The parents of a teenager who committed suicide last year say he took his own life after another student filmed him masturbating in a school bathroom then posted the video online.
Matthew left a note that stated he had no friends and that he could no longer handle school. Wanting answers, his family started asking questions – starting with school officials at University City High School.
They say school officials wouldn’t tell them anything about what may have happened at the school to have caused Matthew to suddenly hate school so bad that it would be part of his reasoning for ending his own life.
However, other students didn’t have such issues. They told Matthew’s family that their son was being relentlessly bullied over a video that was posted online that went viral.
Two weeks before Matthew committed suicide, he was asked to leave a classroom for eating sunflower seeds. As he wandered the halls, he made a stop in one of the school’s bathrooms. Unbeknownst to him, another student videotaped him in a stall, allegedly masturbating.
The student who filmed him then used SnapChat and Vine to post the video online and within hours, the video had gone viral.
“It went beyond his school. It went to other schools in California. Kids in the neighborhood who didn’t go to Matthew’s school had heard about it and seen the video that was taken of him,” said the boy’s aunt.
As you can imagine, the last two weeks of Matthew’s life was pretty shitty as he was teased and harassed mercilessly by his peers. His family has now gone public with the story in hopes of getting more answers, have changes made within the school district and to get through to other kids.
“I don’t have hatred for the kid who took this video. He was a dumb kid who did a dumb thing. But these kids don’t get it. They don’t realize how big the cyber bullying world is,” said Burdette’s aunt.
The family have also filed a claim against the San Diego Unified School District. You can read their claim here.
Attorney Allison Worden, who is representing the family, said the teacher kicked Matthew out of class with no direction on where to go, leaving him to wander the school. She also said the school district failed to protect Matthew under the California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 and the California Safe Place Act.
The school district released the following statement:
“At San Diego Unified, the safety and well-being of our students is a top priority. The district also adheres to the privacy and confidentiality laws and regulations related to students, families and ongoing investigations. For this reason, the district cannot provide details about Matthew Burdette’s death. Our hearts and thoughts continue to be with his family and loved ones.”