Texas authorities confirmed they were investigating allegations of racism and bullying of a 13-year-old by his classmates.
Trigger warning: This story contains themes of race-motivated violence that some readers may find disturbing
A 13-year-old boy was reportedly made to drink urine and abused during a sleepover at a friend's house in an incident in Texas. The bullying incident was taped and circulated among students before the staff at Haggard Middle School became aware of the video. The Texas school and law enforcement officials have launched an investigation into the matter. "To call it bullying minimizes the gravity and the horror of this attack," said Kim T. Cole, the attorney who's representing Summer Smith and her son SeMarion Humphrey, an eighth-grader, reported CNN.
Humphrey, 13, had been invited to a sleepover at his friend's place on the weekend of February 12. Humphrey had been bullied previously while he was on the school football team but little did he know that those who harassed him at school would also be at the sleepover. He was called homophobic and racial slurs including the N-word before being made to drink what appears to be urine. He was also shot at using BB guns. The family's lawyer Cole said the attack was "pre-calculated" and "racially motivated." A cellphone video showed Marion drinking what appears to be urine as his bullies laugh at his predicament. In a separate video, they can be seen slapping SeMarion after he fell asleep, claimed Cole. The boy's mother Smith said she was "devastated" when she heard of what happened and cried for a long time. "I was just angry, I was sad, I was confused because he was at his friend's house," said Smith. According to a GoFundMe campaign started in the boy's name, the kids who bullied him were all White.
SeMarion Humphrey, he is a black student at Haggard Middle School that was abused and bullied by white classmates at a sleepover from Feb. 12-14, they recorded themselves, punching, kicking, shooting BB guns, and forcing him to drink urine while calling him racial slurs— 𝔡𝔞𝔦𝔰𝔶 (@daisyiskawaii) March 5, 2021
Humphrey had also quit the football team during the 2019-2020 season because of the harassment. The 13-year-old boy had raised the issue with the coach and a school counselor but they played down the incident claiming "boys will be boys." Those who harassed him are still his classmates at Haggard Middle School. Initially, Humphrey didn't reveal the incident because the bullies had threatened him. The incident came to light only a week later when he returned to school following the snowstorm the week before. One of his classmates asked if he drank urine, before showing him the video that was being circulated among students in school. The school officials became aware of the video and told the principal. Humphrey told the principal what happened after which the school alerted the boy's mother of the incident.
The school district announced an investigation was being launched into the matter. "The district immediately launched an investigation," said Sara Bonser, the superintendent at Plano Independent School District in a video message. "Incidents like this affect our whole community. I want to let our community know that Plano ISD does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment and believes every student must be treated with dignity and respect," added Bonser. The school district immediately alerted the local police station. "Since Plano ISD employs members of local law enforcement as school resource officers, the Plano Police Department was immediately involved," said the school district. The Plano Police Department Public Information Officer David Tilley confirmed that the department was "aggressively investigating this case."
Humphrey said he felt "empowered" after seeing the number of people who turned up to support him at a protest over the incident. He was seen wearing a T-shirt that read Justice for Me. Cole is now working to change the ways in which the school handles bullying and harassment. "I'm not certain if the failure is in the implementation of the policies. I don't know where the failure is, but I plan to get down to the bottom of it and assure that Plano ISD has the appropriate policies and procedures in place to assure our children's safety," said Cole. A GoFundMe campaign has been started to help the 13-year-old get access to therapy.