Here We Go Again With the 'Furries in Schools' Rumors

Heidi Ganahl, GOP candidate for governor in Colo., is spreading the largely debunked claim
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2022 7:55 AM CDT
Here We Go Again With the 'Furries in Schools' Rumors
Republican candidate for Colorado governor Heidi Ganahl speaks during a debate on the campus of Colorado State University Pueblo on Sept. 28 in Pueblo, Colo.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Heidi Ganahl really doesn't like furries, explained by KRDO as a "subculture that often involves people dressing up as anthropomorphic animal characters and attending conventions." So much so that the GOP candidate for governor in Colorado says she moved her kids out of one district and into another to escape the furry proliferation in the schools—a claim that several local districts are calling rubbish. The news outlet reports that Ganahl first made her remarks last week on a conservative radio show, telling that host, "It sounds absolutely ridiculous," but students dressing up as and "identifying as cats" is "happening all over Colorado." She doubled down on the claim a few days later during a KRDO interview, insisting the "really weird phenomenon" in the state's middle schools and high schools had "actually been going on for a couple years."

KDVR notes that in yet another interview, Ganahl even pointed the finger at one area in particular: Jefferson County, where "there's a lot of this going on." That's news to Jeffco Public Schools. "There is absolutely no truth to this claim," a spokesperson tells the outlet. A statement from the district adds: "Students are not allowed to come to school in costume. There are no furries or students identifying as such during the school day." Reps for at least four other Colorado school districts have issued similar denials, per the Denver Post. "The concerns being generated by [Ganahl] are baseless," says a rep for the Boulder Valley School District, which the Post notes is on a Ganahl campaign-provided list of districts where this is supposedly taking place. A campaign rep says the list was compiled by staffers, along with a parent-run group formed during the pandemic to push for in-person learning.

KRDO reports that the origins of the largely debunked concept of students IDing as cats—and a related rumor of them using litter boxes in schools—appears to stretch back to late last year, when the idea was floated at a Michigan school board meeting. The false claims went viral, and the Colorado Times Recorder notes that multiple Republican lawmakers continued to run with it. They include Ganahl's fellow Coloradan Lauren Boebert, a US congresswoman; Scott Jensen, the GOP candidate for Minnesota governor; and Nebraska state Sen. Bruce Bostelman, who later apologized for spreading the rumors. Ganahl's opponent, incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, referenced the matter in a Saturday tweet, jabbing at Ganahl's claim. Her retort in a Monday statement, per KRDO: Polis is "living on Fantasy Island" and denying it all so "he doesn't have to take responsibility for it." (Read more strange stuff stories.)

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