Joe Rogan just admitted that his claim last month that he knew of a student who forced a school to install a litter box so that she could defecate in it was false. The urban myth is still spreading like wildfire, and more and more schools are being forced to deny that they’re letting kids use litter boxes.
“My friend, his wife is a school teacher, and she works at a school that had to install a litter box in the girls’ room because there’s a girl who’s a furry, who identifies as an animal and her mother badgered the school until they agreed to put a litter box in one of the stalls,” Rogan told former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii on his podcast last month. “So this girl goes into the litter room or to the girl’s room and urinates or whatever — I don’t know if she poops in it, that’s pretty gross.”
He’s not the only prominent conservative making that claim. Even Republican candidates and elected officials – like Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Nebraska state Rep. Bruce Bostleman (R), Republican Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Republican Ohio gubernatorial candidate J.D. Vance – are accusing schools of letting kids use litter boxes.
And schools are being forced to respond to angry – and wildly misinformed – residents.
“It is utter nonsense,” said San Luis Coastal Unified School District superintendent Eric Prater in California.
“It is an unfounded allegation,” said superintendent Curt Dubost of the nearby Paso Robles Joint Unified School District. He told The San Luis Obispo Tribune that there have not been any students asking to use litter boxes in schools.
“We have had complaints about ‘Furrys’ in PRJUSD,” Paso Robles school board member Kenney Enney wrote on Facebook. “They are not a protected class, so therefore if there are ‘Furry’ issues in your child’s school, and staff is not addressing it, please notify your your [sic] School Board Trustee.”
The Alpena School District in Michigan is being forced to make a similar denial after residents took school officials to task at a board meeting about kids allegedly dressing up as animals by wearing ears and tails to school while making animal sounds during class.
“It’s really frustrating,” Alpena Public Schools superintendent David Rabbideau told The Alpena News. “People are lobbing these missiles at us and saying, ‘I know better what’s going on.’”
“It’s crazy that we’re talking about this,” Thunder Bay Junior High School Principal Katie Lee said. Her school is in Alpena Public Schools.
The health department was even forced to send a worker to inspect Alpena High School to look for litter boxes.
“For the record, they didn’t find any,” Rabbideau said. “Because there’s never been any. And there never will be.”
In New Hampshire earlier this week, the private high school Pinkerton Academy issued a statement saying that they don’t have litter boxes either after Republican U.S. Senate candidate Don Bolduc accused the school.
“They’re putting litter boxes,” Bolduc said. “These are the same people that are concerned about spreading germs. Yet they let children lick themselves and then touch everything. And they’re starting to lick each other.”
This school said in a statement: “It has come to our attention that at a recent event in Claremont Don Bolduc named Pinkerton in false claims suggesting that unhygienic, disturbing practices are taking place in our classrooms and spaces on campus…. We want to assure our community that Mr. Bolduc’s statements are entirely untrue.” The school invited all candidates to visit “so they can inform themselves.”
Last month, the Republican party’s nominee for governor of Colorado claimed that 30 schools were accommodating furries, with students “identifying as cats.”
“Not many people know that we have furries in Colorado schools,” she said on a radio show. She went on to say that it happened in her kids’ school district so she moved to get away from the student-furries.
Two statewide educational organizations condemned her claims as “exhausting” and “incredibly frustrating,” saying they disrupt learning and stress out teachers who are already overworked.
“There are no litter boxes in our buildings and students are not allowed to come to school in costume. There are no furries or students identifying as such during the school day,” one of the accused school districts, Jefferson County Public Schools, said in a statement.
“This vicious rumor – it’s been debunked how many times already?” Bret Miles, the executive director of the Colorado Association of School Executives, told The Denver Post. “Now it’s out there again, in our governor’s race…. School districts are spending time chasing down storylines that were purely for political gain. They have nothing to do with what kids are experiencing at school, and it’s shock and awe. It’s just incredibly frustrating.”
“No, we don’t provide litter boxes; our children use bathrooms,” a spokesperson for the Durango School District in Colorado said earlier in the month after Rep. Boebert accused that Colorado school district of putting litter boxes out for kids “who identify as cats.”
The rumor has even gone international. The Refrew County Catholic District School Board in Canada issued a statement that said “misinformation is currently circulating in our school communities and online regarding the presence of litter boxes in our schools.”
The statement said that the district has “never had litter boxes in any of our elementary or secondary sites.” The district added that they “do not collect any data regarding animal identity and we do not recognize such identities.”
— RCCDSB (@RCCDSB) October 11, 2022
“I think it was just a matter of time before that misinformation made its way here,” a board spokesperson told the Ottawa Citizen. The spokesperson said that the number of complaints they were getting was “getting a little out of control, so we decided to do a joint statement to reassure school communities that this is not happening.”
The Ottawa Citizen noted that the Eganville Leader published a letter to the editor from someone who claimed that seven students in the district identified as animals. The letter said that one student identifies as a frog and another is a cat who uses a litter box in school and claimed that their information came from “a confirmed report from a high-up school board official.”