Boy’s ‘My Little Pony’ backpack banned; called ‘trigger for bullying’

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BUNCOMBE COUNTY, NC (WTVR) — A 9-year-old boy has been told by his school to leave his “My Little Pony” backpack at home because it’s reportedly a “trigger for bullying.”

According to Huffington Post, Grayson Bruce said other students picked on him and bullied him because the backpack was “girly.” His mother, Noreen Bruce, said her son was punched, pushed down and called names over the fuzzy blue pony bag with ears.

“They’re taking it a little too far with you know, punching me and pushing me down — calling me horrible names. Stuff that really shouldn’t happen,” Grayson  said.

Bruce said Buncombe County Schools officials told her son to leave the backpack at home to “immediately address a situation that had created a disruption in the classroom.”

Once news of Grayson’s tribulations spread online, thousands signed an online petition and took to a Facebook page to demand he be allowed to carry the bag.

As of 10:30 a.m. Monday, a petition asking that Grayson be allowed to bring the backpack back to school had over 3,000 signatures.

Facebook page created in support of Grayson had nearly 14,000 “likes” Monday morning.

“We hope this page can offer support and shine light on a serious issue! Bullying needs to stop and we need to empower children to be who they are!” the page’s about message states.

Messages of support have been pouring in to the Facebook page.

“I’m sorry about what happened, but just keep your chin up, stay strong, and don’t let anybody change who you are,” Petty Officer Dorr with the United States Navy told Grayson in a video message.

Click here for more on this story from the Huffington Post.


  • john

    I think in this situation, if I were the mother, I would explain to the boy…yes, you can like whatever you want (to a reasonable extent), have whatever interests or hobbies you want (to a reasonable extent), use your own personal forms of self expression..and you shouldn’t be ashamed of it.

    On the other hand, as his mother, I would explain to him… not everyone you encounter will accept your likes or your forms of self expression, and if you want to take your my little pony backpack to school…good for you…but expect criticism from the kids around you.

    Let him take his backpack to school…but prepare him for the real world as well. Yes, this situation is unjust…but the staff involved in banning the backpack probably thought they were saving the kid more harassment. Thinking back to when I was in school, none of my teachers were very concerned with “freedom of self expression”. They were more concerned with making any form of distraction disappear. Not the best way of handling the situation…but these are the people we have employed to teach our kids They’re not trained psychologists

    As much as I’d love to see bullying disappear, I think in this particular situation its up to the parent to explain how to handle these unjust encounters hes inevitably going to encounter. Just like its up to the parents’ of these other 9 year olds to explain to their children that its not alright to tease or bully, no matter what the case.

  • Shannon

    Oh good grief…I’m the only one with the nerve to say this, but not alone in my analysis. Maybe a little parental discretion could be beneficial. They’re may be kids who still take a liking to their pacifier at an advanced age, but probably best not to send them to school with one. When living in a rural town as this appears, I would not elect to brand and draw attention to my child. It may seem like a momentary victory, but he’s going to be in middle school and high school one day. Is this really what you want your child known for?
    Children should NEVER be placed in the position to fight adult battles. You can deal with it, they are not yet emotionally matured with this capability.

    • GH

      Apparently you haven’t matured at all. Everybody is their own person and expresses themselves as individuals whether that be kids or adults. The problem is not the expression of individualism but instead it is the bullies and their parents. The bullies need to be taught that what they are doing is wrong and their parents should be embarrassed that they have raised rude and ignorant kids. Its not too late to teach them to be a productive member of society and to respect others regardless of their belief.

      Should I pick on you because of the church you go to or the clothes you wear. Maybe all schools should have uniforms and all adults only where black pants and white shirts. Maybe we should fear being individuals as you suggest. Would that make the world a better place? NO!!!

      I want nothing of a tyrannical oppressed society that has no individualism that apparently you crave.

  • lt

    What would fix it…no toys at school. No animal purses, no rubber band bracelets, Wal-Mart or target only khaki or navy pants or long shorts, white socks, boat Oxford shoes, Wal-Mart or target brand white or navy polo and those ugly clear backpacks. No colored hair, no jewelry, no unnatural cuts. No toys, no designer folders, notebooks, pencil holders or lunch boxes. School issued supplies and take the television sets with news and commercials out of the schools. One for all, all for one. No characters, not e enough on water bottles. Back to a communist classroom. Yellow pencils for all. Mechanical? No way. I do not want to hear it click. No individualism. No discrepancies in hierarchy of income levels. I see problems with all of them and bullying. E your child would want to go where they cannot express themselves as an individual?

  • Nathan Crawford

    If teachers don’t want to fulfill the most important part of their job – being a parent – they should not be allowed to teach.

    This enables the bullies, disenfranchises not only this student, but ALL students and it removes accountability from the school board.


  • Michelle Skigen

    I would like to share my 15 year old daughter’s observations that she made yesterday:

    “That whole situation with that on school banning a boy from wearing a “My Little Pony” backpack and claiming it as a “Trigger For Bullying”…
    There are other triggers…. for example:
    Wearing glasses, certain clothing (A.K.A “Fashion Sense”)
    Shortness, obesity or personality
    Not being the same religion as every one else (Big one all up in here)
    Different ethnicity (Big one all up in here)
    Poor social status
    Not able to afford certain things
    Not having the latest technology
    Being a “nerd” or “geek” (Also known as “Wanting to get an education”. This here is a big one.)
    Simply being different (Here’s another big one)
    Need I go on?

    Are they going to ban this stuff too?

    I’m sure there are other boys at that particular school who like MLP or maybe some girls there who would be willing to back him up. I know I will. Bronies and Pegasisters alike gotta stick together.”

    I am a proud mom!

  • Kat

    This is ridiculous.

    “Lets not try to put a stop to actual bullying. Lets instead violate someone’s freedom of speech rights”

    Poor kid. The school officials need a lesson or two on how to stop or prevent bullying. This solves nothing.

  • nicole

    All this school did was let the bullies win. This boy likes his backpack and I give him a lot of credit for continuing to carry it despite being bullied. A lion doesnt care what sheep think, and this little boy will grow up to be a lion. Hats off to his parents for allowing his individuality

  • therabbitseye

    To all of the terrifying people in this comment section saying “They’re not criminals, they’re kids.” They have assaulted another human being. That’s a criminal offense, regardless of age.

  • Michael Hovey

    A boy who brings a my little pony lunchbox to school should be expected to get bullied. Makes complete sense to me. Kids these days should be smart enough not to bring stuff with them to school that would automatically get them beat up or made fun of. Sure it’s sad he got bullied, but it’s his own dang fault really. Kids just need to wake up and get smarter that’s all.

  • Stac

    How is being named Grayson a trigger for being bullied. No matter WHAT your name or gender, you should NEVER be bullied. Silly comment to make.

  • Molly

    It’s scary how many people in this discussion promote conformism over tolerance. Is that what you teach your children? Makes me worry for the future. Stop putting bricks in the wall.

  • Vanessa (@vanessa_filmfan)

    What a bunch of cowards. Instead of addressing the bullies, they limit the kid’s freedom of expression. I’m so sick of people defending bullies by saying that the kids should stand up for themselves. Guess what? Not all kids have the strength to do that; bullies take advantage of that and pick on the easy, most vulnerable targets. Another baffling point that people bring up in defence of bullies is that kids who are ‘different’ should expect to get bullied and that it’s their own fault. Are you out of your minds? Do you have any idea what message that sends to kids? It tells kids that instead of expressing themselves, they should conform. The people at fault are the BULLIES, not an innocent kid who decided to wear a My Little Pony backpack because he likes it. The fact that he got bullied is indicative of the problems that bullies have with themselves; they make others feel like shit so that they themselves can feel better. THAT’S the underlying issue here, not a kid’s backpack.

    There is no long-term solution here; there will always be bullies. But there is ALWAYS room for improvement. Banning the kid’s backpack is a step in the wrong direction.

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