Mother of son who committed suicide over video, friend who blew whistle talk to Team 10

Video taken in school bathroom and shared online

SAN DIEGO - The mother of a San Diego boy who committed suicide over a viral video taken at school spoke to Team 10 about the incident.

"I'll never go to his graduation. I'll never dance at his wedding. I'll never hold any of his babies," a tearful Barbara Burdette told Team 10 Troubleshooter Cristin Severance.

Burdette's son, Matthew, took his own life at 14-years-old.

Burdette told Team 10 her son was popular and well liked. Nearly 300 people attended his memorial service, she said.

"When we went home and were reading some of the cards. There was a lot that said you didn't deserve what happened to you," said Burdette.

She said she knew something had to have happened to cause her son to do this. Burdette used her son's phone to text some of his friends and one responded.

"He said, 'Can I come and talk to you in person?'" said Burdette.

The friend went to the Burdette's home.

Team 10 also talked to the teen but agreed not to use his name.

"It's wrong; he was their child and he died from kids bullying him," said the boy.

He said there was a video of Matthew in which a classmate peered over the bathroom stall and secretly recorded him while he was in the bathroom at University City High School.

The boy said that student then posted it on Snapchat, Vine and other social media sites, claiming he caught Matthew masturbating.

"These kids would come up to him and say, 'Oh, you are the kid in the restroom.' Like a lot of kids," said the boy. "I was there walking with him. The whole school was talking about it."

His friends said Matthew was teased non-stop for two weeks.

"I asked him, 'Why did they do this to Matthew?' And he said, 'Because he was popular,'" said Burdette.

Matthew killed himself two weeks later over Thanksgiving break.

The Burdettes told Team 10 the San Diego Unified School District would not tell them if the boy that took the video was disciplined.

After months of asking, they then told their story to Team 10.

"Matthew's life mattered," said Burdette.

The family filed a claim against the district, but it was rejected.

The Burdettes have six months to file a lawsuit.

The district also released this statement mid-afternoon 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."

San Diego County Crisis Line: 1-888-724-7240
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Print this article Back to Top