Kid Bullied For My Little Pony Backpack Told Not To Bring It To School Anymore

from the blaming-the-victim dept

In the ongoing idiocy that is schools employing zero tolerance policies, the admittedly misguided overbearing results at least tend to have some pretend logic behind them. The school is afraid of guns, so ban everything that remotely looks like a gun, even if we’re just talking about some kid’s fingers. The school wants to curtail bullying, so they go nuclear at anything even remotely resembling bullying. Yes, it’s misguided, yes, it’s stupid, but you can at least follow along the logical path they walked before jumping off the cliff.

But where one California North Carolina grade school got the stones to blame Grayson Bruce and his backpack for the bullying he’s endured is beyond me.

A mother and her 9-year-old son say school officials won’t let him bring a My Little Pony bag to school. The boy and his mother say he’s getting shoved around because bullies think his pick of a favorite toy is for girls.

My Little Pony, which has enjoyed something of a resurgence lately, is a show about friendship. One would have to work extremely hard after being hit in the head with a hammer in order to find anything offensive within it. The only explanation anyone has offered for banning Grayson from bringing his damned backpack to school has been that it sets off the bullies to go about their bullying ways. This, in case you’re dense, is about as pure a form of blaming the victim as one can find. Fortunately, while the school in question decided to paint a damned backpack as the culprit in this scenario, the power of social media has risen to support Grayson.

Since it aired, the story has been picked up by websites, blogs and television stations across the nation. Tuesday it was one of the top stories trending on social media. The Facebook page 9-year-old Grayson Bruce’s parents have set up for him now has more than 3,700 “Likes”. Grayson has developed a following on Facebook after a friend made a support page for him. Grayson stands by his favorite cartoon and the message he says it sends. His mother says, why not?

But Noreen says Thursday the school asked him to leave the bag at home because it had become a distraction and was a “trigger for bullying.”

This is absurd. In a world where too many schools are embracing too many zero tolerance policies, this one is actually going down the road of removing the subject of the bullying instead. What fun! What if the young man was gay? Or black? Mexican? What if he liked a certain kind of music, or was a huge fan of the wrong sports team? What if he had a medical condition? Sorry, sport, but you have to leave your crutches at home, ‘cuz the kids just ain’t down with them.

No, the proper response to is to pull those bullying Grayson aside and explain to them in stark terms why their actions aren’t acceptable. Banning MLP backpacks can’t be the answer, lest we allow all those children to learn the exact wrong lesson in their place of learning.

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Comments on “Kid Bullied For My Little Pony Backpack Told Not To Bring It To School Anymore”

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Manabi (profile) says:

That won't stop the bullying and may make it worse

There’s no way leaving it at home will actually stop the bullying. He took it to school before, was bullied about it, so you’ll get bullies saying “Where’s your sissy backpack loser?” (Actually the real bullies will probably say worse stuff.)

And add in that if he tells them the truth, now he’ll get bullied for being forced to leave it at home! “So even the teachers/principal/etc. think you’re backpack’s too sissy for a boy!”

How stupid are these school officials to not realize this? Are they trying to drive the poor victim to suicide or something?

John85851 (profile) says:

Re: That won't stop the bullying and may make it worse

No, the school officials are trying to drive the poor kid to bring a gun to school in a misguided attempt at revenge. Then all the teachers will say “We saw it coming because he was bullied so much.”

Yet here’s a chance to stop the bullying (and possibly stop a cycle of violence) before it begins.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Tough

No, not really. I mean, not compared to previous generations:

1) Bullying is recognized as an actual issue, and bullies are actually punished in many cases. This case? No. But then it gets blown up online, and it’s only a matter of time before things turn in the right direction.

2) The internet exists. Kids can make friends outside of the completely arbitrary “idiots who happen to live nearby” which is what school is. A bullied kid can be someone else online, can be anonymous, and actually have social interactions. He isn’t forced into a life more or less alone.

3) Being different is more widely accepted in our culture now than any other time in US history. If you’re into something, you can pretty easily find others with the same interests. Knowing that you’re a boy growing up who isn’t into sports, but is into My Little Pony is a whole lot easier when there’s a horde of people in the same boat as you than thinking you’re the only one and you’re weird or wrong.

In conclusion, being a kid who is different than the commonly accepted norm anytime in the past was FAR worse than now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Tough

Right, try being a gay, atheist, middle-eastern teen in a southern high school and tell me we’re more tolerant than ever.

Because bigots only exist in the south? You’re bias is showing, you might want to cover that up.

It wasn’t until I lived in Michigan that I learned what a “kike” was, and what it meant to “Jew” someone.

Mega1987 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Tough


IMO… Bullying is the simplest form of discrimination… Plain and simple.

They see someone in the school in their mind not worthy, too different, easy pickings and/or a form of entertainment for them once they “played” with the poor kid.

they didn’t see a kid, schoolmate or colleague but a toy to be played “Roughly”.

soon those bully, without any proper guidance, will discriminate even more once they grew up.

trollificus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Tough

^ This. I remember. If you were a ‘weirdo’ (and I was), the teachers often as not were in sympathy with the bullying students. No recourse, no external community of like-minded kids, nothing. I had to develop a relentless defensive contempt for “regular” society and “normal” people…itself a pathology I’ve had to address later in life. But it got me through.

Everyone wants to pretend things are the worst they’ve ever been and going downhill, but that bit of delusional thinking has been going on since pre-Roman days and if t’were true we’d be at the bottom of a 2500 year decline, much much worse off than we are today. The phenomenon is understandable in intra-generational terms as OF COURSE things were better back in “the old days”…YOU WERE YOUNG THEN. derp.

Also of interest, after all the appropriately-derided examples of the abdication of common sense in favor of Zero Tolerance Policies, this particular example is what we get when left to the mercies of “common sense” as wielded by school administrators. Don’t really see a winning course of action here…

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Keep that skirt home, girl!

While the school works hard to bully this kid into not bringing what he wants, let’s not forget that it’s really the kid’s fault he’s getting bullied.

Let’s also disallow girls from wearing skirts, because they’re just going to encourage rape.

Zero tolerance is important so we don’t allow the bullies and the rapists to have a perfectly legitimate right to do what they want to do because the victim had the wrong article of clothing or an accessory.

Or we can apply zero tolerance to bullying by school officials and remove anyone who creates or applies a zero tolerance policy.

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: The Twisted Sister Effect

It’s the parent’s fault because society produces ignorant and intolerant fools that abuse anyone that’s not part of their norm? We should be teaching our kids to be accepting and tolerant of those that are different. Just because people can be assholes, it doesn’t mean you should stop your child from being who they are.

Vel the Enigmatic says:

Re: The Twisted Sister Effect

While you’re right in a sense logically, ethically you’re dead wrong.

As Greevar pointed out, parents today aren’t doing much actual parenting. They’ve grown lax and lazy, and don’t bother to teach children tolerate others who are not like themselves, and let the TV, movies, and video games teach them instead.

What’s ironic is that the newest MLP TV show: Friendship is Magic (which I myself have watched, and I’m 22 years old) is a well-written, savvy show that isn’t overly saccharine in the least, and a lot of good morals can be taught to children through the show because of how the stories are told.

Greevar (profile) says:

As a parent myself, I’m mortified at the blatant stupidity pervading the school system. My child must have his self-expression and imagination censored because some small minds are foolish enough to think that having zero tolerance on pretending to play guns will somehow reduce gun violence in schools. So my child is expected to not act out any scenario that would involve a gun? “We better watch out! He has a finger and I think it’s loaded! Who gave a deadly weapon to a 2 year old?!?” Deadly indeed. The only thing that is dangerous is administrative stupidity.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

They used the same arguments to support requiring school uniforms in public schools. That it keeps kids from being picked on because of what clothes they wear or do not wear. The problem is exactly as you described. I continue to be outraged that the educational system is doing the exact opposite of what it has been charged to do. Teach our children to think and express themselves creatively and intelligently. Clothing is a big part of how people, especially young people, express themselves. Yet they are being brainwashed that they have to be good little conformers instead of being to encouraged to think and express themselves effectively. A proper response to this would have been to find and invite roll models that all of these kids (including the one’s that engage in the bullying) look up to to come to the school and engage the students while showing a clear support for the kid to give them a lesson in tolerance. THAT would have been the appropriate response.

Some Other AC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I am fortunate enough to have children in a district with a dress code that is sensible, but no forced uniforms. Kids are allowed to express themselves within reason. The dress code is pretty mild and compares to what i was used to in school. The bully policy is pretty cool in that they use mediation between students with peers and counselors present before resorting to more firm punishments(great way to teach a life skill in conflict resolution). We have “resource officers” in the schools, but from all indications they only engage in extreme circumstances(actual criminal activity). FIghts are usually broken up by Staff.
This is surprising considering that the district(in Texas) is a growing one with a large portion of the district still covering rural communities. Diversity is growing(although still quite weighted towards Caucasians) and there is a general level of tolerance to differing personalities.

Anonymous Coward says:

Reality Check

We have a parent that probably came to a school principal and complained about their child being picked on. In reality, there is no way for a school to 100% prevent bullying. It can and should punish violent behavior on school grounds. But that’s about it. They can’t walk the child home from the bus stop. They can’t deal with every mean word spoken at recess. They can’t even stop shoving until it after it happens. These are 9 year olds. Little kids at that age can be mean. It takes years before they (hopefully) develop some social maturity. The administrator gave some advice to help the kid deal with a difficult situation. (Note the article says the child was ‘asked’ not ‘told’ to leave the bag home.)

akp (profile) says:

If I’m that kid’s mom, I go buy him a different My Little Pony backpack. Maybe a blue one.

And then see what happens.

“We left that one at home. Now he’s got a new backpack. Oh, that didn’t stop the bullying? Hmm… I wonder why. Why don’t you just give me a list of ‘approved’ backpacks, and then make all the other kids follow it as well?”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Response to: Watchit on Mar 19th, 2014 @ 4:37pm

This, thank you for showering this thread with some sanity, it seems only me isn’t pushed into maximum butthurt mode over this. If it was a Ninja Turtles backpack during the period before their revival, there would be 3 times less comments in here.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

The actual trigger of the bullying is a group of adults unable and unwilling to enforce the policies of the school.

If they actually dared to punish the bullies and stand up to the parents about it, it would stop. But it is easier to make 1 kid change to allow them to avoid having to be the grownup.

How do they expect to raise the next generation of leaders when they refuse to show them there are rules and consequences? Perhaps some day when they are old one of their former students will be their caretaker, and ignore the rule that they needed that pill at a certain time… wonder if they will still think they did the right thing then.

trollificus (profile) says:

*sigh* Contrarian impulse strikes again...

While this truly is an open-and-shut case of administrative stupidity, I still have to wonder…do you all really think all children should be tolerant of all things? Or just things of which you yourselves approve?

Would you approve of school administrators telling a child to leave an “Al Qaeda Death to the Crusaders” backpack home?

How about a Confederate flag backpack??

How about a Third Reich backpack?

I can hear the “Yeah, but…”s already. So we don’t have a principle here, only a preference? Agreed?

I sympathize with Grayson. I skipped grades, got glasses and then moved to rural southern schools, a perfect storm for bullying. And so it came to pass. BUT. Bullying is an artifact, a temporary stage in social maturation, at least for the huge majority of people. These ‘bullies’ need to stop pushing him around, but you can’t make them like MLP, or Grayson, for that matter. They are, in fact, merely expressing themselves, but need to be taught that this is an unacceptable manner in which to do so. They’re not evil, you guys are just projecting that. They’re 9-year-olds. School needs to help them with the socialization process, which they are failing to do in this case. But that’s about it.

The exaggerations, imaginative characterizations and wild projections regarding these kids is kind of alarming. The irony of a torches-and-pitchforks campaign demanding those bullies be forced to goodthink under the threat of, presumably, school-administered bullying (the ‘good kind’, from the authorities) seems to be…hard to grasp, apparently.

Pragmatic says:

Re: *sigh* Contrarian impulse strikes again...

@ trolloficus, this was not necessarily about tolerance per se, but about gender identification, as many of the commenters have pointed out. Basically, if he’d worn a pink shirt to school and got a swirlie for it, he’d have got the same result. I can’t help thinking he’d have got a better outcome if he’d complained that one of the kids made a gun shape with his fingers and went “bang!”

Except that wouldn’t have been a better outcome, just manipulation of a stupid system. Zero tolerance, my ass.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: *sigh* Contrarian impulse strikes again...

Would you approve of school administrators telling a child to leave an “Al Qaeda Death to the Crusaders” backpack home?

How about a Confederate flag backpack??

How about a Third Reich backpack?

If they asked him to leave it at home because he was getting bullied then I would not approve. If not, then it would depend on the reason. says:

I read shit like this

And Im glad I dont have kids, the educational system is deeply broken, and zero tolerance is one of the biggest contributors. In this specific stupidty the administrator ought to be fired.

How’z about, punish the bullies….? Zero tolerance should be banned from use, and educators should be forcibly retrained in the use of god forbid, common sense… or lose their jobs

Anonymous Coward says:

Mom and I were discussing this the other day.

This is really kinda square at the feet of toy manufacturers. They keep perpetrating the ‘blue is for boys, pink is for girls’ way past the age in which you NEED those colors to distinguish the sex of the child.

Maybe Pink/Blue is great for distinguishing sex when they are all bald/hairless platypuses, but after they get older, why keep forcing the Pink/Blue stereotypical toys?

Oh. That’s right. Because their parents generally freak out and pull the boy child away from pink toys, and the girl child away from the trucks.

Anonymous Coward says:

Well, look, if anything like that happened when I was in grade 8 or whatever, mid 90’s, I probably would have made fun of the kid. But is making fun of people considered bullying these days ? Bullying back in my time was physical intimidation like accepting a hockey body check in the halls and not dare to prevent it whenever you crossed the guy who did it.

The one time I did it, it was just before science class, and unfortunately the dude was sitting next to me (alphabetical order my ass), and he was like NEVER DO THIS AGAIN, then after that I never had a problem with him.

I’m so glad I’m not a kid now, shit’s complicated, we had nerds, skater/punks (with a nerdy side most of the time), metalheads, and that was it, not even jocks, cos EVERYONE DID SPORTS THEN, yeah, in the middle 90’s, when internet was 33,6k max in speed so we’d get bored quick with it.

I’m rambling, had some hydrocodone syrup due to my really bad bronchitis, but there’s a point somewhere in there. Bronies just ask for it is all I’m saying, even girls laugh at them.

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