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The GEM Debate: A Boy And His ‘My Little Pony’ Lunch Bag: A Trigger For Bullying? (VIDEO)

Creative Commons/Lisa Brewster

Creative Commons/Lisa Brewster 

The GEM Debate:
A Boy And His ‘My Little Pony’ Lunch Bag: A Trigger For Bullying? (VIDEO)

I  just heard about this story out of North Carolina. Nine-year-old Grayson Bruce is a “Brony—a male fan of the “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic” television show or franchise. He has a My Little Pony lunch bag, which he carried to school. Classmates physically and verbally attacked him. School officials told Grayson to bring his lunch in something else because the MLP lunch bag is “a trigger for bullying.”

Grayson knows that his favorite cartoon is marketed toward girls, but he doesn’t see a problem with boys watching and liking it, too. He likes the show’s message of friendship. Speaking about the kids who’ve attacked him, he says, “They’re taking it a little too far with, you know, punching me, pushing me down, calling me horrible names. Stuff that really shouldn’t happen.”

In a statement given to the media by the Candler Elementary School in Ashville, N.C., Grayson’s bag was said to have “created a disruption in the classroom.”

Grayson’s mother, Noreen Bruce, is on her son’s side and is calling the school out for excusing the bullying rather than taking action against it. She said, “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.”

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In a statement given to the media by the Candler Elementary School in Ashville, N.C., Grayson’s bag was said to have “created a disruption in the classroom.”

Buncombe County Schools Director of Student Services, David Thompson explained that the district has a three-pronged approach when it comes to bullying: work with the bullies to change their behavior; work with bystanders to teach them that, in Thompson’s words, “We don’t allow this kind of thing to happen to others”; and help the bullied student to understand they didn’t do anything to deserve being targeted and then helping the child to build confidence and find appropriate and effective response to bullies.

That sounds great, but it also doesn’t sound like Grayson’s principal responded in that way. The school dropped the ball on this one. This was an opportunity to engage the students and discuss the ramifications of physically and verbally abusing people because they are so-called different. This was a teachable moment—a real-world event as opposed to an abstract discussion on bullying.

Furthermore, the lunch bag is not the real reason that Grayson’s classmates bullied him. Bullies don’t need a reason to pick on someone. Any reason will do. Take away the lunch bag and it will be a haircut, shoes, earrings—anything, really, that the tormentor deems unacceptable. I’ve seen that play out countless times in my 10 years as a junior high school teacher. Bullying must be addressed at the source–the bully.

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What do you think? Is Grayson’s lunch bag a trigger for bullying? Did the school take the appropriate action? Share your thoughts below.

 

picmonkey alexis

Alexis Trass Walker lives in Gary, Indiana, with her husband and four children. She is managing editor of Good Enough Mother. Read more about Alexis on her blog www.lilliebelle.org or follow her on Twitter @LillieBelle5. You can email her at alexisnw16 [at] gmail [dot] com.

 

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