School Bans Boy From Bringing Lunch in 'My Little Pony' Bag

my little ponyGot some pain relievers? Grab them, because this story is bound to give you a headache. A school in North Carolina is getting a lot of heat right now after telling a 9-year-old boy that he can't bring his My Little Pony lunchbag to school anymore.

What's so wrong with Rarity and Rainbow Dash that a school would ban the ponies? Well, it turns out Grayson Bruce was being bullied over his bag.

Way to punish the victim, Buncombe County Schools?

Well, yeah.

From the sounds of the situation, the school is completely out of line here. The message they're sending to these bullies is pretty clear: if you act like a jerk, you win. I'm 100 percent in Grayson's mom's corner as she demands the school actually punish the bullies instead of her son.

But even as folks rally around this family and fight the good fight for the My Little Pony lunchbag, I have to admit there's a small part of me that feels ... guilty watching this all go down.

Would I fight for my kid in the same situation? Certainly.

But then, I don't know if I'd let her get herself in that situation.

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It isn't that I don't support my child or her imagination. She is a free spirit, and I love that about her. But I was bullied as a kid. I know what it's like to be on the receiving end of taunts and jeers. That haunts me enough that it plays a role in how I parent.

Simply put: I don't allow my daughter to wear or bring everything she likes to school ... at least not the things that might make her a target.

This is where my guilt comes into play, where the ache in my head begins to throb.

My heart tells me to encourage her to let her freak flag fly because our individuality is what makes life worth living. My head, on the other hand, tells me that kids can be cruel, and there's no point in purposely making oneself a target, not when you have to attend the same school as these kids day in and day out for years to come, not when kids are already finding reasons to be mean, already bullying her.

When heart and head collide, I feel like I'm totally failing as a mom.

I don't want her to feel like she should just run with the crowd; I want her to forge her own path. And I should be clear that there are times I certainly make a stand for being whoever she wants to be. Just the other day, she told me that people made fun of her for being friends with first graders (she's in third grade). I told her that she should tell those people that they'll miss out on knowing a lot of great people if they're only friends with people their own age.

I will not raise a sheep.

And yet ... the scars of bullying run deep. When she asks to bring a toy that some would call babyish for an 8-year-old to school, I hesitate. Sometimes I say no.

I don't ban it at home, nor do I tell her why it is I'm saying no, lest it mark her psyche. But I err on the side of caution.

I am not going to say Grayson's mom was wrong for letting him bring that lunchbag to school. She was supporting her kid, and that's what kids need. Nor do I excuse the school for victim blaming.

But I have to be completely honest: seeing once again how cruel kids can be -- and how unresponsive school districts can be to parents' complaints -- only steels my resolve to protect my child as best I can from being a bully's target.

How about you? Do you ever worry that your kids' choices make them targets of bullies?


Image by Jeanne Sager

bullies, toys


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NatAndCo NatAndCo

You're teaching your kid that she should hide who she is. That it's "wrong". You should teach her to be confident in who she is and what she likes. That lesson of "hide who you really are" will continue as she gets older and she'll be stuck pretending forever

nonmember avatar Erica

Also, I was bullied for a time myself as a kid. It does hurt a lot, but I can look back as an adult and see the bullies for what they were. Sad, miserable kids who had to bully others so they didn't hate themselves so much. But a bully will find anything to torment someone over. I believe that encouraging a kid to bow down instead of being sure of themselves just because someone else doesn't like something will only teach them to be a doormat and to look to others to decide who they should be. The scars of being bullied can last a long time, but they can fade. It's a lot harder to learn to stand up for yourself and be who you are when you've spent your whole life doing the opposite.

nhamp... nhampton401

You're no better than the school then. Oh just don't act like that cause you'll get bullied. NO act like that if that's who you are. Who cares what someone else thinks. Stand firm in what you believe and screw everyone else.

Frost... FrostyMelted

Bullies should be publicly caned. 

Ellen Waltos

My 4 year old son loves My little pony. If he wanted their merch I would get it for him! Punish the bully not the victim.

nonmember avatar Kristi

Honestly I wouldn't have let my son take a pony lunch box in the first place. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to foresee the reactions of kids of that age. I am here to protect my kids from the fallout of a bad decision. There are more ways to encourage creativity and choices for a 9 year old.

the4m... the4mutts

Seeing as how my oldest son's half brother just tried to kill himself not to far from that school, over the same kind of bullying, Im not surprised that the school took this stance. That area of NC is already under fire for doing nothing about the bullying of Michael Morones, to the point that the poor child tried to hang himself. He almost didn't make it :(

Now, Im not saying the school is in the RIGHT here. At all. But I can see why they would want to remove the catalyst first and foremost.

Sheena Jones

Why should kids hide who they are because of some mean bully. As adults, if our peers were bullying us and assualted us over what we wear, drive, our jobs, or anything else we would call the police. These kids are being taught they can beat up people over stuff they don't like. Do you honestly think that they are picking on these kids because of a lunch box?? You are a fool if you do. These kids found a weakness and exploited it. They willl continue to do so, until someone stands up to them and holds them accountable for their actions. They need strong consistent punishment from all sides, especially their parents!! Teach them there is no excuse for bad behavior and violence. Stop protecting the bullies and start protecting our children.

mojoe... mojoe12776

I agree with you 100%. When my oldest was in college a creepy stalker gave her a large white puppy w pink ears as a present. When we went to visit, she gave it to my son, for the 6 hour trip home, to use as a pillow. He did just that, in the car and in bed. To him it was a cuddly stuffed animal friend that worked as a pillow. Then came PTA movie night. He wanted to take his puppy pillow. I could see it. My son walking into movie night w a pink puppy. He wouldn't have made it out of there at all without comments. I said we should leave the puppy home as it was white and would get dirty on the floor. He said ok without an issue and took a different pillow. School is hard enough without putting a target on a child's back and sadly some kids don't make it out alive. He can fight the bullies when he's older and better equipped to deal with them. Right now it's my job to protect him and see the world for what it really is not what I wish it could be.

Katie Holley

I allow my daughters to be who they are. If there is something I feel they may be picked on about, I will tell them, let them make the decision if they want to share it with their peers (and they ALWAYS choose to still go with it), then give them advise on how to handle the bullies. My oldest is in 2nd grade and understands kids can be mean, and she has been on the receiving end of bullying. She still dares to be different, and I so admire that! This boy obviously knew the kids were picking on him because of his bag, but still wanted to bring it. I think both him and his mom were aware of the negative attention it was bringing. This school should have used this as an opportunity to teach acceptance, instead they have condoned the bullying behavior of the other children. This mom and little boy are doing the right thing. If he can handle all this criticism, and still want to stand up and be himself ... what an AWESOME kid! And good job, Mom, for supporting him!

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