NC boy says school banned his ‘My Little Pony’ backpack

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BUNCOMBE COUNTY, N.C. – A North Carolina mother and her 9-year-old son say school officials won’t let him bring a “My Little Pony” bookbag to class.

The boy says he’s been shoved around by bullies who think his favorite toy is only for girls.

“They’re taking it a little too far, with punching me, pushing me down, calling me horrible names, stuff that really shouldn’t happen,” said 9-year-old Grayson Bruce.

Bruce has developed a following on Facebook after a friend made a support page for him. A petition has also been created for him.

Bruce and his mother said they stand by his favorite cartoon and the message he says it sends.

“It’s promoting friendship, there’s no bad words, there’s no violence, it’s hard to find that, even in cartoons now,” she said.

Noreen Bruce says Thursday, the school asked him to leave the pack at home because it had become a distraction and was a “trigger for bullying.”

“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,” Bruce said.

Noreen Bruce said she wants punishment for the students involved.

Buncombe County schools said in a statement: “an initial step was taken to immediately address a situation that had created a disruption in the classroom. Buncombe county schools takes bullying very seriously, and we will continue to take steps to resolve this issue.”

CNN contributed to this report.


  • its my business

    Forget the book bag, check out the t-shorts that our youth wear today that have been purchased by their parents. I wonder if the book bag had a Pokemon logo? Would the child be bullied by that? Bullying is unacceptable. I am a Mom of two children who would not carry that type of logo’d bag. Has anyone ever thought ???? It might be the only book bag the child has?? This is absurd. The bullying needs to stop. Period – no contest. I trust this child will rise up and somehow forget this “experience”. smh

    • its my business

      I meant t-shirt.

      Plus, I have a lot of book bags I can send anywhere, just let me know if you need one for FREE. I still think if the “boy” wanted to take “The Little Pony Book bag” to school, there should be no bullying – -anywhere under any circumstances. I will have to go back and read it again, as it is so absurd.

  • Patrice Collins

    My son played with dolls and my daughter played with cars and trucks. Nothing wrong with that at all. Tell me Buncomb County School district….. if a girl brought a camouflage bag or Hot Wheels bag to school would you tell her to leave it home? Instead of telling the child not to bring it why not explain to the kids picking on him why what they are doing is wrong. I swear we as a society need to quit bending and start bonding.

    • its my business

      Patrice Collins –
      You are spot on! I wish I was as quick to post that. Great post. I do wonder if a girl brought a camouflage bag or Hot Wheels bag to school would you tell her to leave it home? IMO – NO. And to take it one step further, the other boys and girls would have probably admired the “look”. Very well said Patrice!

    • its my business

      Terrell Scott – how can you say out of one side of your mouth that you agree with the school but bullying is not right at all? does the school have “uniform policies’ like ours instituted years ago? The logo’d book bag was never an issue. If a girl was carrying the same book bag – it would not be an issue. Done.

    • NobodyKnows

      Yep, bring back the old days and the old ways..The hickory switch speaks louder than words and is better remembered..

  • Thomas

    Well, if students cannot wear NRA, Christian-themed, or even American flag shirts to school, when why can’t students be prohibited from bringing items to class that may encourage bullying and disrupting class?

  • FaithC

    “Noreen Bruce says Thursday, the school asked him to leave the pack at home because it had become a distraction and was a “trigger for bullying.”

    So instead of dealing with the kids doing the bullying, they choose to punish the child being bullied. I guess it is easer to make this child not bring a book bag to school, than it is to deal with the real problem. This is ridiculous. Do your job, suspend the bullies, make it clear that these actions will not be tolerated. Schools are so afraid to take any action against any child who is a problem. I just don’t know why.

  • rmays

    The issue here is the bulling! That is what needs to be dealt with. The children involved and their parents need to focused on and a resolution and punishment should be requested by school officials.
    Requesting he accommodate the bullies is ridiculous.

  • NobodyKnows

    50 years ago we would have a pillowcase party for the bully..Sneak up behind the bully and pull a pillowcase down over his (or her) head, shoulders and arms..Then a group would beat the snot out of him..From then on he doesn’t know who is friend or foe..It brought on a whole new attitude about being a bully..

  • its my business

    My sons were happy as clams to take a Barney Book Bag with them to school and as they aged up and out of Barney (and other character logos) we got new book bags. Apparently, this school does not have a true established dress code. (No logos, anywhere). I went through this with my kids,protested with others and lost. We went to dress code within 2 weeks. Poor little guy, at his age – he probably should be moved out of the “Little Pony Bag” to something a lottle less generic. IMO

    • Chu

      No, he shouldn’t.

      I’m 24 years old and I have a Tigger backpack that I got in Disney on the only family vacation I ever had.

      We’re allowed to like what we want to like. I find it appalling that the people who are supposed to be protecting the students from bullying are making a mockery of the situation by saying the backpack is a “trigger for bullying”.

      Not if a girl was holding it. It’s forcing gender roles; because he’s a boy “he shouldn’t like My Little Pony.”

  • sinnerfrank

    Get this young man some boxing lessons and two pair of brass knuckles toughen his ase up !! It is and all ways will be a mean ase world !!

  • Eighth Doctor

    How about instead of sending the boy home for having a “bully trigger” , you actually do something about the bullies themselves. The reason that bullying is so prevalent is because the schools don’t really do anything unless its physical violence. Sure the bullies may get a talking to by the teacher or principal, but the bullies don’t care. They will continue bullying the kid into oblivion. Also there is nothing wrong with a little boy liking MLP. In fact I would encourage them to watch that instead of “manly” things, like ( Fake) Football, or wrestling or whatever the devil you kids watch these days. ( Good lord, I sound like an old man, and I’m only 18.)

  • Patrick

    Leaving the bookbag at home will not stop the bullying. This kid is now the target and they will find something else to bully him about. If something isn’t done it will never stop, even when he moves up in grades, the bullies will continue to find things “odd” about him to continue the bullying behavior.

  • Kisa Johnson

    See no, this shouldn’t fly. AT ALL.
    My 2nd daughter has loved Spider-man since she was 2 1/2. On her first day of school (in Kindergarten) she went to class wearing a spider-man dress (that I made her) with spider-man tennis shoes and a spider-man backpack. You know what happened? She got made fun of by some boys.
    Know what the school did? Talked to those boys and actually made them turn their ‘color cards’ that they used for behavior. Each time any boy picked on her for her love of Spider-man (or Pokemon) the school took action, not against her. She didn’t have to change (she’s 10 1/2 and still loves Pokemon and Spider-man) but the boys were talked to each time about how to treat others.

    It’s the bullies in the story here that need dealt with, not this boy who likes what he likes and wants to have things that show off his like of something.

    If they’re going to make this boy leave his MLP backpack at home, then every other kid needs to have a plain backpack too. One that doesn’t show off any character or sport or anything other than a color, or pattern. That way it’s fair across the board. Not likely to happen though!

  • Sue

    Bullying should not be tolerated, we need to be teaching kids to be tolerant of some one being different. But at the same time I feel for this boy, is his father not around to teach him how to be a man? Such a shame kids so often do not have both parents around to have the balance needed.

  • ange

    I agree the boy should not of been asked to leave the backpack at home because it triggered bullying. .. that is lame.. and the school needs to step up and take responsibility and punish the kids who were bullying. .. doesn’t the school have a no tolerance policy for bullying? ?? If doesn’t it needs one. .. Also the parents of the kids who were the bullies need to step up and hold their kids accountable. .. that’s the problem with today’s parent no one wants to do what is morally correct.

  • Linda

    I live in Buncombe County where this happened and it is absolutely insane. this county is so backwards, the bully here needs to be dealt with by the school. When I was his age I carried a ELF backpack to school (and yes I’m a girl) none of my classmates made fun of me over it…. Why? We were brought up better than that and would had to answer to our parents.

  • Christina

    Anyone stop to think that maybe the school is trying to protect him from further bullying the only way they can? Even if you punish the kids for this incident, there’s always another ready to step up. What about next time? You want to just keep sending a kid to school with something you KNOW is getting him bullied? What’s wrong with you people? It’s wrong that he’s being bullied, but the parents should be doing anything in their control to minimize it.

    Don’t get me wrong, the bullies should be being punished. They have the right to voice their opinions, but what has been said here is assault. And that’s not legal. And it’s not ok. And it’s also not ok that the school is saying he can’t bring it because it’s a ‘distraction’ or ‘incites bullying’ but aren’t banning any little girls from bringing in the same back pack or lunch bag. That’s sexual discrimination, and that’s not ok either.

  • Tia

    As a parent who would do anything to keep their child from being bullied I have to say leave the stupid bag home for goodness sake. Pick and choose your battles mother. These 15 minutes in the spot light is not good in the long run for your kid. What’s sad is yes bullying but you allowing him to be bullied is worse. The school is looking out for the child too bad you’re not. Put your foot down and have him carry transformers and play with ponies with the bronies at home not school. Why can’t parents think instead of looking for ways to stick themselves and their kids in the spot light? I do not feel bad for the kid at all. I feel bad for the school system for dealing with these parents. Hey here’s a thought those that are acting like bullies get thrown out of school.

  • GirlyBackPacksAreAWESOME

    Only in the USA! Do you know that in Bermuda it is a trend for School boys to wear a girly character backpack to school and for girls to wear a boy character backpack to school! No bullying! The USA kids need to get on this tip! It has been a trend for over 15 years in school across the island! I had multiple girl character backpacks from age 10-16 they were my sisters backpacks.

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