Matthew Burdette committed suicide in November after an embarrassing video of him in a boys bathroom at University City High School went viral, and the boy’s parents now say the school could have done more to protect their 14-year-old son.
Timothy and Barbara Burdette filed a $1 million claim against the San Diego Unified School District and have six months to file a lawsuit, the Los Angeles Times reported
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Matthew’s aunt Laura Burdette Mechak told ABC 10 News KGTV that the boy left a suicide note
: "He said, I can't do school anymore. I have no friends. I don't want to kill myself but I have no friends," Mechak told the station.
Shocked by the boy’s death, the family sought answers, but Mechak told KGTV that the district was not helpful. Some students told his parents about the video by a classmate, who had peered over a bathroom stall and recorded Matthew. The student posted the video on social media sites, claiming he had caught Matthew masturbating.
"Kids saw this video and began to tease Matthew mercilessly — they teased him, they harassed him. They made his life miserable over a two-week period," Mechak told KGTV.
The family’s attorney, Allison Worden, told the station that the district failed to protect Matthew under the California Student Safety and Violence Prevention of 2000 and the California Safe Place Act.
The San Diego County district attorney's office hasn’t said whether the student responsible for the video will be charged, but a spokesman said a hearing is set for July 23 in juvenile court, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The school district released a statement on Monday: "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."
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