North Carolina school officials are telling a 9-year-old North Carolina who has been bullied for bringing a My Little Pony lunch bag to school to leave the bag at home.
Grayson Bruce and his mother say he is being shoved around by school bullies who think his favorite bag is for girls.
"They're taking it a little too far, with punching me, pushing me down, calling me horrible names, stuff that really shouldn't happen," Bruce told WLOS News13, an ABC affiliate in Asheville, N.C. "Most of the characters in the show are girls, and most of the people put it toward girls, most of the toys are girlie."
But Noreen told the station Thursday the school asked her son to leave the bag at home because it had become a distraction and was a "trigger for bullying."
She said that doesn't make sense and wants the school to punish Grayson's tormentors.
"It's promoting friendship, there's no bad words, there's no violence, it's hard to find that, even in cartoons now," she said.
Grayson has developed a following on Facebook after a friend made a support page for him.
Buncombe County Schools gave WLOS a statement that said: "An initial step was taken to immediately address a situation that had created a disruption in the classroom. Buncombe County Schools takes bullying very seriously, and we will continue to take steps to resolve this issue."
The My Little Pony Cartoon is a decades-old kids show that uses pony characters to emphasize the bonds of friendship.
Grayson is now using a different backpack.