A family is blaming a San Diego-area high school for what may have led to their teenage son’s suicide, according to a claim filed against the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD).
University City High School student Matthew Burdette, 14, killed himself last November while on a family trip.
Two weeks before his death, another student allegedly videotaped Burdette in the school’s bathroom and posted the video to social media, the claim states.
“From the moment the video was posted, Matthew was mercilessly bullied, harassed and teased by student who had seen the video,” says the claim, given to NBC 7 by the Burdette family’s attorney.
Burdette left a suicide note talking about how he could no longer handle school and saying that he had no friends, according to the complaint.
The teen’s family says school employees knew about the video and bullying but did nothing to protect him.
The claim alleges that UCHS staff violated the California Student Safety and Violence Act and the California Safe Place to Learn Act, which require public schools to take action to prevent and protect students from bullying.
Linda Zintz, communications director for the SDUSD, told NBC 7 she could not comment on the claim, but she did release 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.”
According the claim, the Burdette family is seeking more than a million dollars from the school district.