School officials in North Carolina have barred a bullied boy from bringing his “My Little Pony” lunch bag to school.
Fourth-grader Grayson Bruce said he understands why other students tease him for liking the cartoon, which promotes the idea that “friendship is magic.”
“Most of the characters in the show are girls, and most of the people put it toward girls, most of the toys are girlie, and surprisingly I found stuff like this?” Grayson said.
But he said classmates have taken their enforcement of gender norms “too far” by punching him, pushing him down, and calling him names.
The 9-year-old’s mother wants those students to be punished, but the school has instead asked Grayson to stop bringing the “Rainbow Dash” bag to school because it’s “a trigger for bullying.”
“Saying a lunchbox is a trigger for bullying is like saying a short skirt is a trigger for rape,” said the boy’s mother, Noreen Bruce. “It’s flawed logic; it doesn’t make any sense.”
Officials from Buncombe County Schools said in a statement that asking Grayson to stop carrying the bag was “an initial step was taken to immediately address a situation that had created a disruption in the classroom.”
They added that the school district took bullying “very seriously” and vowed to take additional, unspecified steps to resolve the issue.
Another North Carolina boy hung himself off the side of his bunk bed in January after classmates tormented him over his love for “My Little Pony.”
Michael Morones survived the suicide attempt, but the 11-year-old suffered brain damage and remains hospitalized until he can be moved to a specialized rehabilitation center.