Nine-year-old Grayson Bruce, who gained nationwide attention when the story broke of his “My Little Pony” backpack being banned from school, will now be allowed to carry his cartoon-themed accessory.
WLOS-TV reported that the elementary school student in Buncombe County, North Carolina was prevented from bringing his Rainbow Dash backpack to school last year because school officials worried it would provoke bullying.
Grayson is a fan of My Little Pony, despite the fact that other kids think it's "girlie."
"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 told the channel.
When Grayson began carrying his Rainbow Dash backpack, his classmates began taunting him cruelly—to the point that he is still being kept home from school.
"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 Grayson.
Grayson’s mom, Noreen Bruce, regrets that such malice could come out of a show that sets a good example for kids.
"It's promoting friendship, there's no bad words, there's no violence, it's hard to find that, even in cartoons now," said Bruce.
Grayson’s story has made headlines and prompted nationwide support. There is a Facebook page devoted to Grayson and his backpack that has garnered nearly 70,000 “likes.” Grayson and his mom appearing on “Good Morning America” to talk about bullying.
The school just consented to allow Grayson to carry his bag, in tandem with revising their bullying policy.
Buncombe County Schools Interim Communications Director Jason Rhodes told the Christian Science Monitor that the school system handles bullying better, as a rule, than in “this isolated incident.”
Buncombe County Schools Director of Student Services, David Thompson, said that bullying in children begins with adults.
“First of all, we recognize that this [bullying] is not just a school problem, but a very serious cultural problem for adults too,” Mr. Thompson says. “Kids see bias in humor of comedians, in politics, and all over seeping into their consciousness and it’s reflected in our schools in the form of bullying.”
"Adults will often make jokes and use sarcasm around children. For many children who are very literal, they take it to heart. Adults may not even realize the bias they are imparting," Thompson says.
Bruce said in response that the best possible outcome of the situation would be if parents “talk to their children about embracing themselves and others.”