All because he had a "My Little Pony" lunch box.
When his mother brought it to the attention of the school, they had a simple solution. One that might just solve all bullying in schools.
They told the young man he was not allowed to bring the lunch box to school. That way no one would bully the child. Because when a "girly" lunch box goes away, then there is no reason to pick on a child.
As far as I know, there is no documented punishment for the bullies.
The mom went to the press about it since the school would not listen. It is becoming a viral story.
I know about viral bullying stories. I helped a story about bullying go viral six months ago. Because a woman named Karen Suffern came to my Facebook page for help.
When I was reading commentaries about the "My Little Pony" situation, I read one from one of my favorite writers, Matt Walsh. Now, I have to say he is one of the most talented writers (if not the most) out there, but I rarely agree with him. I wish I had a percentage of his talent and I think he conveys things very well. But his views are just a touch different from mine, yet I can respect his work.
He wrote a post today where he felt like he was going to be in the minority of his viewpoint. He said he would never let his son wear a "My Little Pony" backpack and kind of went back and forth about bullying and gender-related products.
It was very well-written (like all of his work), but I do not agree with him at all. I think his viewpoint is in line with the majority of people, but I could not disagree with him more.
In my eyes, he missed the point of the backpack/lunch box/pony. Many people do.
You see, if a child does not wear a "My Little Pony" backpack/lunch box, then they will be bullied for something else. Bullying has nothing to do with a lunch box. If it was not a lunch box, then it would be for their weight, their height, their gender or their skin color. Granted, the "My Little Pony" backpack/lunch box generally would be for a girl in society's eyes. Since it is not 1963 anymore, I would hope that people would see that boys can have play kitchens and cook and girls can play with army men. Having and building confidence in others should be higher up in society's eyes. I watched Jem and the Holograms when I was a kid. I watched episodes of Sweet Valley High. I had friends who were both male and female. I also liked sports. Does any of it matter?
Not when you realize that bullies are bullies.
That is what schools do not seem to understand. They have this "boys will be boys" and "girls will be girls" mentality which basically sweeps responsibility under the rug for parents and administrators. They hate when people disrupt their flow. Like it is a disruption for an administrator to handle an issue without getting back to it. The school should have just said "Hey, Grayson can have that backpack if he wants, and if anyone picks on him they will be expelled." Done!
Because if it is not "My Little Pony"... what other items is he not allowed to have? Frozen? Doc McStuffins?
If it is not a backpack/lunch box/pony it is something else. I thought about my son and what if he had a "My Little Pony" lunch box. Right now he likes trucks and cars. He watches Toy Story and Cars. He is 4. He plays sports and he hangs out with all of his classmates.
He also knows right from wrong. He knows you do not have to hit someone to stand up for yourself. That is the absolute last resort. He knows confidence, something I lacked as an obese child.
What if a girl came in with a G.I. Joe lunch box and action figure? What if a girl liked black instead of pink? What if a guy has a Sofia the First lunchbox instead of "My Little Pony"?
None of it matters. Not until you understand bullies.
Bullies are weak-minded people. Kid bullies have weak-minded parents who were bullies once as well. They prey on those who have a weakness -- or a visible one. Maybe the kid is chubby, or small, or a color/religion unlike the others. We should be teaching children confidence and tolerance instead of fighting back. Is it realistic? Sadly, no.
We do not live in a "wussification" society. That is what anonymous people on the Internet will tell you. If you think it is more important for a boy to be tough than to treat a woman with respect, then you have been misguided. If you think it is unacceptable for a man to cry, then you have been misguided. We live in the best time now and my fear is that the term "bullying" is being watered down. Not because of the seriousness of these types of cases but because of people loosely yelling "bully." Because of those who think a disagreement is bullying. No, hitting a kid for a lunch box is bullying.
This has nothing to do with a backpack/lunch box. It is silly to bring up "Bronies" and their documentaries because that is not what Grayson is. This has to do with a 9-year-old child who is picked on at school and blamed for his bullying because of a "girly" backpack/lunch box/whatever. I wish I could solve all bullying by using "gender specific" items. When you know exactly what those are... let me know.
Honestly, my son will probably never have a "My Little Pony" backpack. If he did, then more power to him because he will have the confidence to wear it every day. I truly would not care and he will probably do things that I might question and like things I will disagree with. As a parent, I have to use proper discretion. And if people pick on him, then I will fight for him like I do for so many others.
That is not the point. I do not care if my son has the backpack...
I refuse to raise a child who will pick on someone for being different from the masses.