North Carolina school lifts ban on bullied boy's "My Little Pony" backpack

"We support Grayson bringing the bookbag to school," the school announced

By Katie McDonough
March 21, 2014 7:20PM (UTC)
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Noreen and Grayson Bruce (WLOS)

A 9-year-old North Carolina boy who was banned from bringing his “My Little Pony” backpack to school after district officials called it a "trigger for bullies" will now return with the bag in tow, school officials announced Thursday.

Grayson Bruce was physically and verbally attacked by classmates who did not like his choice of backpack or his love of "My Little Pony," but rather than defend Grayson and his bag, the school ordered him to leave it at home. Grayson’s mom, Noreen, defended her son and criticized the school's handling of the situation. “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,” she said.

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“They’re taking it a little too far with, you know, punching me, pushing me down, calling me horrible names,” Grayson said of the bullying. “Stuff that really shouldn’t happen.”

Officials from the Buncombe County School District met with Grayson's parents Thursday and released the following statement on their change of heart:

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.

"We are considering all options for getting Grayson back in school. We are pleased the school system is working closely with us," Grayson's parents responded. "All of the options include Grayson taking his 'My Little Pony' bag to school."


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Boys Bullies Education Gender Gender Norms Gender Roles Harassment Masculinity My Little Pony