By Duke Staff
In a small school in North Carolina, a 9-year-old boy was told rather than to express himself and his interests, to instead “leave them at home” because they acted as a “trigger” for bullies.
Grayson Bruce of Chandler Elementary School in Raleigh, N.C. was being bullied at school for wearing a blue book bag with a character from one of his favorite shows, My Little Pony, on the exterior.
Bruce told ABC News affiliate television station, WLOS, that “most of the characters in the show are girls, and most of the people put it toward girls.” For this reason, other children are outright attacking Bruce.
“They’re taking it a little too far, with punching me, pushing me down, calling me horrible names, stuff that really shouldn’t happen.”
However, the school has resorted to restricting Bruce from bringing the bag to school rather than addressing the actual problem.
Telling a child that his or her interests are invalid is not the correct approach to stop bullying. Slapping a child on the wrist by issuing traditional forms of punishment such as detention or suspension is not either. Instead, the answer to the issue schools have faced for decades seems so obvious that it seems redundant to write.
Why is it that the first time in our educational careers we are offered classes such as Psychology of Gender and History of Sexuality in the United States is at Duquesne? Why is it that concepts such as homosexuality, gender roles and societal relationships are being discussed our 20’s in stead of our teens? Why are we not teaching our children in schools that the color blue doesn’t have to be for boys and pink isn’t only for girls?
While we’re not suggesting yearlong lesson plans on sex education to 9-year-olds, we do believe these topics of gender roles should be brought up rather than ignored or “left at home.”
Sigmund Freud would conclude that the bullies of Chandler Elementary, along with the representatives instructing Bruce to not bring his bag to school are placing a physiological projection on objects that simply do not correlate.
By giving meaning to objects, and classification to a person’s interests, we as a society are allowing these injustices to continue.
It is the school’s responsibility to not only educate but also protect its students. Rather than tackling these two obligations separately, enlightening the ignorant will in turn lead to a safer place to learn.