Remembering Matt Carrington

Feb 3, 2015 12:23 AM by Jason Atcho

In remembrance of Matt Carrington, several events were held in his honor in Chico Monday night.

Ten years ago, Carrington was killed in a hazing while pledging for a fraternity in Chico. On this anniversary, his mother Debbie Smith came to Chico State for a viewing of an A&E documentary on what happened to Matt. In her son's honor, Smith created of the AHA Movement, which stands for anti-hazing awareness. "Bringing attention to the fact that hazing exists and what it is. That's what our goal is," explained Smith.

When the case was brought to the prosecution a decade ago, District Attorney Mike Ramsey said it hit close to home. "One of my best friends as a freshman in high school died as a result of a hazing incident. So when the case came about I took it on in his memory also," said Ramsey.

With the help of Matt's family and friends, they got legislators to pass Matt's Law. "Now it is a felony if you seriously injure or kill someone in a hazing. Before it wasn't. It was just a slap on the wrist, go pick up some garbage, and go on your merry way," said Smith.

With the recent attention to bullying in grade schools, Smith says she wants to take the AHA Movement there. "Seems like in this last year something has gone terribly bad in the high schools and so we realize there's where we need to pin point. There's where we need to start," said Smith.

She spoke with member of greek life in Chico about her idea and many wanted to help. "Everybody's very receptive and we have some that want to get on board and help us get into the younger grades so we're pretty excited."

Following the movie, a candle light vigil was held and people walked from the university to the city plaza.

One would think that smith wouldn't want to return to Chico because of the bad memories, but she says the entire city has always embraced her. "I love this town. I'm so happy that they receive us so well and they remember Matt. They want to make a difference and we're really happy about that," said Smith.

District Attorney Mike Ramsey told me that since Matt's Law was passed, it's been used in several hazing cases across the state including Santa Barbara and San Diego.


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