Schools are allowing children to identify as cats, horses and dinosaurs – and teachers are ‘failing to question them’, it was claimed today.
There was widespread outrage earlier this week when a 13-year-old girl was branded ‘despicable’ by her teacher for rejecting her classmate’s claim that she identified as a cat.
Now further stories are emerging of pupils who identify as animals with very human characteristics – often known as ‘furries’.
At a state secondary school in Wales, one student is said to ‘meow’ when asked questions by a teacher, rather than answering in English, the Telegraph reports.
In other schools, one apparently insists on being addressed as a dinosaur, one claims to identify as a horse while another is said to wear a cape and demands to be acknowledged as a moon.
Pupils claim teachers are ‘not allowed to get annoyed’ about such behaviour in case it is seen as being discriminatory.
Litter boxes in schools?
The litter boxes in schools hoax is a rumour alleging that certain schools in North America provide litter boxes in bathrooms for students who ‘identify as cats’ or ‘furries’.
A Michigan school district last year denied that litter boxes were provided to students who identify as ‘furries’ after a woman made the claim in a school board meeting.
The woman, Lisa Hansen said: ‘So yesterday, I heard that a least one of our schools has – in one of the unisex bathrooms – a litter box for the kids that identify as cats, and I am really disturbed by that. And I will do some more investigation on that.’
Superintendent Michael E. Sharrow said it was ‘unconscionable’ that he had to address the issue in an email to parents that was also posted on Facebook.
‘Let me be clear in this communication. There is no truth whatsoever to this false statement/accusation! There have never been litter boxes within MPS schools,’ Sharrow said.
However, lessons are reportedly becoming completely derailed by these interactions, impacting the quality of their classmates’ education.
Tracy Shaw, of the grassroots Safe Schools Alliance, said she has seen an increasing number of reports of children identifying as animals, but added that these remain in small numbers.
‘This is worrying, as there is a high probability that those children have been online in unregulated chat forums,’ she said.
‘We know predators will do anything to get to children and what better way than to infiltrate chat forums pretending to be a cute furry animal? These children are often already isolated and vulnerable; they may also feel that they don’t fit in.
‘Teachers need to be showing professional curiosity when they encounter children who are identifying as animals.
‘Affirming children as animals harms those children as it fails to look into their lives and get them the help them need. It also harms other children in the school.
‘We are appalled that children are expected to ignore the evidence before their own eyes and pretend that children are something they are clearly not.
‘When schools then sanction those children for not going along with the concept that children have animal identities that are valid and authentic, we have to believe that those schools have been infiltrated and are no longer a safe place for children.’
Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, told MailOnline: ‘In the current climate this cannot be dismissed as innocent examples of ‘imaginative play’, but further examples of the confusing and harmful ideologies which are continuing to escalate in our schools.
‘This story exposes the confusion and untruths being embedded in schools which are developing into a public health crisis.
‘This is where ‘inclusive’ education leaves teachers, parents, and children – lost in moral chaos and confusion.
‘Out of fear of questioning or going against the secular orthodoxy on these issues, teachers are forced to go along with it and to kowtow to whatever a child ‘identifies’ at any given moment.
‘The harmful impact on children will not just be seen now, but also in the years to come if it goes unchecked.
‘Teachers who rock the boat by refusing to use a pupils’ preferred identity, or who raise standard safeguarding concerns over transitioning children, are marginalised, silenced and have even ended up losing their careers.
‘Truth is becoming stranger than fiction. Sadly, such is the climate of fear in schools, we can no longer rely on the common sense of teachers.’
However, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said he hasn’t heard of it arising as an issue in schools.
‘There are nine million children in England’s schools so it is not surprising that all sorts of things crop up in discussions in classrooms,’ he said.
‘Teachers and leaders are very good at dealing with whatever situation arises.’
The government is due to issue new guidance on self-identity this week, but the issue of ‘furries’ will not be specifically addressed.
A Department for Education spokesman said teachers would be trusted to apply ‘common sense’ in each individual case.