Marshall residents, including Marshall High School football players, gathered at the historic Harrison County Courthouse on Saturday to offer support to a Plano teen who recently came forward about instances of bullying from his schoolmates.

Marshall Against Violence Founder Demetria McFarland organized an anti-bullying protest on Saturday in support of Plano teen SeMarion Humphrey, amid reports last month of him being bullied by classmates at Haggard Middle School in Plano.

McFarland said she heard about the case, and wanted to reach out to Humphrey and his family and offer support, and also use this as an opportunity to raise awareness against bullying.

“What the devil meant for bad, God is turning around and using for glory,” McFarland said. “SeMarion’s life matters and we ask people to talk about bullying. Parents, sit down and talk with your kids. See what spectrum your child is on, are they being bullied, are they the bully? We have to be proactive in incidents like this. What can we do to be proactive? What can we do to make sure this cycle stops?”

Humphrey, dressed in Maverick red, along with his mother Summer Smith, sister ShaNya Taylor and new puppy Duke, traveled to Marshall from Plano on Saturday to meet with MAV members.

“As a mother and former educator, I couldn’t even fathom what you’re going through,” McFarland said to Smith on Saturday with a group of supporters gathered in front of the courthouse. “I want you to know we are praying for you and we support you. We wanted to give you all some East Texas, some Marshall, Texas love and support. We wanted SeMarion to know he has the support from our Marshall Maverick family.”

Smith, a Shreveport native, said she and her family are fighting not only for SeMarion and his continued healing, but to make sure bullying like this doesn’t continue in Texas schools.

“It seems like a lot of things have been happening lately to show that Black lives do not matter like they should,” Smith said. “We are fighting for change. We’re fighting for change in the way school districts handle things like this. Change starts at home but these kids are really at school more than they’re home and when schools say, ‘zero tolerance,’ it really should mean zero tolerance for bullying. We are going to fight, we are not going to take this lying down.”

Smith said the support from communities around the nation have been uplifting to both her and Humphrey, including a recent surprise birthday party Humphrey received last week from members of the Dallas Cowboys football team.

“It’s just been hard. We have good days and bad days and we know the healing process is going to be a journey,” Smith said. “We are moving and switching his school. He’s in therapy and the police case is ongoing, though the school district’s case has been completed.”

MAV member Chris Oliver traveled from Houston on Saturday to show support for SeMarion and to raise awareness against bullying.

“Don’t let this thing derail what your purpose is,” Oliver said. “There’s only one of you and you have a purpose. We have all this energy around you, all this support, use it. You shouldn’t have to be going through this but you don’t have to go through it alone. However you are feeling, it’s OK to feel that way. We are in line, you have this huge advocacy behind you and we are here for you man.”

Marshall High School football players, sophomores Tra Adams and Carson Combs, also came out Saturday to meet with Humphrey and offer support.

“Use this as an opportunity to show everyone your strength,” Combs told Humphrey Saturday. “Use your talent and your strength, they can never take that away from you.”

Humphrey said he has been greatly encouraged by the support he has received from people he’s never met.

“It makes me feel very loved,” Humphrey said of the support on Saturday. “Just to know that everybody around the world supports me really means a lot. Every time I wake up, it makes me feel better to know people are getting mad on my behalf and trying to get justice. Sometimes when I feel like quitting, knowing everything people have done for me and how they support me, helps me to keep pushing forward.”

Those who wish to keep up with Humphrey and his continued fight for justice, as well as future protests and rallies can text, “SeMarion” to the number 56525. This will enroll the caller in continued updates regarding Humphrey and his case.

“When you text ‘SeMarion’ to that number, you’ll get updates on our case as it moves forward and we have protests and rallies and we also have a Go Fund Me to help fund the costs of moving, therapy and switching schools,” Smith said.

MAV is set to host another anti-bullying protest and rally in support for Humphrey at 1 p.m. on May 15 at the historic Harrison County Courthouse.

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