A US school has told a nine-year-old boy who was bullied for wearing a My Little Pony lunch bag to stop carrying the accessory.
When Grayson Bruce told his mother Noreen that he was being taunted by other pupils, she told staff members at the North Carolina school and expected them to punish her son’s tormentors.
Ms Bruce was outraged when Buncombe County School has banned her son's bag for now and called it a “trigger for bullying”.
She told ABC News she felt the popular show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic carries a positive message.
“It's promoting friendship, there's no bad words, there's no violence, it's hard to find that, even in cartoons now” said Noreen Bruce.
“Saying a lunchbox is a trigger for bullying, is like saying a short skirt is a trigger for rape. It's flawed logic, it doesn't make any sense,” she added.
Grayson Bruce told US TV network: “[the bullies] are taking it a little too far, with punching me, pushing me down, calling me horrible names, stuff that really shouldn't happen.”
The boy is now using a different bag to carry his lunch while his mother pushes for the bullies to be punished.
Since the incident, one of Grayson’s friends has created a 'Support Grayson Bruce' Facebook page for him, which has garnered over 2,700 likes from members of the so-called 'Brony' community.
The neologism Brony comes from the combination of 'brother' and 'pony'. The active online community consists of boys, men and women who like My Little Pony despite it being marketed towards young girls, They're camaraderie has been compared to that shared by comic book fans and gamers.
“Proud of you Grayson from a 30 year old who stills watches My Little Pony (and knows plenty of people who do) Rock on Brony!” said one Facebook user Elizabeth Casino.
“From one Brony to another, keep your chin up, Grayson! Never forget that none of this is your fault. Be proud!” said another user Steve Lawrence.
Buncombe County Schools told ABC: “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 news comes after a US schoolboy Michael Morones tried to kill himself last month after he was bullied for liking My Little Pony. The brony community quickly supported the11-year-old, and raised over $40,000 to help pay for his medical costs.