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School district squashes rumors of litter boxes in restrooms

Rumors of litter boxes in school restrooms and individuals self-identifying as animals have been circulating for weeks according to an email sent to families of students within the Carroll Community School District.

The email sent Tuesday evening signed by Superintendent Casey Berlau addressed the rumors, calling them “damaging” and “simply and emphatically not true.”

“There are absolutely no litter boxes in any restroom within our school district. Staff members are not encouraging or accommodating anyone behaving or identifying as a cat or any other animal,” the email from Berlau to families states. “It is very unfortunate that this rumor has been spread over the last several weeks. It has done nothing but distract people from the important work that we need to accomplish on a daily basis.”

The email further states the Carroll school district isn’t the only school district in the state dealing with similar rumors and other school districts in Iowa have sent correspondence to families as well.

“This issue gains negative attention because of its outrageousness,” the email from Berlau to families reads. “As we move forward, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that we are here as partners with you in the education of your children. We are here to answer your questions and to support you with the best education experience and environment each day. Please contact your child’s teacher or principal if you have any questions regarding the welfare of your child or the environment in which they attend school.”

A TikTok video made by a woman claiming to be a substitute teacher at an unknown school district who claimed she was fired for not ‘meowing’ back to a student who identifies as a cat went viral in January. The woman who posted the video later revealed she made up the incident.

In January, a superintendent of a school in Michigan dispelled rumors of students identifying as cats and restrooms containing litter boxes after a parent raised the rumors as an issue during a school board meeting.

“Positive communication is the best way to help our students and our district when rumors such as this arise,” the final paragraph of Berlau’s email to families reads. “Please understand that every student is a priority and spreading rumors does nothing to support our district or our students.”

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