DougCo schools joins chorus of districts denying furry claims

Suzie Glassman

By: Suzie Glassman/NewsBreak Denver

(Castle Rock, CO) Republican gubernatorial candidate Hedi Ganahal set off a firestorm of immediate denials from metro area school districts when she claimed schools tolerate students identifying as cats.

Ganahl’s campaign included two Douglas County schools on a list of places where students dressed like animals, saying one of those schools banned dog collars.

A DougCo school district spokeswoman told the Denver Post, “that was not true.”

According to the Denver Post, “The allegation that schools are supporting students dressing up as animals has popped up repeatedly, and been debunked repeatedly, across the United States over the past year.”

National publications trace the controversy that schools tolerate and even protect students dressing as animals through federally-mandated accommodations back to comments made during a Minnesota school board meeting last December.

“A member of the public who spoke at the meeting, Lisa Hansen, says in the video that she was informed by someone the day before the meeting that the school added litter boxes to the “unisex bathrooms” for students who “identify as cats,” writes The New York Times.

Since then, some conservative political organizations have embraced the accusations. According to Forbes, Nebraska, Texas, and Colorado Republican candidates have all made similar claims.

School districts in Iowa, Tennessee, Missouri, North Dakota, and Michigan also responded to false accusations. Forbes writes, “Politifact, a nonpartisan fact-checking outlet, has found no credible examples of schools providing litter boxes for students.”

“It’s culture war, it’s control, and it’s not about protecting kids,” Patch O’Furr, proprietor of the furry news site Dogpatch Press, told The Daily Beast. “If you actually look at who’s doing this, at some of the political groups getting involved, they’re all far right.”

About furries

The website Furscience says the term furry “encompasses a diverse community of fans, artists, writers, gamers, and role players. Most furries create for themselves an anthropomorphized animal character (fursona) with whom they identify and can function as an avatar within the community.”

The site notes that 75% of furries are under 25, and 85% identify as male, 13% as female, and 2.5% as transgender. Furries are far more likely than the general population to identify as homosexual, which puts them at risk for attacks by anti-LBGTQ organizations.

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I'm a reporter covering the Douglas County School District in Colorado.

Denver, CO

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