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Okanagan school district needs kitty litter for ice, not kids

Responding to social media, SD67 says it’s not ordering litter for students who identify as cats

By Dan Walton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Penticton Herald

Some parents may be under the impression that an Okanagan school district has embraced diversity to the point of allowing students to use separate bathrooms complete with litter boxes, if they identify as a cat.

School District 67 in Penticton says they’re wrong.

Kitty litter does get purchased by SD67, according to a spokesperson from the district, however the litter is only used during the wintertime when added traction is needed on frozen surfaces.

“Senior management is aware of those rumours circulating on social media,” the spokesperson said, adding that the same story is gaining popularity in other parts of B.C. “But they’re just rumours.”

Wilbur Turner with Advocacy Canada in Kelowna said the rumour started because some schools in the U.S. did in fact purchase kitty litter and buckets for students to use as toilets, but only in the extraordinary measure of an active-shooter lockdown.

“This is an example of how facts are distorted to fit a narrative and used against a minority community,” Turner said. “This is harmful and damaging as it dehumanizes people and attempts to characterize them as somehow deviant and dangerous.”

The matter has been taken more seriously in other parts of North America. In North Dakota, it has recently become illegal for public schools to provide “accommodation that caters to a student’s perception of being any animal species other than human,” according to Bill 1522 which came into effect earlier this year.

That same bill also prohibits students from using washrooms that do not correspond with their sex, and allows trans students to be misgendered.

Last year, podcast host Joe Rogan said on his show that a school installed a litter box to accommodate a student who identified as a furry, though he retracted that comment on a later episode.

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