Target: Dr. Tony Baldwin, Superintendent of Buncombe County Schools
Goal: Encourage proper bullying punishment rather than victim blaming
Bullying has been an issue in schools for years, stretching from grade school to high school. Solving the issue has been hit or miss for individual schools; an administration’s reaction to bullying varies from helpful to victim blaming. One school to recently adopt victim blaming rather than proactive support, in Asheville, North Carolina, has asked a child to stop bringing his favorite backpack to school because it was the reason other children were teasing him. The school’s administration should reprimand the bullies rather than tell a child not to bring his favorite backpack.
Nine-year-old Grayson Bruce was repeatedly teased and harassed about his My Little Pony backpack; Grayson was punched to the ground by another student, as well as called names. Heroically, Grayson and his mother stand by Grayson’s right to bring the backpack to school. My Little Pony is a show that encourages friendship and acceptance, two traits that are all too lacking in schools these days. To make matters worse, teachers and administration often do not effectively monitor bullying. In Grayson’s case his concerned mother called the school board to report the bullying, only to be met with recommendations that her son leave the backpack at home because it was causing issues within the classroom.
The child who punched Grayson to the ground was forced to run laps in punishment, while Grayson was made to feel he was in the wrong. The school board in Asheville needs to take responsibility for bullying happening in its schools. What happened to Grayson is not okay, and he should be allowed to bring his backpack to school without fear of ridicule. The bullying situation has caused Grayson to request homeschooling. Sign this petition to demand that the school board take action against bullies and stop blaming victims.
Dear Dr. Tony Baldwin,
Recently a child within the Buncombe County School District, Grayson Bruce, was severely bullied and physically harassed by another student at school in Asheville. Grayson was punched until he was on the ground, ridiculed and teased because of his My Little Pony backpack. While this incident is clearly disturbing, and the bully was undoubtedly in the wrong, what’s more disturbing is the school board’s reaction to the incident.
Grayson’s mother, in attempts to reconcile the situation and get help for her son, was told that Grayson should not bring his favorite backpack to school anymore because it was causing problems. The bully who punched Grayson to the ground was allegedly only punished with physical exercise. Dr. Baldwin, this lack of empathy and protection for a child who has been wrongfully bullied is appalling. Telling Grayson’s mother to leave the backpack at home does not rectify the situation; instead, this action implies fault to Grayson.
Grayson should not be indebted to the social inept of other children. The issue lies with yourself and the Asheville school district. Stand up for bullied children; do not dismiss bullying, violence or teasing any longer. Allow Grayson to bring his My Little Pony backpack to school and protect him by punishing bullies. I urge you to stop victim blaming and stand up for the socially unique children.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Mikeiscool12345 via DeviantArt