The parents of 14-year-old Matthew Burdette claim that their son committed suicide after he was "mercilessly" bullied for a video taken by one of his classmates of him allegedly masturbating in a bathroom stall. Timothy and Barbara Burdette have filed a $1 million claim against the San Diego Unified School District, claiming that a number of employees at their son's high school were aware of the bullying, but did nothing to stop it.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the school district has rejected their claim, giving the Burdettes six months to file a lawsuit.
Matthew Burdette committed suicide last November while with his family at a cabin for Thanksgiving. According to the claim, Matthew left a note saying that he couldn't "handle school" and had "no friends."
The video was apparently recorded after Matthew had been kicked out of class last year. From CBS News:
According to their claim, Matthew, who was on the water polo and wrestling teams, was kicked out of class on Nov. 15 for eating sunflower seeds. The teacher didn't give him anywhere to go, so he wandered the halls and ended up in a boys' bathroom, the claim said.
Another student peeked over a bathroom stall and videotaped Matthew, allegedly masturbating. That student posted the video on social media, including SnapChat and Vine, and it quickly went viral among students at schools through the district, the claim said.
"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," Laura Burdette Mechak, Matthew's aunt, told KGTV.
The Burdettes only learned of the video's existence from other students and after Matthew had committed suicide. As the Los Angeles Times reports, a hearing is being held later this month to determine if the student who took the video could face charges under California's anti-bullying law.
[ H/T The Daily Dot // Image via KGTV]