State Senator apologizes after defecating Nebraska Senate floor with disproven cat bin rumors
In late January 2022, the internet was flooded with news stories about a concerned parent in a school meeting in Michigan. However the news of the inaccuracy of the salacious rumor didn’t seem to reach one State Senator in Nebraska by the name of Bruce Bostelman of District 23. He instead took the State Senate floor and defecated it with the rumor he, like the woman before him, was appalled by.
The Senator’s Shock
Something that took me back just a little bit, and I'm a little shocked, I guess is what [sic] I would put it. It's something called furries. If you don't know what furries are, it’s where school children dress up and animals, cats or dogs, during the school day. They meow and they bark and they interact with their school with their teachers in this fashion. And now schools are wanting to put litter boxes in the schools for these children to use.
How is this sanitary?
I’m going to have a discussion with CEO Smith [of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services] about this, this is something I think ‘how can schools allow this to happen?’ I think it’s very disruptive within the school system. I think it’s very [disruptive] within the classes. I even heard from one person here recently that said [...] that a student identified as a cat, and wanted a litter box, and the school didn’t provide the litter box so the student went ahead and defecated on the floor.
School Administrators, what is going on?
Nebraska Department of Education, what’s going on?
State Board of Education, what’s going on?
If some kids can’t wear American flag walk through the school on their shirt [sic]? And you keep them out of school? And you kick them out of school, but it’s okay if they wear a cat costume? And that’s fine? And you have a litterbox for them, and that’s fine? I don’t think so.
An Apology for Error
The Senator later went on to investigate and apologized as he found out the story he heard was a debunked internet rumor, AP’s Ali Swenson reports:
Hours after his remarks, Bostelman backtracked and acknowledged that the story wasn’t true. He said he checked the claims with state Sen. Lynne Walz, a Democrat who leads the Legislature’s Education Committee, and confirmed there were no such incidents.
“It was just something I felt that if this really was happening, we needed to address it and address it quickly,” Bostelman said.
The furor over public school restrooms comes as a growing number of conservative states seek laws to ban transgender students from using bathrooms that match their gender identity.
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a project coordinator and Kangaroo from CheektRoowaga, NY, interested in video games, current events, politics, writing and finance
Takes guts to ask educational departments what's going in this generation of education and then follow up those questions with a sentence that grammatically incoherent. I couldn't tell if he was suffering a stroke, or if I was. Took about 4 listens and a mountain of restraint to type it as spoken.
This may seem pointed and harsh, but he's a politician and should know better. He even had the advantage over the woman in the December 2021 meeting in that basically there is a flood over how the rumor was just nonsense that he, or anyone on his staff, could have tripped on had he bothered to go to a search engine and type in the words 'furry cat litter'.
Snopes, please add this to your website, it's sad I need to ask this.
Snopes debunked it at the time.
Ah, I searched on litter box and got no hits.
A letter to the editor written by a furry was released in NCN by Relic in response to this news and I feel it is worth sharing here: https://www.northcountrynow.com/letters/opinion-facts-about-furry-fandom-lisbons...
As I was doing more digging into things for the video version of this story I found something that kind of got me frustrated.
The American Flag thing he noted in the speech was partially true, however the kid wasn't kicked out of school and were allowed an excuse absence for not following the school's rules about wearing the American Flag on Cinco De Mayo in 2010. The reason this ban was made was because a group of white students wore the flag to hide behind as they harassed Hispanic students on May 5, 2009: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/school-bans-u-s-flag-t-shirts-cinco-de-mayo/
This happened in a Californian school 1600 miles away from the state senator's district. It also happened over a decade ago in 2010.
This story has lead to false rumors of things like it happening in other schools around the country:
1) In Tennessee: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/did-tennessee-school-district-ban-flag/
2) In South Carolina: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/high-school-bans-flags-from-football-games/
That's not the part that frustrated me.
While the state Senator is chasing unproven, false, or misremembered stories under which to project shock and awe. He showed no shock and appall for a school that is 10 miles of his District's eastern boarder. There a school shooting occurred where the vice principal lost her life and the principal was critically wounded in 2011.
The Senator does owe an apology, but not to the furries, he owes it to the staff of the school boards he questioned the integrity of before he did any research on his own, and he owes one particularly to Millard South High School and their staff.
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