(ABC News) -- My Little Pony, those always cheerful cartoon horses, made 9-year-old Grayson Bruce the subject of bullying at his North Carolina elementary school and has brought forth a firestorm of comments all over social media.
“It made me feel devastated. I didn't think I was going to get the reaction that I got,” Grayson said.
Wednesday morning, it's the school's response that is now generating controversy.
“The principal told me that we could no longer bring the bag to school, that he, as a principal, had the right to ban anything that he believed was a distraction,” Noreen, Grayson’s mom said.
That triggered an outpouring of support for Grayson and the backpack he uses as a lunchbox.
Support in the form of more than 43,000 likes on the Support for Grayson Facebook page and a change.org petition with more than 6000 signatures calling for the school to allow Grayson to bring his bag back.
“Saying lunch box is a trigger for bullying is like saying a short skirt is a trigger for rape, it's flawed logic,” Noreen said.
“I didn't know why they weren't focusing on the big picture,” Grayson said.
Parenting expert Dr. Karyn Gordon said the focus should have been more on educating the entire school body instead of actually isolating the child who is being bullied
The school district told ABC News, "...our schools take any allegations of bullying seriously and work diligently in all cases to resolve the issues in the best interest of students..."
But Grayson’s mom said it's not enough.
“The statement sounds great on paper, but they are not implementing any of those things,” Noreen said.
For now, Grayson is being homeschooled where he can have any backpack he wants.
“You should respect the fact that he has the guts to do what he wants to do no matter what society thinks of him or her, so you should wear the lunch box the back pack etc., whatever you want,” Grayson said.