Grayson Bruce’s My Little Pony lunch bag may be coming back to school after all. Jason Rhodes, assistant communications director for Buncombe County Schools in Asheville, N.C., said in a statement Thursday, “We sincerely regret that the issue of being told to leave the bookbag at home was perceived as blaming Grayson. While that was not the intent, the perception became reality. We support Grayson bringing the bookbag to school.”
Jason Rhodes also told The Christian Science Monitor that the school usually has a better handle on bullying than in this “isolated incident.”
Grayson’s school counselor had originally told Grayson to leave his My Little Pony bag at home to remove the “trigger” for bullying and the school had told Ms,Bruce that they hadn’t yet decided what they were going to do next.
Ms. Bruce was so upset that she pulled Grayson out of school to continue his education at home until the school could take more decisive action.
Meanwhile, Grayson’s story caught fire through news outlets, twitter (#supportgrayson #antibullying) and facebook, where fans created a Support for Grayson page. Grayson appeared in an interview with Glen Beck of The Blaze, who then started placing My Little Pony figurines on his desk to show his support.
When the facebook page reached 35,000 likes, Ms. Bruce posted that “…all the messages, pictures and videos of support mean more to the family, and Grayson, than you can even imagine.” Support for Grayson is now over 67,000 likes.
Since then, the Bruce family has met with David Thompson, Buncombe County Schools Director of Student Services, to discuss not only Grayson’s situation, but bullying in general. In a phone interview with The Christian Monitor, Thompson explained that the school’s bullying policies involve a three prong approach: to address the bully, the bystanders who allow bullying to happen, and the bullied, so that they understand that the bullying is not their fault. The Bruce family is now working with the school to improve their policies further.
In an official statement after the meeting the school promised that “Every situation with young children is a teachable moment and we will use this example in our efforts to address a wider issue of bullying. The Bruce family has committed to working with us to improve and enhance our anti-bullying programs.”
Ms. Bruce posted an update today on the Support for Grayson facebook page confirming the school’s sincerity. “We are working with Mr. Thompson to help organize a Parent Advisory Council on Bullying. We will partner with them to make sure that every child feels safe and comfortable at school. After our talk this morning I’m confident that we can make strides in that area. ”
She added that “We are considering all options for getting Grayson back in school. We are pleased the school system is working closely with us. All of the options include Grayson taking his “My Little Pony” bag to school.”