‘My Little Pony’ bag is ‘bullying trigger’

Grayson Bruce, 9, can’t take his My Little Pony lunch bag to school because school officials say it’s a “trigger for bullying.”

Bullies who think My Little Pony is for girls are “punching me, pushing me down, calling me horrible names, stuff that really shouldn’t happen,” the North Carolina boy told WLOS-TV.

Buncombe County Schools gave WLOS a statement that said: “An initial step was taken to immediately address a situation that had created a disruption in the classroom.  Buncombe County Schools takes bullying very seriously, and we will continue to take steps to resolve this issue.”

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  1. SC Math Teacher says:

    “Buncombe County Schools takes bullying very seriously….”

    Um, no they don’t. Not even close. I wonder what else qualifies as a “trigger for bullying” that they should ban.

    • Deirdre Mundy says:

      Obviously, the kid who’s good at math should flunk a few quizzes to fit in… or give answers to the other students…. oh wait! That’s the advice my mom got FROM THE TEACHER when my classmates were physically abusing ME…..

      Schools nearly always side with the bullies until there’s a lawsuit on the table. I suspect this is because many bullies go on to teach school….

  2. Once again, you have to be a moron to be a public school administrator.

  3. I agree that the admins’ response was totally inappropriate. Bullies should be disciplined. Period. However, the kid’s mother should have known that a lunchbox like that would be seen as sissy, girlish etc. and that Little Ponies anything would best be kept at home and would have avoided the whole situation.

    • SC Math Teacher says:

      You’re right, of course. A frank discussion with the boy would’ve gone a long way. But I wonder where the line would be drawn.

      My oldest is entering HS next year, and, while in the top classes, he also runs with the “cool” crowd. My middle child is entering MS next year, and he, too, is in the top classes. However, he is different from his big brother, and tends to hang out with a crowd that, well, let’s say they’re not at the cutting edge of cool. He is less emotionally mature than his big brother was at that age, too. While I’m not going to let him go to school with the equivalent of a “kick me” sign on his back, it is entirely possible that his demeanor might lend itself to some teasing from, say, a self-appointed arbiter of cool. What then? Hide his true nature just to get by? (Fortunately he has a core group of friends and a solid constitution, so I think he’ll do just fine.)

  4. Roger Sweeny says:

    This is analogous to the situation in California where administrators forbade students from wearing American flag shirts on Cinco de Mayo because they feared it would cause fights. (Joanne’s February 28, 2014 post “Court: U.S. flag is unsafe at U.S. school”) In both cases, there is a “heckler’s veto”: you can’t say or do as you want because if you do, the “hecklers” will cause trouble.

    In both cases, the administrators should make clear that students can show American flag shirts or My Little Pony lunchboxes, and anyone who interferes with that will be appropriately disciplined.

  5. Thinly Veiled Anonymity says:

    It would be different if he were old enough to be gay. Then they’d bend over backwards to expel the bullies.

  6. Jerry Doctor says:

    Let me make it very clear that I believe students that were being physically abusive need fast and significant punishment. The punching and pushing are never acceptable. But having said that…

    Nine years old and a MLP lunch box? Really? In case you haven’t noticed, kids are cruel. And something like this is guaranteed to set them off. I’ve heard what the boy has to say. I’ve heard what the mother has to say. What I haven’t heard is anything from or about the father. Could it be that there isn’t one? Without a male role model and surrounded by females (family and school) that view boys simply as poorly behaving girls, I am afraid this kid’s problems are just starting.

    • Mark Roulo says:

      Don’t jump toconclusions 🙂
      My son used to wear Disney princess shirts. They were pretty, he would explain. This went on through age nine or ten. And, yes, he does have a male role model in the house. And, no, his mother does not view him as a defective girl.

      • Jerry Doctor says:

        Princess shirts, Mark? And the other 9/10 year old boys didn’t tease him when he wore them to school?

        I freely admit I could be wrong about this. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time I totally misread a situation. BUT – with absolutely no mention of the dad in the articles I’ve seen, I’d bet money dad isn’t in the home.

        Again I emphasize that punching and pushing cannot be tolerated. Placing a protective barrier of mommy and the teachers around him to shield him from any disrespect by fellow students will only make things worse in the long run.

        • Mark Roulo says:

          We homeschool, so teasing at school wasn’t an issue. It mostly came up at extra-curricular events (little league, etc) or when playing with friends who had other friends over. My guess is that you need a critical mass for this to move from “it bothers the other boys” into physical aggression.

    • palisadesk says:

      “What I haven’t heard is anything from or about the father. Could it be that there isn’t one? Without a male role model and surrounded by females (family and school) that view boys simply as poorly behaving girls, I am afraid this kid’s problems are just starting -”

      No worries, no reason to think the boy is surrounded by effeminate or no male role models. Maybe dad is a Brony.

      Never heard of a Brony, eh? Well, there’s a documentary about them (they are adult male fans of “My Little Pony” and there are huge numbers of them). See the trailer:

      And “Wired” did a detailed article about them, it’s quite interesting:


      Even Business Insider had a recent article on the phenomenon.

      For more info, check out http://whatisabrony.com/

      • Jerry Doctor says:

        Having read the “brony” articles you linked I have two comments.

        1. The peers of a 9 year old boy respond very differently to, shall we say “unexpected” behavior than do the peers of a 30 something man.

        2. This is getting creepy!

  7. Next they will be changing children’s names. Don’t send your gal named Stanley Ann or your boy named Sue to this school. It is not inclusive.

  8. The kid should take up karate, judo, or MMA. Then when he gets bullied, he can kick the crap out of the bullies. I’d say after a few broken noses, arms, and ribs, they’ll get the hint 🙂

  9. Richard Aubrey says:

    Enabling thugs and bullies.
    Butthead kids have butthead parents and it probably seemed easier to the admin to shaft the victim.
    The system ought to provide an armed guard if that’s what it takes, if the kid wants to carry MLP through his senior year.
    And the armed guard ought to be laying about him with a large stick if anybody gives the kid a hard time.
    That said, whose idea was this?
    It wouldn’t be the first time a kid’s been made to walk point in the culture wars. See Shannon Faulkner and the Citadel. Afterwards, she said nobody’d been interested in her, none of the folks pushing her.
    Do we have some self-righteous nutcase at home?

  10. Roger Sweeny says:

    from Eugene Volokh, UCLA law professor and First Amendment expert:

    “This story struck me much like the story of the high school kids told not to wear American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo, because of thuggery by some of their classmates.

    “It may well be that the school may restrict speech that yields a disruptive reaction by some listeners, given Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969); the First Amendment generally bans such governmental enforcement of a “heckler’s veto,” but the matter may be different in K-12 schools. And I understand school authorities’ desire to stop the disruption, and get back to teaching.

    “But such reaction by schools itself teaches students something — it teaches bullies that, if they threaten enough disruption, the school will react against their victims. At this point, it’s just 9-year-olds, and 9-year-olds do some dumb things. (The “thugs” in my headline is a bit facetious, though not much.) But they can be taught before they grow up into 15-year-olds, or 20-year-olds.

    “In particular, if the school used this as an opportunity to teach kids that they can’t beat kids up for being fans of material that is seen as “too girly,” the high school students that these kids will grow into might be more tolerant of speech and behavior they disapprove of. And if the school teaches kids that, if they push others around, the school will make those others conform, then the high school students of the future will learn that lesson, too.

    “Of course, parents might sometimes want to teach their children that discretion is the better part of valor, and that they need to pick their battles. Maybe that’s a wise lesson to teach here, too, though much depends on the circumstances. (Teaching kids to stand up for what they believe in, even in the face of violence, can also be a good lesson, and while My Little Pony might seem a bit frivolous to many of us, it might not seem this way to the boy.) But in any event, it seems to me that this should be a call for the child and his parents to make. The school should protect the child by coming down on the bullies who are pushing the boy around — not by itself pushing the boy around some more.”