My Little Pony Bullying Incident: What are We Failing to do About Bullying?

With young kids trying to kill themselves over bullying, the question doesn’t become about who is to blame for the epidemic. It becomes a matter of taking responsibility.


A recent story coming out of North Carolina caught my attention because it made painfully clear that we, as a society, are not doing nearly enough in dealing with the problem of bullying.  North Carolina is not Canada, but we have had no dearth of stories about bullying gone tragically wrong in the great white north.  We have addressed that there is a problem, and that is half the battle.  Previous generations decided that “boys will be boys” and left the kids to figure it out for themselves, with predictably bad results.

In this particular case, an eleven year old boy attempted to kill himself because of the bullying he was dealing with at school.  His favourite show is My Little Pony, and many of the other students were making fun of him because of it.  Ironically, the central message of the show is friendship and tolerance.  Although his attempt failed, he is currently in a medically induced coma and his physician is not sure whether there was any brain damage, though with the amount of time they think he might have been without oxygen, brain damage certainly seems likely.  His parents have decided to share their grief with the world so that the issue of bullying can be discussed, once again.  I assume that they hope that this time we come up with some solutions.

How can parents help stop bullying?


Now that we have identified that there is a problem, we have to come up with a strategy on how to eliminate the problem.  I do not think we have done that yet, but I do have one idea that will, at the very least, get the conversation moving along some.  The most important thing is that we all accept responsibility for solving it.  That is not to say that each of us – bully, victim, or silent witness – is equally to blame for bullying.  Blame is not the issue.  Responsibility is.  As a people we all need to take responsibility for solving this.  That means no more turning a blind eye when we witness what we suspect is a situation of bullying.

As a teacher I make it my responsibility to get to know the students, and to listen to their conversations when they think I am not paying attention (haha, we teachers can play that game too kids!).  I do this to understand the relationships so that I know whether a bunch of kids playing roughly are good friends or not.  I don’t want to stop friends from playing, even if they seem a bit rough.  Guys can be rough, and we generally like it when we are in the mood.  I jumped into the mosh pit once or twice in my youth.  By understanding the dichotomies of the students, I am better able to intervene if there is bullying going on, because I am far more likely to spot it.

I don’t think that this is only the responsibility of teachers, however.  Teachers probably bear the brunt of the load because of the nature of our relationship with those most likely to be either bully or bullied. Others need to pick up the task when our young ones are not at school.  Shopkeepers need to be mindful of not only their merchandise, but how their younger customers are treating each other.  Pedestrians should always not an underage person and keep half an eye out for problems.

If we were half as mindful about creating a safe environment for all children as we seem to be about terrorism, I doubt bullying would be such an important topic.

10 thoughts on “My Little Pony Bullying Incident: What are We Failing to do About Bullying?”

  1. That’s such a sad situation for everyone involved. I can’t believe how bad bullying seems to have gotten since I was in school.

  2. I guess where I have been bulling still happens but I have been very impressed how the teachers and schools have dealt with it when they know of situations.

  3. I too have an 11 yr old son who loves My Little Pony (as do his 4yr old sister & 8 yr old brother) and it’s heartbreaking how much children hurt one another and beat each other down emotionally because they have different interests from the herd. What troubles me most is for all the bully awareness that keeps being talked about, we continue to hear more & more stories like this one. Parents really need to walk the walk when it comes to showing how to accept people who are different and showing kindness. Other adults, as you said, need to really pay attention when the kids don’t think you’re listening – too often they’re distracted to even notice the obvious before things get really bad. We know someone who’s child was being threatened by another child at a Safety Town program of all places and somehow no one there noticed. If a kid has to worry about their safety at a safety program, what does that say about the adults running it?

    One of the many reasons we chose to homeschool our children is the very fact that kids learn very early that they have to “be like everyone else” in large peer group settings or risk being ostracized or having to stifle the very things they love and there’s a very mixed message sent about defending yourself or involving adults in a problem between kids. We want ours to grow up with confidence about who they are and what they are passionate about and not be afraid to let that show.

  4. That is so sad especially since I have an 11 year old sweet boy who loves My Little Pony as well. In Canada we have Pink Shirt Day which was just two days ago. The entire country is wearing Pink Shirts with Bullying Stops Here logo. This movement is growing bigger & bigger each year so I am hoping we are little closer to getting rid off bullies.

  5. I’m glad people are really starting to pay attention to this. It’s been happening for as long as humans walked the earth, I’m sure and still happens into our adulthood. I’m so happy that it’s something everyone looks at, pays attention to, because it truly can affect our children. I don’t believe it’s the responsibility of just the children either. I’m not a teacher, but I really believe that all of it starts at home.

  6. I hadn’t heard of this story before, but I find it incredibly sad. It’s interesting that you’ve served time in the military and now you’re in education. I’ve also spent time in both fields, and I’ve seen a ton of bullying in both. As a teacher, I try to listen in on conversations and stop it where I can, but it’s hard to always know what’s going on, I think.

    1. I agree, it is not easy, but it is important, so it must be done. There was bullying going on in the military, but we were allowed to deal with it ourselves. I recall how I dealt with one bully in te miltary (beat him silly) and that I never got in trouble for it. We are in the worst of all worlds now, telling our kids that they cannot defend themselves, but then failing to deal with the bullying in a pragmatic way. We treat the bullied and the bullies the same, blaming both equally for any conflict. I think that is the wrong approach. If we cannot offer absolute safety, we have no right to judge someone for defending themself. That being said, most cases of bullying can be nipped in the bud, before it becomes a really bad situation. So when I hear harsh language, I get involved. When I see horseplay amongst kids who dont get along, I get involved. For that to work I need to understand the relationships.

  7. It is really sad that a boy who happened to like the show My Little Pony was ridiculed (bullied) about it enough so that he attempted and did harm himself. It seems to me that gender roles play a big part in this particular instance. I deplore bullying, always have and do try to stop it if I happen across it.

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