Let’s stop bullying at the root

A couple months ago, we looked at how a New Zealand school was eliminating bullying.

But what’s good for the kiwis might not be good for us Americans. That’s why it’s nice to see a North Carolina school has come up with their own way to solve the bullying problem, by going right to the source.

They’re asking the bullied kid to stop being such a target.

Grayson Bruce is a 9-year-old student who loves the show My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, a cartoon about anthropomorphic girl ponies who are all friends. I think they have powers? And fight evil maybe? I don’t know much about the show, but I know it has a huge following among adult males in this country, called Bronies[1].

Grayson is a big enough fan that he uses a backpack featuring one of the characters. My sources[2] tell me the character is named Rainbow Dash.

Here it is, modeled by Grayson himself.

Here it is, modeled by Grayson himself.

As you can see, the backpack also has a stuffed animal figure of (I’m guessing) Dash, just hanging right off of it.

Kids at his school picked on Grayson for his choice in book-carrying methods. With his choice being deemed “girly,” Grayson claims he suffered at the hands of classmates.

“They’re taking it a little too far … punching me, pushing me down, calling me horrible names, stuff that really shouldn’t happen.”

One day, Grayson refused to get out of his mom’s car because he was afraid of the bullying he would encounter. His mother, Noreen Bruce, did the typical mom thing and contacted the school guidance counselor and let her know about the situation. That’s when the school unleashed their new anti-bullying stance.

The guidance counselor suggested he hide the backpack, later adding that having something like that is just asking for trouble.

Bruce became indignant, saying the school was empowering the bullies and basically saying it was okay for them to pick on her son. She pulled Grayson from the school and is now homeschooling him, where he presumably doesn’t even need a backpack because the books are always right there.

In venting her rage to the media, Bruce also had glowing words for the show.

“It’s promoting friendship. There’s no bad words, there’s no violence. It’s hard to find that, even in cartoons now.”

That’s exactly why the kids are making fun of him! What boys are going to respect anyone who likes a show with no violence or naughty language?

Bruce didn’t stop there. She and two friends also started a Facebook campaign called Support For Grayson, which has thousands more likes than Soft-Core Sophistry does, which should make all of you feel ashamed.

Maybe they can pool their resources and get him a backpack with a more appropriate Dash on it.

Maybe they can pool their resources and get him a backpack with a more appropriate Dash on it.

Bruce and her internet friends are clearly trying to make Grayson feel comfortable being who he is and trying to end his torment. They are also clearly getting it all wrong.[3] The guidance counselor got it right.

Do you really think kids are going to stop bullying a kid whose mom comes to his defense? Or who tells them that everyone should feel comfortable just being themselves? Or who has a Facebook group started by his mom and her friends to support him? Those are just going to make things worse!

It’s wonderful to say everyone should feel comfortable in their own skin, and that if you do what you want without following the trends and norms of your peers they’ll respect you, but that is a wonderful fantasy land invented by adults.

It would be nice if everyone was decent to each other, but that’s not how kids roll. The only way to not be on the bottom of the pecking order is to make sure someone else is.

The guidance counselor, with her years of experience, understands the rules of the schoolyard. If someone is bullying you because of the backpack you’re wearing, you either stop wearing the backpack, put up with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or be an even better bully and knock them down below your level. Getting your mom and teachers to stand up for you is just going to make the bullying intensify.

Now, I’m not suggesting we give bullies free reign. I’m just saying they help ensure our kids act in a nice, uniform way, with undesirable behaviors rooted out[4] . But however you look at it, going the Sheila Broflovski approach will never work to end bullying.

So if you’re getting bullied, just take the behavior that gets you bullied and shove it deep down inside of you, where no one can ever find it. Keep hiding it until one day all your feelings and frustration boil over and sends you out of your mind, either into deep depression or unstoppable rage. Also, you may wind up with untold thousands in therapy bills. That’s the American way.

And no, I don’t have children. Why do you ask?

1. Thanks, Obama.
Also, I’m giving these footnotes a try. Let me know what you think in the comments. And click on the little arrow guy to the right to go back to where you were reading.
2. The news.
3. Except for pulling him out of school. That should help reduce the bullying a bit.
4. Aside from bullying. It does a poor job of preventing that.

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