Thanks for checking in! WE DELIVERED - LIKE NEVER BEFORE!
Marcus received 1,182 LETTERS of peer support on 3/6/2018!
The Be A Friend Project delivered a record-breaking 1,182 letters to Marcus in a massive surprise "HERO'S WELCOME" organized by Texas Educators and Students from Bushland High School FCCLA & Community Service Class led by teacher Michelle Lancaster, Bushland Middle School, Lake Worth High School FCCLA (who traveled 7 hours on a school bus to participate), Westover Park Jr. High in Amarillo - and included Bushland's Cheerleaders and Marching Band!!
2016 Friend Mail Recipient, MIA, from Texas earned a SUPER AMBASSADOR AWARD for taking part in the surprise celebration and handing Marcus his "Friend Mail" in person!
Bushland HS FCCLA leaders, Allie, Jaycie and Cambri, escorted Marcus through the surprise assembly in his honor.
View the super-touching "Hero's Welcome" and assembly organized for Marcus by Texas Educators & Students, reported by News 10 Amarillo Reporter, Nicolette Perrone:
A Feature Article on Marcus' Surprise Assembly by
MARCUS' ASSEMBLY PICTURES:
Were you part of Marcus' heart-warming and transformational surprise Assembly? We're thrilled to present and preserve the entire 16-minute celebration for your happy memories:
Here's the Be A Friend Project VIDEO played for Marcus at the Assembly - includes "Surprise Clips" from our Ambassadors:
~ MARCUS' STORY ~
11-year-old Texan fears his life will always be full of bullies.
Marcus "loves cats so much" that he often brings home strays to care for them. He also loves computers, earth science and collecting rocks! This "intelligent, loving" 5th grader used to love going to school, too... until last year when one of his friends began to call him names. Name-calling soon escalated to physical violence. Marcus does not know why he is being bullied.
Marcus' grandmother told us he has been physically assaulted 5 times in the past 3 months, prompting trips to the emergency room and police reports complete with pictures of bruises and scratches. Classmates taunt him, twisting words like "special" and "gay" to hurt him, and they make obscene gestures at him. He was burned by a lighter. He was punched in the face just walking down the hall. Last week, his grandmother, who is his legal guardian, took him out of school for his own safety.
Marcus has ADHD and is being tested for Asberger's, a high-functioning form of autism. His Grandmother, Linda, believes this is at the root of the bullying because his classmates see a smart boy who doesn't "look" different, so they expect his behavior to be just like everyone else's. She says Marcus is a "very good person" who gets frustrated sometimes in school and can have trouble containing his emotions. He knows to take himself to a quiet room called the "Bridge Room" to calm down. Like all kids, Marcus loves to have friends, yet it is difficult for him to join friends out in the community because he is very sensitive to loud noises and stimulation.
The bullying incident last month that finally made his grandmother remove him from school was recounted by Marcus to local NewsChannel 10 reporter, Nicolette Perrone.
MARCUS SPEAKS TO NEWSCHANNEL 10 REPORTER:
"I was threatened for my life," said Marcus. "One of the kids jumped me and then I dropped my tray. He started punching me and he told the other kids. 'There you go, he's all yours.' Then they started pinching me and punching me."
Marcus says one of the boys showed him a pocket knife and told him "next time I am going to kill you."
Typical of bullying, this incident happened out of sight of adults in an unsupervised hallway. Marcus had the physical marks to prove it, but the bullies denied it all and the school administrators, not knowing who to believe, could not take action except to install cameras in the hallway and give Marcus an aid to walk him through the hallways. But bullies still found a way and his grandmother removed him from school. She hopes to find a new placement better equipped for children with special needs.
If you're being bullied, Marcus has a message: "Ignore them." He has begun to advocate for other bullied kids by posting videos of support from home. His message to the bullies is "to stop hurting other kids."
Because he says he's experienced that hurt first-hand, he told NewsChannel10 that he is "afraid, that I can't do anything in life to get away from them." His grandmother says,"I want him to stop being bullied, because I don't want him to end up doing something stupid to where he's going to kill himself or he's tired of it."
WE CAN HELP MARCUS STAY STRONG WITH YOUR MESSAGES OF PEER SUPPORT!!