The school board of a rural Missouri district is facing criticism and ridicule over a proposed anti-transgender bathroom policy that would ban students from using litter boxes.
The policy, which was discussed at a public hearing on Monday, would force transgender students to use either single-occupancy restrooms or restrooms that match their assigned sex at birth, violating their civil rights and dignity.
The policy is based on a false rumor that some students identify as furries and use litter boxes to relieve themselves. The rumor was traced back to a Facebook post by a conservative activist who claimed to have heard it from a friend, but provided no evidence or source.
The policy was met with opposition from parents, students, and advocates who denounced it as discriminatory, harmful, and absurd.
“This is not a real issue. This is a made-up issue by people who are trying to create fear and division,” said Jill Patterson, an attorney and parent who spoke against the policy.
“I’m embarrassed for you. I’m embarrassed for our community. I’m embarrassed for our state that you believe that this is a true issue,” said Jennifer Saphara, another parent who addressed the board members who supported the policy.
“It’s ridiculous. It’s absolutely ridiculous. There’s no such thing as litter boxes in schools,” said Stephanie Perkins, deputy director of PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization.
The policy was contrasted with a more inclusive one passed by a school district in Vermont that affirms transgender and nonbinary students’ identities and rights, allowing them to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity.
“We believe that every student deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. We believe that every student has the right to learn in a safe and supportive environment,” said Jeanne Collins, superintendent of Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union in Vermont.
The policy also drew attention from national figures, such as Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who spoke at a rally in support of former President Donald Trump on Saturday.
“This is just another example of how the radical left is trying to indoctrinate our children with their twisted agenda,” Greene said.
The school board has not yet voted on the policy, but said it will consider the public feedback before making a decision. The policy could face legal challenges if it is adopted, as similar policies have been struck down by courts in other states.
– School district considers official policy to ban students from using nonexistent litter boxes, LGBTQ Nation, October 30, 2023
– Missouri School District Hears Policy On Hoax “Litter Boxes” And Trans Students, Erin in the Morning, October 27, 2023
– Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Unhinged Trip to the Trump Rally, Rolling Stone, October 26, 2023
– Debunking, rebuttals didn’t stop claim about litter boxes in schools, PolitiFact, October 15, 2023