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Matthew Burdette commits suicide after video of him masturbating goes viral at school

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Matthew Burdette
Why did one school fail to intervene in the bullying of one teenager which would lead to him taking his life…?

A report which told Matthew Burdette, 14, committed suicide after a classmate filmed him masturbating in a school bathroom and spreading the video at school has led to the teenager’s family launching a million dollar lawsuit against the school.

The teenager came to commit suicide on November 29 last year, prompting his family to now seek answers as to why and how the school acted before and after his death.

The parents search for answers comes after officials at University City High School in San Diego, California refused to give them information pursuant to their son’s death, with Matthew Burdette’s friends revealing to the family that the teenager had been bullied after a video of him went viral.

According to the suit, Matthew was kicked out of class on November 15 for eating – and  subsequently secretly filmed  by a classmate, who was peeking over the top of a bathroom stall when he went to use school lavatories.

From there the classmate soon posted the video to Snapchat, Vine and other social networking sites, claiming the teen had been masturbating in the footage.

‘It went viral,‘ Matthew’s aunt, Laura Burdette Mechak, told News10.

‘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.’

For two weeks, teenagers made the teenager’s life ‘miserable’, his aunt told.

An outgoing former Boy Scout and member of the school’s water polo and wrestling teams, Mattgew Burdette would soon become sullen and withdrawn.

Matthew never told his parents about the video. But he wrote a suicide note explaining that he didn’t want to kill himself but that he had no friends and couldn’t deal with school anymore, his aunt said.

After learning about the video, the parents returned to University City High School to talk to officials, believing that their son’s school was aware of the harassment their son had come to receive but had done nothing to stop it.

By then the school had launched an investigation – which the parents take to indicate that the school knew about the video – but had declined to the Burdettes what had happened to the boy accused of filming their son.

The family then went to the San Diego Police Department, where they learned that the boy who took the video confessed and had been arrested, nevertheless the District Attorney failed to answer their questions.

The DA would only tell that a hearing on the matter was scheduled for July 23.

Matthew Burdette

Facing continuous roadblocks from the school and other authorities, Burdette’s mother wrote a letter to the School Board demanding answers – and just minutes later, the incensed Board of Education president called them saying he had heard nothing about the incident.

He reached out to the family saying they were in contact with the DA, but did not say if the school district had punished the boy accused of filming Matthew.

The family says they are not angry at the boy who filmed their son but they hope to highlight the dangers of cyberbullying. They also hope to finally get some of the answers they are looking for.

They have filed a claim against the San Diego Unified School District for failing to protect their son and have six months to file a lawsuit.

In response to allegations that they essentially turned a blind eye to Burdette’s harassment, San Diego Unified officials on Monday issued 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.’

In his obituary, attended by over 300 people, Matthew Burdette was remembered as an active student.

‘Matthew was a student at University High School where he played Water Polo and was on the Wrestling Team,’ it read. ‘He was also a Boy Scout with Troop 260 working toward his Eagle rank.’

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