Here’s a situation for you to ponder – your young son wants to go to school with a lunch bag that has a “My Little Pony” theme. Do you let him – thinking he could become the target of bullies?

For those of you not familiar with the series, “My Little Pony,” the show’s generally thought of as having appeal to mainly girls. Most of the characters are girls, and the toys come off as rather girly.

So when 9 year old Grayson Bruce needed a new lunch box, he chose one with the My Little Pony theme, Rainbow Dash.

As you may have expected, young Grayson was the butt of bullying from his schoolmates.
His mom Noreen was quite surprised by the reaction – but more so from the way the school treated Grayson than from his classmates.

Grayson told WLOS-TV in Asheville, “They’re taking it a little too far…punching me, pushing me down, calling me horrible names, stuff that really shouldn’t happen,” acknowledging that “most of the characters in the show are girls, and most of the people put it toward girls, most of the toys are girlie.”

When the bullying came to a head and Noreen Bruce got involved, she said school officials blamed Grayson’s open appreciation for “My Little Pony” rather than punishing the bullies.

Last Thursday morning her boy was “so upset he would not get out of the car,” Noreen Bruce wrote on Facebook. Then a school counselor showed up and said her son “should hide his lunch box in his backpack and that when you carry things like that these things happen.”

“I was later contacted by the principal saying Grayson could no longer bring this lunchbox to school. My son is being called awful names and has even been told to ‘go home and kill himself!’ Now on top of everything he can’t bring a lunch box he really likes and I feel like is being sent the message that this is his fault.”

As for the district’s position on bullying, its website notes: “Buncombe County Schools strives to foster a climate of respect and personal responsibility among students, and does not tolerate bullying in any form.”

WLOS reported that Grayson isn’t the only North Carolina “Brony” — i.e., male “My Little Pony” fan — to make headlines after being bullied for liking the cartoon: In January, 11-year-old Michael Morones in Wake County, N.C. tried to commit suicide over “My Little Pony” bullying, hanging himself off the side of his bunk bed.

“Eleven to 15-year-old boys are very much at risk for thinking about suicide when they’re perceived as being gay,” bullying prevention expert Nancy Mullin told WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham.

“The missing piece here is what the school is doing about this,” Mullin told the station adding that while North Carolina is one of 49 states with bullying prevention laws, she doesn’t feel enough is being done to implement successful programs.

As for My Little Pony being the disruptive source, Grayson’s mom added to WLOS that “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.”

So Grayson has been bringing a different bag to carry his lunch to school, but Noreen Bruce said it’s not right to force him to leave his My Little Pony stuff at home, especially since the cartoon is “promoting friendship, there [are] no bad words, there’s no violence,” she told WLOS.

Apparently thousands of others agree. A friend of Grayson’s four days ago created a Facebook support page for him that’s garnered more than 11,700 likes as of Saturday evening.

So, in effect, the bullies won this round.

But for all practical purposes, if you’re a parent having some sense of how some kids will react to your kid’s choice of dress, etc; wouldn’t you do well to prepare them for that eventuality?

In other words, loathe though I am to suggest this, discourage the “My Little Pony” lunch bag; or allow the child to bring the bag to school, but get him ready to defend his choice.

Physically if need be - and accept the consequences should there be any for his defending himself.