnati Board of Education, former CPS Superintendent Mary Ronan, former Carson Elementary Principal Ruthenia Jackson, former Carson Elementary Assistant Principal Jeffrey McKenzie, and former Carson nurse Margaret McLaughlin.

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