Nebraska Lawmaker Apologizes for Debunked Claim That Schools Are Providing Litter Boxes for Students Who Identify as Cats

Grant Schulte, reporting for the AP:

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?”

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.”

Those today who believe whatever nonsense they see on Facebook are like the people who, a generation ago, believed the nonsense printed in supermarket tabloids like “The Weekly World News”. The difference is that instead of being crackpots who write letters to elected officials, a bunch of them today are elected officials.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022