Cat-egorically false: Senator repeats crazy rumor that schools offer litter boxes for "furries"

Lincoln, Nebraska - A Nebraskan Republican senator apologized after repeating a bizarre rumor that school were placing litter boxes in school bathrooms for students who identify as cats and dogs.

Schools in Nebraska are not offering litter boxes to students.
Schools in Nebraska are not offering litter boxes to students.  © 123rf/ axelbueckert

Senator Bruce Bostelman took to the senate floor in Nebraska Monday, during a televised debate about a bill intended to help school children with behavior problems.

During his speech, the politician repeated an obviously false claim about schools catering to students who identify as "furries" by placing litter boxes in school bathrooms for their use.

According to Bostelman, furries are students that dress up as cats or dogs at school.

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"They meow and they bark and they interact with their teachers in this fashion... Now schools are wanting to put litter boxes in the schools for these children to use. How is this sanitary?" he railed.

Just to clarify, furries are a subculture that has an interest in animal characters with human qualities – think Disney.

Bostelman, however, had already gone too far of the rails to consider the absurdity of what he was saying – and there was plenty of crazy left in the tank. He claimed to have heard that when school officials didn't accommodate a student that "identified as a cat," the student defecated on the floor in protest. He said he planned to discuss the topic with the CEO of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

The senator's comments quickly went viral on Twitter. As of Tuesday morning, the video posted by KMTV 3 News Now reporter Jon Kipper had some 600,000 views.

The spread of a weird lie

The rumor about litter boxes for students has been making the rounds online since December.
The rumor about litter boxes for students has been making the rounds online since December.  © 123rf/ winnond

As various news agencies have reported, this weirdness has been bouncing around the internet since at least December, after a school board meeting for Midland Public Schools northwest of Detroit in which a member of the public brought up the "issue".

Then the Michigan district’s superintendent discredited the claim with a statement saying there had never been any such litter boxes in their schools.

But the rumor is persistent and still circulating. It's also showed up on the Facebook group Protect Nebraska Children.

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Bostelman apologized just after hours after his remarks, saying: "It was just something I felt that if this really was happening, we needed to address it and address it quickly."

He said he had discussed the claims with democratic Senator Lynne Walz, who leads the Legislature’s Education Committee.

She confirmed that the rumor was untrue – obviously.

Cover photo: 123rf/ axelbueckert

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