So this happened recently. CLICK HERE. A boy was getting bullied for his My Little Pony backpack. Mom complained to the school, the school said “leave the backpack at home please,” and the Mom went crazy and is now homeschooling her son.
People are outraged! “This is the equivalent of a girl wearing a skirt and getting raped so she shouldn’t wear a skirt,” they say. This boy should be allowed to do what he wants! Bullying is WRONG!!! Punish the children who bullied! Not the boy who wore the backpack!
I agree. Bullying is wrong. And not only is it wrong, the children that threatened, hurt and scared this kid should (and I'm sure were) be punished. And sure, you can make the rape connection here. It’s not a woman’s fault for getting raped, no matter what she wears. And you can connect bullying with rape in that it’s unwanted, humiliating and about power and control. I will give you all of those points.
HOWEVER. HOWEVER. HOWEVER.
Would you have let your son wear that backpack to school? Knowing the kind of backlash he might receive from his peers? Knowing that he’s walking into a situation where he will be labeled as a weirdo?
At the very least I would have said, “Child, that backpack is going to bring you a lot of unwanted, negative attention. You might get picked on or teased. What do you think about keeping this one here for you to use when we travel or when you do sleepovers?” I might even role play with him. “Okay, boy, what if the kids tell you you’re a jerk for liking this backpack. What are you going to say back? What if they keep bothering you? What will you do then? And when do you need to tell an adult?”
If my child says he doesn’t care about what the consequences of the pony backpack will be and he feels he’s able to handle what might happen – then he has been properly warned and I will allow him to go for it. But it is highly likely that he hasn’t thought through the consequences of the backpack and this conversation allowed him to make a different choice.
Quite frankly – the fact that a parent set her child up to fail in this situation is what disturbs me. Is anyone really surprised he got picked on? To me the real problem is not that he got bullied – but that a parent set her kid up like that.
I’m all about freedom of expression, obviously. But there’s a time and place for everything. What kind of message are you sending if you dye your hair blue and have a meeting with President Obama? You might be Stephen Hawking-smart, have the cure for cancer and know the secret to peace in the Middle East – but you look ridiculous. Appearance MATTERS, folks. I’ve been saying this for years.
It matters that this kid took a backpack like that to school. I know we don’t like to think it does. BUT IT DOES. If that child isn’t strong enough to withstand the kind of negative feedback he might get – then he isn’t ready to take the dumb thing into the school.
Some kids can withstand the pressure and they don’t care. In my son’s 5th grade class he can name the one boy on the jump rope team. This is the same kid who loves being in the plays and singing in music class. My son says he’s the only one out of all of the boys. And because the kid has likely been taught to handle naysayers right off the bat – my son doesn’t think anything bad about it. Just says he’s glad HE doesn’t have to sing and be in plays. He is mystified why any boy would, but he doesn’t say a bad thing about the kid who is. I tell my son that I think that kid is awesome. That to go against what all the other boys are doing is cool. I tell him that I hope he will be brave like that when he feels like he wants to do something different from the group.
In this pony backpack case – this kid wasn’t ready for this. He should have been prepared to handle what might happen. In some places a backpack like that on a boy could be the equivalent to a boy wearing a mini skirt. Would you let your son do that?? Of course not. School is not the place to explore your mini skirt curiosity. School has rules. School has to manage many, many, many children of different religions, cultures and learning capacities. They have to manage bullying. They have to manage parents who blame them for EVERYTHING. School is not the place to have your child explore wanting to have piercings, dress like a hooker, not pull their pants up or even a boy wearing a My Little Pony backpack.
This parent is to blame, 100%. And instead of teaching her son about how to handle the rough times in life – she pulled him out of school to be homeschooled. That’s not real life, lady.
But we all know that doesn’t matter. If you think this child will turn 18, head off to college, get a decent job and buy his own house – you’re dead wrong. Like many of the coddled, scared children we are raising today – he will stay where he is right now.
At home with Mom. Nursing his wounds and blaming the world for not accepting his My Little Pony backpack. I wonder if she’ll be able to get him on the news for that?