Some parents are under the impression that School District 67 in Penticton has embraced diversity to the point of allowing students to use separate bathrooms complete with litter boxes, if they identify as a cat. “Remember: what’s good for the most marginalized students is often good for all,” according to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity 123 guide to inclusive bathrooms. “SOGI-inclusive facilities tend towards being more inclusive and safer for all students.” 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.
By Dan Walton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Sep 27, 2023 at 11:04