Conservative hysteria over children supposedly being indoctrinated by lessons about human sexuality and gender have led to an array of bizarre claims, including homophobic lies that LGBTQ people are "grooming" students to be LGBTQ themselves.
That hysteria saw a crescendo recently when Nebraska State Senator Bruce Bostelman, a Republican, cited a debunked rumor that schools in Michigan are providing litter boxes to students who identify as dogs or cats.
He erroneously defined "furries" as "schoolchildren [who] dress up as animals, cats or dogs, during the school day."
Bostelman went on to say:
"They meow and they bark and they interact with their school, with their teachers in this fashion. And now schools are wanting to put litter boxes in the schools for these children to use. How is this sanitary? ... I even heard from one person here recently that a student identified as a cat and wanted a litter box and the school didn't provide the litter box, so the student went ahead and defecated on the floor. Really."
The State Senator lamented that children with American flags on their shirts are supposedly being kicked out of school while other students are permitted to dress as cats.
As you may have imagined, the anecdote isn't rooted in reality.
It appears Bostelman's claim originated, not in his state of Nebraska but in Michigan's Midland County, where a Facebook post accusing a district school of providing litter boxes for students went viral late last year. Midland Public Schools superintendent Michael E. Sharrow insisted that there was "no truth whatsoever to this false statement/accusation!”
After widespread derision, Bostelman issued an apology for promoting the lie, saying of the debunked claim:
“It was just something I felt that if this really was happening, we needed to address it and address it quickly."
furry fury over the imaginary policy still quickly became the subject of social media mockery.
His apology wasn't met with much sympathy either.
More conservative "fake news."