I don't post here much, just kind of lost the gumption for it. But every once in a while something comes to my attention and I need to write it out.
Now, granted, there are two sides, sometimes more, to every story, and there may be more that comes to light in the next few days. But for now, here is the information we have:
Boy Reportedly Told Not To Wear My Little Pony Backpack To Class
The basics of the story are this: Little guy, likes a cartoon show. Mom bought him a backpack that had characters from the show. Boy uses backpack at school, gets bullied. Administrators tell him he can't use said backpack because it was a "trigger for bullies".
The backpack happened to be My Little Pony themed.
If this is indeed the case, shame on them.
Now some of you might say "well, that's a show for girls, of course he's going to get bullied".
And if that's you, shame on you.
The problem is not what one person likes or doesn't like, it's not a question of what characters on the backpack or not, the problem is bullies.
Bullies are nothing new. They've been with us forever, and they will be with us forever. Especially in public school. Everyone has a bully story from school.
What makes this story stand out is that instead of taking a stand and protecting the victim's right to free expression, they shame him, blame him, for using a backpack that is a "trigger for bullies".
To a degree, in my opinion, children do need to be taught to stand up to the bullies. But in this case they are neither helping the victim nor stopping the bullying. If anything, they took the thing that he loved, a thing that would have been worth fighting for, they took a part of his identity. And worse, they enabled the bullies to just punish the victim even more, and others because they proved they rule the school, not the administrators.
I will defend, to the death, my children. I will defend their right to free expression, their right to 'like what they like' and to be who they are. I don't know the details of the parents in this situation or what they are doing (that information doesn't seem to be available at this time) so what I am saying here is in no way a reflection on them, but if this were my kid I would camp out in that principal's office until either my child was allowed to have his backpack or the rule was changed to apply to all kids and their backpacks or, and this is what I would really want, a zero bullying policy is put in place.
Victim blaming and shaming in all forms must end. Are we to make kids with glasses leave their glasses at home? Kids in wheelchairs leave their chairs at home? Kids with red hair dye their hair or cut it off? These are parts of their identity. And you might argue that liking something and using a backpack with that thing on it is a choice, it is no less part o someone's identity. Especially in grade school. Some kids like football, but since that's "accepted" we don't ask them not to wear their team jerseys to school.
Let kids like what they like. Don't allow bullies to make school policy.