'Bullied' Teenager Commits Suicide after ‘Bathroom’ Video Goes Viral, Parents Sue School

By @snksounak on
Boy Scout Casey Chambers carries a rainbow flag during the San Francisco Gay Pride Festival in California
Boy Scout Casey Chambers carries a rainbow flag during the San Francisco Gay Pride Festival in California June 29, 2014. REUTERS/Noah Berger

Matthew Burdette killed himself while spending Thanksgiving with his parents in November 2013. A couple of weeks before his death, a video which depicted him apparently performing a sexual activity went viral. Now, Matthew's parents have sued his school district for $1 million.

The £584,000 lawsuit against the San Diego Unified School District in California says that Matthew had been "bullied, harassed and teased" due to the viral video before he died. Barbara and Timothy Burdette said that Matthew had written a letter to them where he admitted that he was not able to "handle school," "I have no friends," he allegedly wrote in his suicide note.

The video, which was shot and distributed on social media by one of Matthew's classmates, was capture when the 14-year-old went to bathroom after he had been asked to leave the class for eating. The classmate secretly recorded Matthew apparently masturbating in the bathroom cubicle and shared it widely.

According to the parents of the Boy Scout, their son was bullied in his school. Even though one of the school employees was aware of the situation, nothing was done to stop the alleged harassment, they said. Matthew was allegedly recorded on November 15, 2013. After a couple of weeks, he committed suicide on November 29. In the meantime, the alleged video was widely circulated in video-sharing Web sites such as Vine and SnapChat.

According to the lawsuit, Matthew's parents claimed that he had suffered harassment from even those who did not study in his school. "From the moment the video was posted, Matthew was mercilessly bullied, harassed and teased by students who had seen the video," they claimed. The parents also said that their son was once an "outgoing" and "positive" boy but suffered "depression" and "insecurity" after the incident. If proven guilty, the boy who filmed Matthew could be sentenced according to the anti-bullying law in California.

Meanwhile, the school authorities issued a statement which said that it valued the well-being and safety of a student as its "top priority."

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@ibtimes.com.au

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