Greenville County School superintendent debunked claims that the district was allowing students to behave like cats, urging parents not to believe social media rumors without first addressing the concern with the school.
You may have heard of it before, as it resurfaces across the internet quite frequently. People are claiming that students are going to school acting just like felines, with schools accommodating them with litter boxes in restrooms. The accusations have now hit Greenville County Schools in South Carolina, but school officials are quickly debunking these rumors, calling them completely false.
According to reports from WYFF4 News, Greenville County Schools Superintendent Burke Royster personally addressed false rumors circulating among some community parents. The hearsay was that the district was allowing students identifying as furries to act and behave like animals at school. But Royster quickly laid that buzz to rest, asserting that the district was well aware of not only this local allegation but similar ones that have been plaguing schools because of social media rumors over the past year.
The district had been accused of placing litter boxes in school bathrooms for students identifying as cats. Similarly, some claims said that teachers were allowing students to speak using animal sounds such as meowing. Royster not only refuted all claims but added that they would in fact go against district policy as being a disruption.
Furthermore, Royster ended the debate over the outlandish student claims with added words of advice to families. He urged families not to take everything they discover on social media seriously, asking parents to first contact the school with future concerns before passing possible false information along. “I never imagined that I would have to deliver this kind of message, but it is clear that some people are getting all of their information from social media and the internet and then drawing conclusions based on that information as opposed to going directly to the source,” he said.
It is unclear where the claims of students using litter boxes stem from, but it has been circulating across social media for nearly a year at least. It may have begun because of the increase in media attention regarding those who identify as furries. This is the term used to describe people with an immense interest in anthropomorphized animals.
Last January, Libs Of TikTok – a popular conservative social media account with over 1.4 million followers posted a claim that a Michigan school was offering furry students litter boxes. The user posted a video of a mother speaking of this claim at a school board meeting. The accusation was soon debunked as a hoax.
Again in May, Libs Of TikTok made another claim that a Texas school district had done the same. In this post, the user shared a quick, blurry video shot of an unidentified restroom with a pad on the floor. The claim was that it was inside Brazosport ISD, but this accusation was never confirmed.
Likewise, last March, a Nebraska State Senator heard the national rumor and believed it to be true. Later on, he learned that the claim that students were allowed to act as furries in schools was a hoax, and he issued a formal apology. But still, it remains a mystery as to why these claims continue to resurface, or why people are so quick to believe them.
Part of the issue may be due to the great divide over how public schools are run today. There has been an increase in parental rights advocacy coming from conservative parents who wish to see certain social constructs like gender identity and political ideologies removed from schools. Trust in schools is dramatically failing, so some may be more apt to believe claims of students like this one.