If you are a person who was alive in the 1980s or 1990s, you may remember a line of friendship-happy toy figurines called My Little Pony. You may also be surprised to learn that the toy line is still going somewhat strong today.
On Thursday, officials at Candler Elementary School in Buncombe County, N.C. allegedly told nine-year-old Grayson Bruce and his mother that the boy needed to leave his My Little Pony paraphernalia at home, reports WLOS, the ABC affiliate in Asheville.
The boy’s mother, Noreen Bruce, said school officials asserted that the My Little Pony trappings are a “trigger for bullying” and had become too distracting to other students. More specifically, other kids have been picking on the boy with flurries of insults and physical assaults because the Hasbro-generated franchise is geared toward girls.
“They’re taking it a little too far with, you know, punching me and pushing me down, calling me horrible names—stuff that really shouldn’t happen,” Grayson Bruce told WLOS.
“If you watch the show, it’s really not that girly,” the nine-year-old swore in an interview with a WLOS reporter.
While Bruce does admit that most of the characters on the show are female, he is a huge fan. He has a My Little Pony backpack and at least two My Little Pony action figures. One appears to be Fluttershy, who represents the element of kindness. The other is definitely Rainbow Dash, who keeps the skies blue and generally maintains the weather in Ponyville.
The boy also apparently has a My Little Pony lunchbox.
Noreen Bruce stands by her son’s taste in toy merchandise.
“It’s promoting friendship,” Noreen Bruce told WLOS. “There’s no bad words. There’s no violence. It’s hard to find that, even in cartoons now.”
The mom is also frustrated at what she perceives is punishment for her son when, after all, other kids are the ones bullying him.
“Saying a lunchbox is a trigger for bullying—you might as well say a short skirt is a trigger for rape,” she told the station. “It’s flawed logic. It doesn’t even make any sense.”
In a written statement, a Buncombe County school district representative said: “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.”
For now, Grayson Bruce has stopped taking My Little Pony stuff to school.
This incident is far from the first time recently that school officials have stepped in to prevent a boy from carrying around things that are typically associated with girls.
For example. back in November, an eighth-grade student in rural Kansas claimed he was suspended for declining to take off a chic, colorful Vera Bradley purse. (RELATED: Eighth-grade boy suspended for his stylish Vera Bradley purse)