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Matthew Burdette: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Eight months after a cyber-bullied Boy Scout committed suicide his parents are targeting the school district for failing to protect their son.

Fourteen-year-old Matthew Burdette killed himself in November after peers shared an embarrassing video of him in the bathroom, reports ABC 10. Now Timothy and Barbara Burdette are speaking out and seeking damages from the San Diego School District, claiming educators knew he the boy was being bullied and did nothing to stop it.

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Constant Bullying Over a ‘Masturbation’ Video Led to Burdette’s Suicide

Matthew Burdette University City High School

The football field at University City High School. (Google Street View)

According to Timothy and Barbara Burdette, their son Matthew was a happy, positive kid up until the two weeks before his suicide. Matthew was a freshman at University City High School in San Diego, where he was active in sports and extracurricular activities.

ABC 10 reports that Matthew was kicked out of class for eating sunflower seeds, and with no direction about where to go he went to the bathroom. It was then that another student recorded him over the stall door.

The video was posted on several social media outlets including SnapChat and Vine. The boy who posted it claimed it showed Burdette masturbating. The video quickly spread around the school. Burdette was devastated. It was even seen in other parts of California.

At school, Matthew faced endless harassment from other students, which ultimately drove him to end his own life.


2. His Suicide Note Read ‘I Have No Friends’

Two weeks after the video went viral, the Burdette family went to Crestline, California, for Thanksgiving. The parents wrote in their claim against the San Diego Unified School District that there was a very obvious shift in Matthew’s mood and behavior.

Matthew was found dead by his mother on the morning of November 29, along with a note explaining why he committed suicide. The note said:

I can’t do school anymore. I have no friends. I don’t want to kill myself but I have no friends.

That was only a part of the explanation, but it was clear that Burdette had been facing bullying and alienation at school.

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3. His Parents Say the School Wouldn’t Help in Their Hunt for Answers

When the Burdettes found Matthew’s suicide letter, they brought it to the school to see if the faculty were aware of anything happening to Matthew at school. The Burdette family wanted help in finding the cause for their son’s suicide, but according to ABC 10, the school refused to say anything.

The only people who came forward to help the Burdette family were other students. The family learned about the video and eventually discovered the district already knew about it.

Through their lawyer, the parents filed a claim against the district (above), a precursor to a potential lawsuit. The claim puts the district on notice that the parents are seeking compensation; if no resolution is reached, the parents have six months to sue.

The California Safe Place to Learn Act enforces that any employee of the district is required to protect students against bullying, and the Burdettes argue that UCHS violated this act.


4. The Boy Who Made the Video Was Arrested

Matthew Burdette Water Polo

(Matthew Burdette Obituary)

When Matthew’s parents went to UCHS to seek information about the suicide, the school refused to say if the person who took the video had been punished at all, according to The Los Angeles Times. The boy who made the video eventually came forward and confessed.

The student was arrested and punished, but because he is a minor he remains unnamed by authorities.


5. Burdette Was on the Wrestling Team, Water Polo Team & in the Boy Scouts

Prior to the two weeks preceding his death, Matthew was an outgoing, happy kid. As a freshman in high school, he played on the water polo team and was also on the wrestling team.

Matthew was also with Boy Scout Troop 260, on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout.

The family asked in his obituary that instead of sending flowers, people donate money to Boy Scouts of America in his name.

Audrie Pott Suicide: Top 10 Facts You Need to Know

Three 16-year-old boys have been arrested, suspected of sexually abusing Audrie Pott, 15, who killed herself after photos of the attack went viral.

Click here to read more

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11 comments

  1. Although it will not bring Matthew back and the pain will remain, the school system and the boy that took the picture should be punished severely! I am sure some of the monetary settlement will be donated by the family to organizations the fight cyber bullying and those that promote self confidence such as the Boy Scouts. My condolences go out to Matthews family.

  2. What high school man didn’t do that in the bathroom on a slow day XD
    See if that was me, I would’ve turned it around on the boy filming me. Obvious sexuality problems from a young man filming another doing a #3. Even more so widespread that the number of students who want to download and watch it. Unless it’s the girls of course, in which case if he was “gifted” he could’ve turned that into a new famous status w/ the ladies. Anyway feel bad for the kid worrying about other idiots. “Friends” do nothing but let you down in life. That’s why I recommend a Pet

  3. how terribly sad that someone had to be a bully in order to divert attention from their own short comings and shame on those other students who let it continue on – wish Matthew had known his self-worth – may peace come to Matthew and his loved ones

    .

  4. People need to learn how to teach their kids to cope with things. That’s the problem. You will never get rid of bullying. NEVER. Sad to say, and I am sure I will get attacked on this, because that’s the very reason that I am making my point. People can’t deal with anything. But, this is the parents of the kid who killed himself’s fault. If they would have taught him to have a strong character, none of this would have phased him. I can imagine something like that having happened to me, as I was always a target. BUT, by my senior year I was one of the more popular students, because my character rose above the BS.

    • Congrats Zoltan, you’re a fuckin’ hero. By the sounds of things, your amazing character must have lifted you to an excellent life of commenting on the parenting skills of a suicide victim on the Internet. Bravo Zoltan, you are a rare example of the finest humanity has to offer, all thanks to your parents teaching you to have such a strong character. Bravo!

      • Hahaha, great reply to Zoltan..that’s just what I was thinking. You are always going to find somebody on the comments who is all high and mighty!!

    • You have to be joking.
      You are talking about a 14 year old boy. Not that an adult would have done any better.

      This child was recorded masturbating and the video was shared around not just his class and school but other schools.

      Unless someone shared the same video of you to one and all you simply cant judge.

  5. I agree with the donation to organizations that are supportive of kids and are anti-bullying, but the Boy Scouts? As a gay San Diegan, I sincerely hope that is one organization they keep their money away from.

  6. Why is the person who made the video not being charged with making and distributing child porn, as that is what he did.
    And from there every person who had it was also possessing child porn and in some cases, also distributing in.

    Beyond that I don’t get how a school allows students to be walking around the school when class are on. Maybe they should also set about teaching students proper use of modern communication devices. Recording 14 year old boys giving them self a hand or recording students fighting and so on is not responsible use.

  7. A terrible terrible heartbreaker. You can see how he had nobody to go to. He couldn’t tell his parents because all kids think they invented sex and that their parents would faint dead away if they “knew.” Too, too bad that an upper-classman didn’t get wind of it and say publicly, “no big deal; we all do it.” I don’t see why the web hosting sites aren’t charged with distributing child porn. The kid who took the video is a lowlife, but that is why kids are kids. It is the companies that should not have posted the video. While this is obviously event-driven, still, kids need to be told about depression and if they don’t see a way out, to talk to someone. Really nasty that all his friends dumped him. Think what it would have meant to this kid to have someone else walk up to a group that was razzing him and say “which one of you don’t do it?”

  8. Kids need to be told about depression, how it can make you feel that there is “no exit” except the final one. Forgot to put this next point in the previous post.

    On bullying, kids need to be given the weapon of two words…”fuck off.”

    No silver bullet, but still an all-purpose weapon when you are being picked on.

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