Nebraska lawmaker apologizes for debunked litter box claim

FILE - Nebraska state Sen. Bruce Bostelman, of Brainard, is seen in the Legislative Chamber in Lincoln, Neb., Friday, March 1, 2019. Bostelman has apologized after he publicly cited a persistent but debunked rumor alleging that schools are placing litter boxes in school bathrooms to accommodate children who self-identify as cats. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)
FILE – Nebraska state Sen. Bruce Bostelman, of Brainard, is seen in the Legislative Chamber in Lincoln, Neb., Friday, March 1, 2019. Bostelman has apologized after he publicly cited a persistent but debunked rumor alleging that schools are placing litter boxes in school bathrooms to accommodate children who self-identify as cats. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

A Nebraska state lawmaker apologized on Monday after he publicly cited a persistent but debunked rumor alleging that schools are placing litter boxes in school bathrooms to accommodate children who self-identify as cats.

Sen. Bruce Bostelman, a conservative Republican, repeated the false claim during a public, televised debate on a bill intended to help school children who have behavioral problems. His comments quickly went viral, with one Twitter video garnering more than 300,000 views as of Monday afternoon, and drew an onslaught of online criticism and ridicule.

Bostelman initially said he was “shocked” when he heard stories that children were dressing as cats and dogs while at school, with claims that schools were accommodating them with litter boxes.

“They meow and they bark and they interact with their teachers in this fashion,” Bostelman said during legislative debate. “And now schools are wanting to put litter boxes in the schools for these children to use. How is this sanitary?”

The rumor has persisted in a private Facebook group, “Protect Nebraska Children,” and also surfaced last month in an Iowa school district, forcing the superintendent to write to parents that it was “simply and emphatically not true.”

Bostelman had said that he planned to discuss the issue with the CEO of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. He also alleged that schools were not allowing kids to wear flags, but didn’t give specific examples. In 2016, Lincoln’s public school district briefly asked students not to fly American flags from their vehicles after one flag was pulled from its holder, but school officials later apologized.

The false claim that children who identify as cats are using litter boxes in school bathrooms has spread across the internet since at least December, when a member of the public brought it up at a school board meeting for Midland Public Schools northwest of Detroit.

The claim was debunked by the district’s superintendent, who issued a statement that said there had “never been litter boxes within MPS schools.”

Still, the baseless rumor has spread across the country, and become fuel for political candidates, amid the culture wars and legislative action involving gender identification in schools.

Hours after his remarks, Bostelman backtracked and acknowledged that the story wasn’t true. He said he checked into the claims with state Sen. Lynne Walz, a Democrat who leads the Legislature’s Education Committee, and confirmed there were no such incidents.

“It was just something I felt that if this really was happening, we needed to address it and address it quickly,” Bostelman said.

The furor over public school restrooms comes as a growing number of conservative states seek laws to ban transgender students from using bathrooms that match their gender identity.

Nebraska Rep Spreads “Litter Boxes For Furries” Claim

The Associated Press reports:

A Nebraska state lawmaker apologized on Monday after he publicly cited a persistent but debunked rumor alleging that schools are placing litter boxes in school bathrooms to accommodate children who self-identify as cats.

Sen. Bruce Bostelman, a conservative Republican, repeated the false claim during a public, televised debate on a bill intended to help school children who have behavioral problems. His comments quickly went viral, with one Twitter video garnering more than 300,000 views as of Monday afternoon, and drew an onslaught of online criticism and ridicule.

“They meow and they bark and they interact with their teachers in this fashion,” Bostelman said during legislative debate. “And now schools are wanting to put litter boxes in the schools for these children to use. How is this sanitary?”

Read the full article.

As you may recall, the claim first began being spread back in January by Michigan GOP co-chair Meshawn Maddock, who had been in the national news that week for her role in the fake electors scandal.

As you can see below, the cultist Twitter account Libs Of TikTok has also been pushing this bullshit.

According to the above-linked AP report, the claim got new life this week thanks to a Facebook group called Protect Nebraska Children.

10 thoughts on “Nebraska lawmaker apologizes for debunked litter box claim

  1. But kids identifying as furries IS a thing, as is schools tolerating this ‘identity’. They have to, you see, and try to remain consistent in policy regarding group ‘DEI’. Some kids (usually seniors) are dressing this way for fun because many know the whole group identity ideology in schools has reached new levels of absurdity. It’s a way to push boundaries and these kids enjoy doing that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Tildeb. Please give me a citation where this is happening. I posted an expose where they tracked down the source of this furry in school crap. It came from a grandmother on Facebook whose granddaughter had complained that some girls were mean to her in school, hissing and making clawing motions when she was near them. It was a Facebook post. The girls in question may have had toy cat ears on that day and the principal told them it was against the dress code, that part is unsure as the principal did not remember it. If kids are doing it now, it is because it has been in the news and social media because stupid right-wing idiots went to school board meetings to complain about it, then Republican politicians talked about it without fact checking thinking they were owning the libs. The entire idea of litter boxes was added to the original story as a joke. Stupid, really stupid Republican right wing politicians think they can score points with their base talking about it to show how out of touch with reality and how far wrong gender identity has gone. When in truth it shows how stupid some people are to not check their stories.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Hello Tildeb. In this case I was the one not clear. I meant cite a case where the school was putting out litter boxes for the kids to use as bathrooms. Do kids ID as furries, yes I think they would. Kids love dress up, they love animals, they love to be in a group that accepts them and makes their parents wonder. There are kids that ID as Jedi, supernatural figures, and meta humans from movies.

          That said kids are not in full costume as a furry or anything else in school unless it is for drama class. As a former school employee you must know that. However the point of the story was to slam the woke left for catering to the kids with different ID by putting out litter boxes for them. Something that is not happening. It was as I said a Facebook post that the right took as a thing the libs were doing.

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  2. Hi Tildeb;
    “Pushing a boundary” because it’s funny and absurd is a typical kids being kids thing, while pushing a species boundary because that is your identity to be a cat or a dog is something akin to insanity. I frankly don’t quite understand if the people who fall for this are that terribly naïve, or they just want to be conveniently obtuse.
    One of the things that has bothered me to no end is this idea that “because I want something to be true, facts are not relevant”. The sup. of the school where this was alleged to have occurred found himself having to send a letter to the parents that ‘no, this did not happen’. But, that’s no fun! There’s no great conspiracy in that. There’s no way to drive up the troops and storm the libs with that.
    Schools have a great deal to manage on a daily basis. Morons with guns a plenty and willing to share. Cretins that want to burn a book because it doesn’t somehow fit their sudden idea of what’s good. People standing in the way of studied and careful considerations of how to protect the kids and their families from a pandemic. Teaching when learning is difficult, when there are bullies, home disasters, hunger, social anxiety, etc. Parents that are more interested in blaming a teacher for their child’s behavior than addressing it themselves. And, dealing with little human beings who are being held victim to tidal waves of hormones and fears about their sexual attractions and sexual identity is a serious job that requires serious people who care about their students.
    These are our kids, and making their life more difficult because it gets some bullshit screamers their moment of glory by raging idiotic has no place in an adult world. People need to grow the hell up.

    Sorry Scottie. I’ve had enough.

    Hugs

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yeah, like you, I really don’t get the whole furrie thing. I know there’s an anime cross-over aspect and an ‘identity’ cross-over aspect and a playing-a-character thing when, as you say, there’s so much else – pressures and anxieties to be sure – intruding ever deeper on lives so there’s a stepping-away-from-reality aspect, too. But then there are grown-ups who continue using this as a sort of community connection thing but who participate in a whole range of adult behaviours while in ‘character’… and I really don’t get that, either, other than something important seems to have been missed in development.

      What I DO get is this state legislator in a partisan frame trying to use this to paint the ‘other’ side as lunatics because there really is an element of lunacy to it (as there is with various examples of off-the-rails adolescent behaviour!), so there is some legitimacy condemning schools for ‘going along’ with it.

      But, as you obviously know, when it comes to schools and working in them with real kids from a diverse community, it’s wiser to choose the important battles rather than adding fuel to boundary-pushing by confronting the smaller ones. And I think the furries thing is a small one. So I also understand why this behaviour is tolerated in schools. It IS a way for some students to create supportive network of friends they otherwise would not have or be in the right frame of mind to make them. (Locally, this tolerance at high school is aimed at makeup and clothing that does not impede movement or cause interference with other students).

      A long standing solution has been to have mandatory uniforms but, even then, the ‘boundaries’ of what’s acceptable as the uniform is also always being tested, too. I think we’re all wired this way in order to survive the hard and lesson-filled road to becoming responsible adults. But taking decades after teenage years to get there? Not so much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello Tildeb. I think there is a huge difference between the adult furry community that is involved in sexual practices when dressed up and what kids gathering together with each other dressed in maybe some furry ears or homemade costumes are doing. But there was something you said I wanted to discuss.

        First before I get slammed in the comments I know that not all furry communities are sexual ones or use their furry persona to hook up.

        Tildeb you seem to imply that you did not understand the idea of people doing cosplay as a sexual enhancement. Role playing for adults (and kids playing doctor?) in sex has been a long-time kink. The boss and secretary, the French maid, the schoolgirl outfit. It is part Halloween and part exploring a part of themselves they cannot normally express. I knew guys as a kid that hated anything not macho but couldn’t wait for Halloween to dress up in skirts and female attire. Kinks and fetishes are not rational, like sexual orientation and gender ID they are something people feel and react to. According to Dan Savage the sex columnist and podcaster kinks are formed young most of the time before puberty.

        I can understand having a large imagination and using fantasy as a kid or adult to escape reality for a little while. For some people this world is a cruel and unforgiving place. Those dressing up as animals picture those animals as better and more noble than the humans they interact with. IMO. Not sure as I am not a furry but that is what I have read. I do know that there are furry organizations that get upset if they are assumed to be into in character sex.

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        1. kinks are formed young most of the time before puberty.

          Not only “kinks” but many of the other “identities” that are talked about today. Yes, there are genuine deviations among some individuals, but IMO, this whole thing has been TOTALLY blown out of proportion!!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hello Nan. I agree but what bothers me is that I doubt we agree on what part is being blown out of proportion. I have just watched a show on the subject I hope to post tomorrow. I cannot post it today as they do not have it posted on their site yet. It covers the part I wrote about and goes back to cover the woman and her daughter journey on the transgender road since the kid informed her parents what gender she was. It is an incredible story.

            Most people have no trouble understanding that they knew they were just like their peers and “normal” at a young age but refuse to understand gay and trans kids know what they are at an early age also. I knew I was gay at four years old. I knew I was different in who I wanted to kiss and who I wanted to be held by. But I just did not know the names for it. I found that out at around five when my 10 year old hell spawn female sibling held me down and kept hitting me telling me I was gay. When I asked what that was I knew she was right and that something more was wrong with me. I do not want any more kids growing up thinking anything more is wrong with them.

            Like

    2. Hello Randy. Well said. And you used half the space I did. I noticed that when the red state governor call for parents to have a say over what is taught or even talked about in school they mean only the right wing cult parents. They tell the other parents to stay out of it and they have no say in what is done at school. Want kids to follow science and wear masks that is no, want no masks and to have bible verses in school that is a big yes. What comprehensive sex education so kids don’t get pregnant that is a never but want to teach only don’t touch it or even think about it is welcomed as good parenting. Brother never be sorry; I love your rants and wish I could order my thoughts that well. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

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