Statement from Buncombe County Schools after the meeting: We have appreciated the opportunity to meet with the Bruce family and discuss the issues. 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 discussed a number of options to consider in moving forward for Grayson. All of the options discussed included a safety transition plan and an allowance for Grayson to bring the bookbag to school.
Every situation with young children is a teachable moment and we will use this example in our efforts to address a wider issue of bullying. The Bruce family has committed to working with us to improve and enhance our anti-bullying programs.
We ask for everyone’s patience and understanding as we continue to work collaboratively with the family toward a resolution that is best for Grayson and his classmates at Candler Elementary School.
UPDATE: March 19: Good Morning America reports on the Grayson Bruce story.
UPDATE March 18: Talk radio star Glenn Beck has issued his support of Grayson Bruce, the Buncombe County boy who says he was bullied at school because of his love of My Little Pony. Mashable posts the video, and notes:
There has been an outpouring of support from fans since the story broke on March 10, as well as from one of the show’s creators, Lauren Faust.
The school’s stance is attracting the attention of other big names in the media, like Glenn Beck. The conservative radio host said that Grayson has “the balls to be different,” and encouraged the boy to remain that way.
Here’s more of what Beck says in the video:
“I just want to send a signal to this nine-year-old kid who had the balls to be who he was. I just want to tell him, hey you know what, we as a company, we as a group of people, we appreciate the fact that you are different, we appreciate the fact that you have different tastes, we appreciate the fact that you have the courage to stand up and say yeah, my little pony. I like my little pony. And if they don’t like it, oh well. Don’t you dare, Grayson, learn the lesson from this society that you have to conform. Don’t you do it.”
ORIGINAL POST March 17: A story that WLOS reporter Sherrill Barber broke last week about a Buncombe County boy who says he was bullied because of his My Little Pony backpack is picking up online momentum. Boys that are fans of the old show are often referred to as “bronies.” (Note: Loyal Ashvegas reader Greta notes that usually the term “brony” is reserved for 20-something male fans of My Little Pony.)
Supporters of 9-year-old Grayson Bruce have created a Facebook page in support of him, a page that has more than 13,000 fans. Those fans are launching an email campaign to get the attention of Ellen DeGeneres, who hosts her popular The Ellen Show. (There’s also a Twitter account in support of Grayson.)
Last week, standing outside Candler Elementary School, Barber reported Grayson’s allegations, and the fact that his mom wanted bullying students punished.
The boy and his mother say he’s getting shoved around because bullies think his pick of a favorite toy is for girls. It’s a decades-old kids show where pony characters emphasize the bonds of friendship. It’s become anything but friendship for 9-year-old Grayson Bruce. Grayson Bruce, My Little Pony fan, “they’re taking it a little too far, with punching me, pushing me down, calling me horrible names, stuff that really shouldn’t happen.” Grayson picked a Rainbow Dash bag out this year, which he says has intensified the attacks against him.
Barber reported that the Buncombe County Schools system responded by asking Grayson to leave his My Little Pony bag at home. The school system, in a written statement, said it had taken:
“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.” So Grayson is using a different bag to carry his lunch to school, but he and his mom say they don’t believe it’s right to force him to leave the My Little Pony bag at home.
We’ll keep an eye on this one.
A second Facebook page in support of Grayson Bruce here. This page is calling for supporters to call and fax Grayson’s school next month on specific dates.