News (USA)

Transphobic school board member posts bizarre sign denouncing school litter boxes

A kitten in a litterbox
Photo: Shutterstock

A school board member in Pennsylvania has erected a sign opposing litter boxes in local schools, even though no school has ever installed a litter box for students.

Earl Paules, vice president of the Palmerton Area School District school board, paid for the sign as a way to oppose the construction of unisex bathroom facilities amid an expansion of gym facilities in Palmerton High School.

The sign reads, “No unisex bathrooms, no litter boxes in our schools here in Palmerton. Taxpayers have rights!” The sign also mentioned a February 7 meeting about the construction project.

The district is planning to build separate boys’ and girls’ locker rooms with three individual showers in each in order to accommodate the ever-growing girls’ wrestling team.

Randy Galiotto, a partner with the architecture firm behind the project, said state building codes require recreational facilities with more than one shower to provide separate unisex facilities. The school’s principal also wanted the unisex bathrooms because, otherwise, the only available toilets would be located within the locker room areas, Time News Online reported.

However, Paules said he opposes the unisex bathrooms because they weren’t included in the original construction plan, will cost an additional $30,000, and could be used by transgender students.

“Everyone thought this was just an overflow bathroom, what’s the big deal?” Paules said. “But I knew there was more to it. Then, all of the sudden, it comes out about if we have students who are transitioning, they can use that bathroom.”

“The next thing you know they are going to want one of these bathrooms in the high school and then the middle school and the elementary schools,” he added. “It opens a door I don’t think we need to open.”

Various conservative politicians and media figures have repeated lies about schools recognizing student animal “furries” as a gender identity and installing litter boxes for such students. Fact-checkers and school districts have repeatedly disavowed such stories as hoaxes, and there’s no other evidence of such a thing ever happening. In reality, such stories are meant to bias people against transgender individuals and against transgender-inclusive school policies, since they mock the idea of living as one’s authentic self.

Claims about student litter boxes have led to violent threats against students and educators, requiring schools to waste time and resources debunking the claims.

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