Fourth-grader Grayson Bruce has been the victim of bullying at Buncombe County Schools because of his My Little Pony lunch bag. The school’s immediate solution? Ask Grayson to leave the bag at home.
9-year-old Grayson and his mother, Noreen Bruce, are disappointed by the NC school’s decision. Ms. Bruce points out that “Saying a lunchbox is a trigger for bullying is like saying a short skirt is a trigger for rape. It’s flawed logic; it doesn’t make any sense.”
School officials argued in a statement to abc13 that their request is part of “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.” Despite the school’s insistence that they take bullying seriously, no move has yet been made to punish or address the bullies themselves.
Grayson Bruce says he understands why My Little Pony makes him a target for bullies. “Most of the characters in the show are girls, and most of the people put it toward girls, most of the toys are girlie.” Bruce adds that, “They’re taking it a little too far, with punching me, pushing me down, calling me horrible names, stuff that really shouldn’t happen,” the 9-year-old explained.
This news comes after bullying drove an 11 year old boy to attempt suicide by hanging himself from his bedpost in January, also over his My Little Pony fandom.
This week, Rueters reported on a studying tying bullying to suicidal thoughts. Rueters reports that children who are bullied are twice as likely to attempt suicide as children who are not bullied. Mitch Van Geel, the study’s lead author from the Institute of Education and Child Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands, explains that “There are now meta-analyses that demonstrate that bullying is related to depression, psychosomatic problems and even suicide attempts, and thus we should conclude that bullying is definitely not harmless.” Van Geel concludes that “efforts should continue to reduce bullying among children and adolescents, and to help those adolescents and children involved in bullying.”
The Buncombe County School Board provides its students with a thorough definition of bullying in its policies, yet makes little in the way of promises of decisive action: “If appropriate, the person making the complaint shall be notified of the results of the investigation and what, if any, disciplinary action the school system shall take against the individual accused of bullying, harassment, hazing or discrimination.”
Interested in preventing bullying and the psychological damage it causes? Learn how you can help by visiting Stomp Out Bullying, the nation’s leading bullying and cyberbullying prevention organization for kids and teens.
Meanwhile, Grayson leaves his My Little Pony lunch bag at home and waits to find out what “steps” his school might take against bullying.