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Manteca High grad Soeth has championed anti-bullying efforts in San Joaquin County
Matt Soeth (right), 36, is congratulated by Stephen Balkam, CEO and founder of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) for his contribution to youth safety on the computer. - photo by Photo Contributed

Matt Soeth, 36, has been recognized with a national award for the work he has done in combating online bullying by other students.

Soeth was nominated for the award by Google at the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) with its home office in Washington, D.C. and a secondary office in London in the U.K.  

FOSI has over 30 members including Amazon, Verizon, Facebook and that board reflects the international character of the institute.

The program has a hash tag of “I can Help,” in an effort to maintain appropriate verbiage and keep them safe online.  

“We go in and talk to kids on how to respond to a post and to be positive as we try to get those sites taken down.  It is amazing to see how many think they are the only one on the web and that they are all alone and recognized the people who are there are friends and are supportive of them,” he said.

Soeth said he has taken down some 80 sites and pages on Twitter and Instagram with messages such as “I hate Manteca High” or “I hate East Union.”  There are often awkward pictures of who is sleeping with whom, he added.  Others were such as “I hate Kim – I think she should die.” 

He noted that he and his friend Kim Karr started on the project some two years ago feeling they could help keep students in today’s world safe and make a difference for them while sitting at their computers.

He was also responsible with taking down the page entitled, “Lincoln High Sluts.” 

Soeth said they demonstrated what kids can do to get those things taken out of the system, as well as working with some of the parents.

The FOSI recognition is the second national award he has received.  A teacher at Kimball High School in Tracy, he was singled out years ago for his work in student leadership.  He also serves on the board of the California Association of Directors of Student Activities as technology coordinator.  Soeth has followed in the footsteps of his dad in his education vocation.

Soeth is a Manteca High grade from 1997.  He went on to graduated from UC Davis in 2001.