A North Carolina school district said Thursday it now supports a bullied 9-year-old in bringing his "My Little Pony" backpack to school after he was previously told to leave it at home.
Grayson Bruce picked the bag from his favorite show, but was teased by classmates who said "My Little Pony" is for girls. His mother, Noreen Bruce, said a school counselor told Grayson he should keep it out of sight to avoid bullies.
"We sincerely regret that the issue of being told to leave the bookbag at home was perceived as blaming Grayson," Jason Rhodes, assistant communications director for Buncombe County Schools in Asheville, N.C., said in a statement Thursday. "While that was not the intent, the perception became reality. We support Grayson bringing the bookbag to school."
Rhodes said the district has "discussed a number of options to consider in moving forward for Grayson," all of which include "a safety transition plan and an allowance for Grayson to bring the bookbag to school."
Grayson and his mother Noreen Bruce went on The Glenn Beck Program Wednesday to discuss how he'd been bullied over his "My Little Pony" lunch bag.
Beck was so touched by Grayson's situation Monday that he put “My Little Pony” dolls on his desk as a show of support.
"I thought it was important to send a very clear message to Grayson and everybody else that it’s okay to be different,” Beck said Monday. “While they in Common Core are trying to make everybody exactly the same, it is critical that you remain different. It is critical that you say, ‘This is who I am, and if you don’t like it, go pound sand. I don’t really care.’”
By Wednesday, Bruce and his mother were in Dallas at TheBlaze TV studios and discussing the issue with Beck, who said he wasn't so much concerned about "My Little Pony" as about highlighting someone who took a stand for who he is.
Before the school district's reversal, Noreen Bruce said she pulled Grayson out of school and was handling his education herself.
“Grayson really didn’t feel safe going back to school,” she told TheBlaze. “He didn’t feel like there was anybody that was on his side. So I applied to do homeschooling … for now.”
After Thursday's meeting with the school district, Noreen Bruce said in a statement that "we are considering all options for getting Grayson back in school. We are pleased the school system is working closely with us."
In addition, Bruce's statement noted that she and the district's director of student services will help organize a parent advisory council on bullying to "make sure that every child feels safe and comfortable at school."
The district said it will use this situation in its efforts to address bullying in general and to "continue to work collaboratively with the family toward a resolution that is best for Grayson and his classmates at Candler Elementary School."