School official denies litter boxes were given to students who identify as furries

A Michigan school official has denied that there are litter boxes on school grounds for students who identify as furries to use as bathrooms.

The alleged issue first came to light after a December school board meeting for Midland Public Schools in Midland, Michigan. At the meeting, a member of the public, Lisa Hansen, said she was “furious” after she was informed by someone that litter boxes had been placed in the “unisex bathrooms” for students who “identify as cats”.

She said she supported “creativity and imagination” but had a “problem” when “someone lives in a fantasy world and expects others to go along with it”. Hansen also claimed this was an “agenda” being pushed “nationwide”.

The rumour started to gain traction after a video of the school board meeting was later shared on Facebook by Meshawn Maddock, a chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party. Maddock wrote that kids who “identify as ‘furries’ get a litter box in the school bathroom”.

Michael Sharrow, the superintendent of Midland Public Schools, debunked the rumour as categorically false in a Facebook post on Thursday (20 January).

Sharrow said it was “unconscionable” that he even had to address the allegations, but he acknowledged that some of the school district’s stakeholders “may be confused about the false message/accusation”.

“Let me be clear in this communication. There is no truth whatsoever to this false statement/accusation,” Sharrow wrote. “There have never been litter boxes within MPS schools.”

Sharrow added it was a “source of disappointment” that it was “necessary to communicate this message” to the public. He also called upon the public not to listen to “wild accusations that don’t sound like something” which the school district would do.

Sharon E Roberts – an associate professor of social development studies at the University of Waterloo in Canada and a founder of Furscience, a website run by a team of scientists studying furry fandom – told the New York Times that she wasn’t familiar with the situation in Michigan.

But she said that there is “evidence of misrepresentation and misunderstanding of the furry fandom” which lead to “claims like this (and worse)”.

According to Furscience’s website, the furry fandom experience has been socially stigmatised in part because of the “visually unique nature of furries in conjunction with incendiary, sensationalist media portrayals”.

They explained that these portrayals cast “furries as the fandom as a deviant sexual fetish”. When in reality, the fandom is “about friendship and community” more than anything else, Furscience said.