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No, Schools Are Not Putting Litter Boxes in Bathrooms for Students Who Identify as Cats

No, Schools Are Not Putting Litter Boxes in Bathrooms for Students Who Identify as Cats

Over the last few months, at least 20 politicians have declared that public high schools have taken to installing litter boxes in the bathrooms for students who identify as cats.

This is the sort of claim that should not need debunking. One look at it should be enough to convince you that it’s obviously bogus. And, to be clear, it is. But if you’re a person who listens to a lot of political radio and you start hearing this claim repeated over and over by high-ranking politicians like Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, Minnesota gubernatorial nominee Scott Jensen and two Republican state lawmakers in Tennessee (not to mention Joe Rogan, host of the world’s most popular podcast), you might start thinking “well, there must be something to it.”

There isn’t. An NBC News investigation combed the nation for any evidence of a litter box in a school, and found just one, tragic example. A school district in Colorado’s Jefferson County has been storing small quantities of cat litter in “go buckets” since 2017, along with candy for diabetic students, a school map, flashlights, wet wipes and first aid items in case of a school shooting. Columbine High School is located in the district.

However, the baseless rumor about cat litter for students who identify as cats persists, since it comports with a popular idea about how public school teachers will make any and all accommodation for a new generation of mamby-pamby tween moral relativists. Obviously, the bathroom issue has gotten very heated as the rights of trans children have become a central issue in the culture war. And as often happens with any culture war skirmish, judgment gets clouded and common sense gets abdicated.

But in this case, there is really no excuse for believing this very bizarre rumor. If something this strange had really happened, there would have been more than just strange partisan rumblings. There would have been photos and videos, investigative reporting teams putting out segments on the local news, something. The fact that all we’ve got to go on is hearsay from political leaders should be the first red flag that something is amiss in this story. But in this case, a lot more is amiss than just our ability to discern fact from fiction — this is a worrisome case of being unable to discern reality from absurdity.

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