CINCINNATI -- Lawyers for Cincinnati Public Schools denied that the district was responsible for an 8-year-old boy who died by suicide last January.
The family of that boy, Gabriel Taye, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the district in August, alleging school officials covered up an attack against him and "rampant" bullying in Carson Elementary School.
In their response to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. district court last week, CPS called Gabriel's death "tragic" but said the district was in no way responsible. They asked the judge to dismiss the case.
"The Complaint is filled with speculative allegations and legal conclusions disguised as factual allegations that need not be taken as true," the district's response states.
According to the district's response, this case is different from other bullying-related suicide cases where administrators have been liable because Gabriel was not targeted by taunting, threats or violence and because school officials did not ignore or encourage bullying.
Six incidents of bullying highlighted in the complaint "do not share any patten or even show repeated run-ins with the same student," the district's response states.
Gabriel's family has pointed to a surveillance video which shows him laying unconscious on a bathroom floor two days before he killed himself as evidence that he was bullied. Their attorney has said Gabriel was slammed into a wall by a bully, but school officials have said Gabriel simply fainted.
The lawsuit accuses school officials of engaging in a coverup once they responded to the bathroom and found Gabriel unconscious and accuses them of failing to investigate or document the incident, or report it to his parents.
Lawyers for CPS wrote that wasn't true and that it was "purely speculative" that the Gabriel's loss of consciousness that day led to his suicide.
The Hamilton County Coroner's Office conducted a second investigation into Gabriel's death after the release of that video. Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco concluded his death was a suicide but did not add bullying as a cause. The Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office has also said they would not file criminal charges in the case.