Thursday, March 20, 2014

This Is Not My Little Pony's World

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Bullying is never okay. Never. Ever. Let's get that straight from the get-go.

Here's the topic of today's discussion:


Little 9 year-old Grayson takes a liking to My Little Pony and carries a MLP lunchbox to school. Then,  as expected (not saying right, just expected), he was picked on and bullied.
So, school officials saw the lunchbox as a distraction and asked him to discontinue using that lunchbox at school.
There are so many layers here.
I'm sure my southern, no-nonsense upbringing is rearing its head.

Mom is spot-on for backing her son. There are times when you just need to take things to a-whole-nother level just to show your kids you are on their team. In a few years, when he's fourteen and sure his momma is out to make his life miserable, she'll have this little episode in her back pocket to pull out. "'Member that time..."
Mom is also 100% correct in saying that it is "flawed logic" to say that "saying the lunchbox is a trigger for bullying is like saying a short skirt is a trigger for rape." Absolutely.

At the end of the day, I don't care if the boy wore a dadgum princess shirt to school, that doesn't give any one the right to put their hands on him. Ever.
Please, for the love of Tonka Trucks, let's not test this.

I can't completely blame administration, though. I don't know what steps the school administration had previously taken to curtail the bullying prior to asking Grayson not to bring the lunchbox to school. I would imagine the teachers and faculty really were looking out for his best interest. Let's just make this easy on everyone and skip the lunchbox. The teachers I know would have offered to buy him a new one to make his life less miserable! These are [likely] not mean-spirited people. Most teachers I know are just trying to go to work, make a living doing something they love and help raise up world-changers as best they can. I'm sure they never saw this hullabaloo coming. Still, he should not be punished for his lunchbox. Bullying should be dealt with to the fullest extent. Period.

Like I said, I don't know what steps the school administration took, but I'd like to know what was really the "distraction" here? The lunchbox or the bullying?

That said--I have two girls. No boys. Although, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have allowed my 9 year-old to take the lunchbox to school. I may have [theoretically] even used some very old school, non PC phrases to make my point about MLP being primarily for girls. I can't say for sure, but I feel like I would have nipped this jazz before it went this far. I can say for sure that Spouse would. I can't believe Mom didn't see this coming. This is on the tails of another North Carolina boy's attempted suicide for being bullied for almost the same thing! 

When Big Sister was headed to second grade, Nana got her a really cool pencil box that had a light-up star on it. Although her teacher requested a pencil box on the supply list, I knew that a light-up pencil box in second grade could be a distraction for little girls. She was in no danger of being bullied over this box, but I know how simple things become a distraction in elementary school. I made it clear to Big Sister that the box can't cause any problems and then her teacher said it was fine with her until it caused a problem. *Grin* It was never not fine. The pencil box survived second grade. The point is, as parents, we need to have the forethought that our kids won't have. Understand that it's not always about triggering bullies, it's about triggering distractions.
This was not the Sister's classroom. She needed to respect it as her teacher's classroom and her teacher doesn't need any distractions.
The school is not My Little Pony's World, nor is the real world, and kids need to know that.
Not everybody learns to be friendly at the end of the story.

Another story. One of my favorite man-children (he'll be fifteen in a few days) was into a lot of pink when he was a wee one. He liked the pink Teletubbie, the Pink Power Ranger, and had a pink GameBoy. He was about 4. It drove his daddy nuts. But, they let him do it and it was good parenting. Because they knew [hoped] he'd outgrow it. (Right, wrong, or indifferent, that's what we were all going for at the time.) He did and he's very masculine today. However, I know that I know that I know, that at 9 years-old, scar this child as it may, that he would NOT have taken a pink Teletubbie lunchbox to school! Again, I call that good parenting. Now, at fifteen, this kid could rock a pink anything. Cause Real Men Wear Pink, right? Incidentally, we inherited the Pink GameBoy later on. :)

Now, I have discussed Grayson's story with my girls. I am not, as I said, advocating bullying by any stretch of the imagination. The discussion with my girls was about loving people, period.

I do, however, think that this whole thing could have been avoided at the kitchen table at home. This comes down to parental discernment. And, I don't know, maybe it's a hill worth dying on for this mom.

Let's hear it. What do y'all think?

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