Gabriel, who tried to avoid fighting and talked eagerly about learning, was not known as a “cool kid,” according to a teacher, the complaint said.
At first, he excelled academically at Carson, which starts at pre-K and goes to the sixth grade.
In the first and second grade, Gabriel came home from school with injuries, including two loose teeth. School officials told the boy’s mother, Cornelia Reynolds, that he had an accident on the playground.
But in the third grade, Gabriel’s grades began to drop and the injuries got worse. Ms. Reynolds, a nurse, began to suspect that her son was being bullied.
He would come home with a scraped knee, a bruised elbow or wrist, or a twisted ankle. School officials rarely told Ms. Reynolds or Gabriel’s father, Benyam Taye, about any physical confrontations.
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On Jan. 17, 2017, the school nurse called Ms. Reynolds and told her that Gabriel had been punched in the face by two students. During a meeting with the other children’s parents, the school’s assistant principal told Ms. Reynolds that the boys were engaging in only “horseplay” and that the injuries were the result of an accident.
The school has 31 cameras around the building but officials refused to show Ms. Reynolds footage of what happened, according to the lawsuit.
A week later, Gabriel went into the restroom. Video footage shows him approaching a boy, who appears to extend his hand. Gabriel is seen reaching out to shake it, but the boy roughly pulls him forward, yanking him to the floor and knocking him out.