HURRICANE – Matthew Parker,14, was killed in a tragic boating accident while on a scouting trip at Lake Powell, but his friends and family hope his memory will inspire good in Washington County.
The Matthew Parker Project was created to end bullying in Hurricane and all schools throughout the county.
“Matthew Parker was an amazing student at school. Bullies would taunt and abuse him, but he wouldn’t let anything get to him. We have started this page to stop bullying at school in his name. We love you, Matt, and we’re doing this in your honor,” Payton Carter wrote as the description on the Facebook page, which had over 250 people at the time of this article.
Payton, who will be a sophomore at Hurricane High School this year, said he was teased for being friends with Matthew. They attended Hurricane Middle School where the majority of the bullying took place.
“When I started the project, when I found out Matthew died, I guess I was just kind of shocked,” Payton said. “It was scary to lose such a good friend. I wanted to do something so that we could remember him.”
Payton said that when bullies would tease Matthew, Matthew wouldn’t fight back.
“He would submit but he never let the bullying get to him,” Payton said. “They would call him names, push him around, make fun of him.”
Payton said Matthew was a good student who was active in Orchestra and computer programming.
“(He) and I were going to do some collaborations on some projects but we never got around to it,” he said.
Payton said the shock of Matthew’s death has been hard, and he’s leaning on friends and his family.
“He was such a nice, innocent young kid,” Payton said. “To have him taken away from us shocked the whole community.”
Classmates, strangers and friends have posted well wishes since the boy’s death was announced yesterday.
Many of the postings are similar to this one from a fellow classmate:
“Matt was a great boy. I feel horride (sic) about ever standing by and never sticking up for him when people were mean.”
Those who wish to post fond memories of Matthew, may ask to join a group page that was created, as well.
For more information on the Matthew Parker Project, visit www.facebook.com/MatthewParkerProject.
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