Parents test school liability in bullying and child suicide

FILE – This May 12, 2017, file photo shows the Carson School, an elementary school in Cincinnati. A federal lawsuit says a "treacherous school environment" that allowed and covered up bullying led to the suicide of an 8-year-old Ohio boy. The wrongful death suit filed Monday, Aug. 7, 2017, by the parents of Gabriel Taye names officials at his elementary school and at the Cincinnati Public Schools district as defendants. (AP Photo/Lisa Cornwell, File)

CINCINNATI — The parents of an 8-year-old Ohio boy who hanged himself from his bunk bed with a necktie are testing the issue of school liability in suicides blamed on bullying.

The wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Gabriel Taye against Cincinnati Public Schools and school officials cites repeated examples of Gabriel and others being bullied at his elementary school. They contend school officials knew about the bullying but played it down, allowing what they call a "treacherous school environment."

Courts have been reluctant to second-guess school administrators, even as bullying among children remains a common problem. Federal authorities have said that while bullying increases the risk of suicidal behavior, most cases don't result in suicide or thoughts of suicide.

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