Mar 23 2014

Boy Brings My Little Pony Backpack to School; Boy Gets Bullied; School Blames Backpack

It’s the same old story you’ve heard a thousand times before. Boy brings My Little Pony backpack to school. Boy gets bulled. School blames backpack, calling it a “trigger for bullying.” Story gets picked up by national media. Internet explodes.

English: this is my own version of what bullyi...

Oh wait. The old story is “Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back.” This one is actually new. Sort of.

Bullying is a serious problem that is finally being taken seriously after countless years of being explained away by adults who would prefer to look the other way and/or actually didn’t/don’t give a crap about the kids who were/are being victimized by small-minded jerks.

Ten years ago, this story might not have made national news. Twenty years ago it absolutely would have been ignored. The kid would be called a fag, a queer, gay, been beaten up, and his school would have done nothing to stop it.

In this particular case, school officials decided that the way to solve the problem was to tell the boy to stop carrying around his ‘My Little Pony’ backpack. Get something more butch, like Spider-Man. (I made that part up; as far as I know no one offered him any specific backpack suggestions.)

In general, the Internet hive mind is horrified by the notion of blaming the backpack. But school officials are not wrong that the backpack makes the kid an easy target for bullies.

What is wrong is the way they handled the situation. Telling the boy that the solution is to leave the backpack at home sends the message that being different is a bad thing, and that if you are different it’s OK for people to taunt you and beat you up. This is especially important because we are talking about a very young kid. He’s only nine and already equates colors with gender; he was pleasantly surprised to find a blue ‘Pony’ backpack because “most of the [‘My Little Pony’] toys are girly,” he told a reporter from People magazine.

The behavior “triggered” by the backpack is indeed bullying in the truest sense of the word. According to the article on, kids at school were “taking it a little too far, with punching me, pushing me down, calling me horrible names, stuff that really shouldn’t happen.” That’s remarkably articulate for a 9-year-old. It also makes me cry man tears. The school has to stop the behavior immediately. Focusing on the backpack is wrong.

The boy’s mother is quoted thusly: “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.” I respectfully disagree with her. A lunchbox, in this case a backpack, is in fact the trigger for the bullying. Bullies see backpack. Bullies commence bullying. That doesn’t mean the school handled the situation appropriately. But we should stop saying things are “like rape” because the only thing that is “like rape” is rape. (I have no wish to knock the mother of the bullied boy. Note that I’m not using either her name or his.) There’s no need to compare bullying to something else in order to make it more terrible. Her son is/was being beaten up at school. Why? It doesn’t matter. He should be able to go to school and feel safe, actually be safe. The bullies should be punished immediately. Suspensions, expulsions if the bullying continues. Any parent of a bully who tries to defend their child’s behavior is flat out wrong.

The article on has a link at the end that I won’t click because I know it will only make me more sad.

RELATED: 11-Year-Old Boy Attempts Suicide After Being Bullied for My Little Pony Passion (

That’s where it goes if you keep blaming the victim. The victim is the 9-year-old boy, not his backpack.

Since the word bullying has become a bit watered down — Justin Bieber claims that when people call him names on Twitter that’s “bullying”, which is bullshit — maybe we should start calling the behavior what it would be called if these were adults.

Assault and battery.

Grayson Bruce Prohibited from Bringing ‘My Little Pony’ Backpack to School :

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Oct 14 2013

Video: Baton Fire at High School Football Game

Via Deadspin, video of a fire at a high school football game that was caused by flaming batons.

The game was not in Baton Rogue. Ba-dum-bum.

Best part is the commentary by whoever shot the video. “That’s a fire!” “Gatorade! Gatorade!” Also, it looks like the cheerleaders/dancers never stop doing their thing. Because it’s only a fire.

Youth sports.  Never a dull moment.

Baton-Twirling Legend Causes Fire At High School Football Game

Sep 02 2013

Video – Alabama High School Football Coaches Fighting (Stupidity)

Via Deadspin, a story about high school football coaches behaving very badly:

Alabama High School Coaches Fighting on the Field

Alabama high school football coaches coming to blows after a game shouldn’t be that surprising, considering how seriously Alabama takes football in general, but that doesn’t make the incident any less ridiculous.

Here’s the video:

The key phrase above is “but that doesn’t make the incident any less ridiculous.” I don’t care how “seriously Alabama takes football in general,” these are adults being paid to coach kids. Yes, high school football is a big deal in some parts of these United States. Youth sports in general have become increasingly popular over the past 10+ years (my estimate), with major media coverage of younger and younger players. Remember the story about a 13-year-old QB committing to USC in 2010? (Here’s a follow-up on the now 17-year-old David Sills from June of 2013 if you’re interested; I admit to not actually watching the video I just linked to because I don’t really care.)

In case the above parenthetical was unclear, I’m not a fan of the excessive media coverage of youth sports. These are kids, most of whom will not go on to have professional sports careers, and they don’t benefit financially from the attention they receive unless they do manage to make it to the pro level. I am a fan of kids participating in youth sports, and I hope that the increased scrutiny of young athletes hasn’t taken away any opportunities for less talented youngsters to get on the field. For example, I was a sub-par baseball player — my first season I didn’t get a hit, although I was third on the team in walks because I quickly realized that 12-year-old pitchers don’t hit the strike zone all that often (at least they didn’t back then). By the time I stopped playing, I was good enough to start at first base and probably hit about .260 (guessing here). But I loved baseball. I was never going to be a superstar, but neither were most of my teammates. Why did I quit? Because the kids AND THE COACHES became increasingly hostile and hyper-competitive. Competitiveness can be a good thing on and off the field. But when a grown man screams and curses at a 10-year-old for striking out, that’s insane. A lack of sportsmanship from teammates doesn’t help either. This isn’t to say that everybody has to congratulate you for whiffing at an easy pitch and ending the inning with the bases loaded. But, to paraphrase Lisa Simpson, why would you come to our game just to boo (and curse at) us?

That’s why the video upsets me. It looks like a freakin’ bar bawl. I know these aren’t little kids; many high school football players are anything but little these days. It doesn’t matter. No one should behave like this, but for non-professional coaches it’s even more embarrassing.

via Alabama High School Football Coaches Get Into Postgame Brawl (Deadspin)


Sep 09 2012

Brad Pitt Is Just A Dad Like Me

Brad Pitt may be a celebrity dad, but according to this article he has to do the morning shift. Which in his case includes getting six kids ready for school. Just like me.

Brad says this activity is “painful,” according to DigitalSpy. Getting six kids out the door in the morning isn’t totally fun? We can believe that.

Of course, Brad Pitt is also a mega-uber-superduper famous movie star worth a gazillion dollars. With a full head of hair. But otherwise we’re, like, totally the same guy.

Brad Pitt: ‘Getting six kids ready for school is painful’ – Celebrity News – Digital Spy.

Apr 27 2012

Brett Singer on CNN HLN Prime News Tonight (Friday)

I’ll be on CNN HLN Prime News tonight at 6:30pm EST discussing the ongoing story about Stuart Chaifetz and his son, and what parents can do if they find themselves in a similar situation.

The show is Prime News With Vinnie Politan. It starts at 6pm EST, I’m scheduled for 6:30pm EST.

HLN is the CNN channel formerly known as Headline News. You can find it on channel 58 on Time Warner Cable in New York City. Visit the Prime News Facebook page for more info.

May 16 2011

Alaska School Flip Flops On Song Ban

Queen Bohemian Rhapsody

From our pal Jeanne Sager at CafeMom, we have some Wasila, Alaska wackiness that doesn’t involve anyone named Palin or Johnston.

Jeanne writes: Read more »

May 13 2009

Real-Life Footloose (Sort Of)

It’s the classic story. You know how it goes.

Christian school doesn’t allow dancing. Or hand holding. Or evil rock and roll music. Actually, no rock music at all. (Not even wimpy stuff like the Alan Parsons Project?) Read more »