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Tuesday, June 25, 2024 | Back issues
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Teen Suicide Blamed|on Video Post

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A San Diego high school student killed himself two weeks after a fellow student posted a video of him allegedly masturbating in a school bathroom, the parents claim in court.

Timothy and Barbara Burdette sued the San Diego Unified School District, University City High School Principal Jeff Olivero, teacher Jerry Ruiz, and student Marwan H., on Nov. 19 in Superior Court.

It all started with sunflower seeds, the parents say. On Nov. 15, 2013, defendant Ruiz kicked their son out of class for eating sunflower seeds, according to the complaint.

But the parents say Ruiz did not tell their son where to go, "thus leaving him unsupervised."

He went to a bathroom, where, without their son's knowledge or consent, "Marwan H. used his cell phone to videotape Matthew Burdette while he was in the bathroom stall, allegedly masturbating," according to the lawsuit.

Within hours, Marwan posted the video on "numerous public social media sites," the parents say.

There was a home football game that night, where the online video was a topic of conversation. "From the moment the video was publicly posted, Matthew Burdette was mercilessly bullied, harassed, and teased by students who had seen the video," his parents say.

On Nov. 29, 2013, the day after Thanksgiving, Matthew killed himself.

His parents seek damages for five counts of negligence.

They are represented by Alison Worden with Gomez Trial Attorneys.

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