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Bullied Boy Can Wear 'My Little Pony' Backpack, School Says

Bruce

Earlier this week we reported on 9-year-old Grayson Bruce, a student in Asheville, NC who was taunted by his classmates for wearing a "My Little Pony" backpack and then told by his school that he couldn't wear it because it is a "trigger for bullying".

Grayson's story received national attention and now the school has reconsidered after meeting with Grayson's mother on Thursday, USA Today reports:

"We are considering all options for getting Grayson back in school," Bruce said after the meeting. "We are pleased the school system is working closely with us. All of the options include Grayson taking his My Little Pony bag to school."

...Bruce met with superintendent Tony Baldwin and director of student services David Thompson, after which she said she felt "much better."

"We had a real heart-to-heart talk," Bruce said. "I strongly feel we can work together to make things better for Grayson and all the students in our school system."

Bruce said she will work with Thompson to help organize a parent advisory council on bullying.


Arkansas Student Excluded from Yearbook for Being Gay Faces New Bullying from Peers, Teachers

Taylor_ellis

Over the past few days we've bee reporting on Taylor Ellis. Ellis's school, Sheridan High School is refusing to run a yearbook profile on Ellis because he's openly gay.

Chad_griffinThe disgusting censorship led to the Human Rights Campaign staging a rally at the Arkansas State Capitol demanding the school change its mind. Instead, the school administrators dug in their heels. Ellis's case is now drawing national attention and has been featured on CNN.

Sheridan School District Superintendent Brenda Haynes released a statement:

Haynes“We must make decisions that lead in the proper direction for all of our students and for our community. We must not make decisions based on demands by any special interest group. The seven profiles will not be published in the yearbook...It is clear that the adults who have the responsibility for the operation of the district have the obligation to make decisions which are consistent with the mission of our school. We have done so."

But what's happening back at school is even more disgusting. Ellis tells Slate:

T_ellisToday was my first day back [after a school trip]. People were talking about it while we were on our trip, texting all of us, making comments. I was about to lose it...

At first, everybody kept quiet. I’m in choir—that’s a good group. All the guys were nice. People were telling me I’m doing a good thing. My teacher said if I had any problems in any other classes I could just come back and sit in her room. … Geometry was fine, too. The teacher was fine with it; she understood and talked to me a little bit. She told me, “it’ll all pass, it’ll all be fine.” She’s a really good teacher. I don’t think she said anything negative to me.

[By] fifth period I was ready for the day to be over. All these people were negative, quiet—just weird.  I was ready to be home, just trying to get away from everything. Then I got in the Instagram page someone made that said “Sheridan School = No Gays.” I was looking at all the people [at Sheridan] who liked it and who followed it—people I don’t need to talk to. Three of them were in that class, sitting right across from the room from me.

A screenshot of the page, which is still live, is below. Ellis adds:

I asked [a few other students] why they were following this hate page [on Instagram]. And my teacher said, you don’t need to be talking about that in class. You need to go sit down. You have assignments to do. This teacher has never gotten onto me, never had a problem with me. But now she just kept saying stuff and I was just sitting there, shaking and crying. That’s what I do when I get mad—I shake and cry.

Stay strong. Taylor. We are with you.

Nogays


N.C. School Tells Bullying Victim Not To Wear 'My Little Pony' Backpack

Grayson

A 9-year-old North Carolina student named Grayson Bruce has been told by his elementary school to stop wearing a “My Little Pony” backpack because it is a “trigger for bullying.”

Bruce told his ABC news affiliate that because bullies associate his Rainbow Dash backpack with a girl’s toy, “[The bullies are] taking it a little too far, with punching me, pushing me down, calling me horrible names, stuff that really shouldn't happen."

The boy’s mother responded, “[My Little Pony is] promoting friendship, there's no bad words, there's no violence, it's hard to find that, even in cartoons now." She added, “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.”

For now Bruce is using a different bag, but mother and chld are urging the school to take action against the bullies rather than forcing the young student to conform to intimidation.

Another North Carolina student attempted suicide earlier this year after being bullied for watching My Little Pony. Soon after, a recovery fund was raised in his honor. Similarly, over 15,000 people have joined a “Support for Grayson” Facebook page urging his school to stop bullying and “empower children to be who they are!”

(via think progress)


Portland Teens Carve Swastika into Schoolmate's Forehead, Say He Called Someone 'Gay': VIDEO

Dustyn2

Dustyn Murrain (above) experienced a harrowing ordeal last week when he was attacked and tortured in a shed by four peers, two of whom he claimed as friends. Murrain was beaten in the head with a crowbar, received shots to the chest and groin with a BB-gun, and then had a swastika carved into his forehead, likely by Blue Kalmbach, a student who claims that Murrain bullied them (by calling one of them 'gay') first.

TeensDustyn's mother, Kelli Murrain, has said that whether her son bullied the four teens or not--she does not believe that he did--his verbal harassment should never have constituted such extreme physical backlash.

KATU.com reports:

"I've been called lots of names and I never went out and shot anybody or beat them in the head with a crowbar," [Kelli Murrain] said.

Murrain says her son had emergency surgery Monday night for the BB shot that went through his groin area. He has staples in his head from getting hit with a crowbar...
 
It's a cold indifference Kelli Murrain finds difficult to fathom.
 
"These kids threw away their lives and they don't even get it," she said. "They don't understand what they did. They're still making excuses. It's like OK ... maybe you'll get it when you're sitting in jail."
 
Another student, Curtis Floyd Wilkinson from David Douglas High School, came forward to speak out against Kalmbach as well, claiming that he was friends with Kalmbach until he began to bully him by kicking the backs of his legs while walking down the school hallway. Wilkinson spent time in a psychiatric ward for severe depression, and he links Kalmback to that stint.
 
"The bullying thing at school can get really really bad and people should probably know about it. This should not go unnoticed and should really be looked at," Wilkinson said.
 
Murrain, still rattled about his experience, will have both mental and physical scars to remind him of his torture.
 
"Why they would carve a swastika in his forehead? It's something he'll never forget, if the scar doesn't go away; every time he looks in the mirror he's going to be reminded of what happened to him," [his mom] said.

Watch news coverage of the horrific story, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Portland Teens Carve Swastika into Schoolmate's Forehead, Say He Called Someone 'Gay': VIDEO" »


FL School Decides Against Expelling Student Who Defended Gay Student From Attacker: VIDEO

2_betterson

Mark Betterson, a student at East Lee County High School in Lehigh Acres, Florida who was suspended after trying to stop another student from beating a gay student, has now been allowed to return to school. The news came after Betterson attended a punishment hearing Monday morning, NBC2 reports:

Betterson says he got into the fight with another student after that student hit another kid for being gay, and he says -- given the choice -- he would defend the victim again. 

"Bullying isn't called for, and everyone should be respected for what they want to be and what they want to do," Betterson said.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "FL School Decides Against Expelling Student Who Defended Gay Student From Attacker: VIDEO" »


Texas Tattoo Parlor Offers $20 'My Little Pony' Tattoos To Raise Money for Suicidal Bullied Teen

MylittleponyImperial Tattoo in Sugar Land, Texas has become a surprising well-spring of anti-bullying activism after the attempted suicide of Michael Morone, an 11-year-old student and "brony" (a male fan of "My Little Pony") from North Carolina.

The tattoo parlor's owner, Tony Wayne, took action immediately, offering $20 "My Little Pony" tattoos in order to raise funds for Michael and an anti-bullying organization. It turns out that Michael and tattoo aficionados have more in common than one might initially think.

The Houston Chronicle reports:

"We've done 25-30 of them since last week and more are booked this week," said store owner Tony Wayne. "They're regular guys, tattooed mean lookin' guys."

Wayne says as soon as he saw Michael Morones' story, he knew he had to help.

"Tattoos are about freedom of expression. Michael should have been free to like My Little Pony if he wanted to,"  Wayne said. "I knew other kids would be being bullied and this was the only way I could think to help."

Patrons with personal stakes in Michael's story have also gone to Imperial to receive their equine ink.

Christy Van Kannon, 34,  from Katy got a blue My Little Pony with a red mohawk on the inside of her left arm.  She said she felt compelled to do it because one of her 12 year old daughter's school friends also committed suicide because of bullying.

"I have three kids," said Van Kannon, "For me this was an incredible opportunity to show people how important it is to stop bullying,  We have to stand up for others that cant stand up for themselves"

Michael's recovery is suspect at this point, and he is still in critical condition at a North Carolina hospital. He may have severe brain damage. A recovery fund has raised nearly $70,000, but some of the Imperial's donations will also go to Stomp Out Bullying, a bullying prevention organization aimed at kids and teenagers.

"I didn't even realize this was going on, but things should not be gender specific. I'm getting (a My Little Pony Tattoo) myself now. You don't have to be a girl to like My Little Pony," Wayne said.


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