Pinkerton Academy calls Bolduc 'furries' claims untrue

Nov. 1—Pinkerton Academy, the largest high school in New Hampshire, is disputing claims made by Republican Senate candidate Don Bolduc that students at the Derry school were using litter boxes and licking one another as part of a subculture known as furries in which humans identify as animals.

"We want to assure our community that Mr. Bolduc's statements are entirely untrue," reads a reply Tweet that Pinkerton sent to the CNN reporter Monday who broke the story. "We invite all political candidates to speak with members of our administration or visit our campus so they can inform themselves about our school before making claims about what occurs here."

The CNN story relies on an audio recording from a campaign event, apparently on Thursday, when Bolduc is speaking to a crowd. He is uncertain of the town where Pinkerton is located, and then he said "Guess what, we have furries and fuzzies in classrooms."

CNN has posted the audio file, where Bolduc said the students lick themselves like cats, hiss at people they don't like, lick themselves and touch things.

"And get this, get this, they're putting litter boxes, litter boxes," he said.

"I honestly wish this wasn't real, a 'Saturday Night Live' skit ... that was fictional, but it's not," Bolduc said.

According to Reuters Fact Check, furries are a social media claim that arises occasionally. Claims are that schools are placing litter boxes in student restrooms for students who identify as furries. Furries are people who create their own alternative animal personality know as a fursona.

The International Anthropomorphic Research Project, also known as Furscience, a group of interdisciplinary professors, has studied more than 40,000 furries, Reuters said.

No evidence exists of schools in the United States providing litter boxes for students, Reuters said.

"We don't have any litter boxes on campus for student use," said Julia Mitchell, a spokesman for the 3,200-student Pinkerton Academy. She said litter boxes are used in the school's pre-veterinary and animal management classes. All students, she said, must follow school policies for dress and behavior.

Dr. Timothy Powers, the headmaster at Pinkerton, said rumors linking furries and public schools started early this year. He's never heard of any social media or other rumors that say Pinkerton has furries students.

"You're talking high school kids. Kids hiss and bark at each other in a playful way, but not as he stated," Powers said. The Bolduc campaign has not contacted the school, Powers said. He said he would like to see the campaign correct the statements.

An email to Kate Constantini, a spokesperson for the Bolduc campaign, was not immediately returned.

At a campaign event in Manchester, incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan said: "This is just another example of his repeating an outrageous and harmful conspiracy theory and he needs to stop."

Bolduc is not a stranger to voicing questionable statements. For example, he was a 2020 election denier until he won the Republican nomination for the Senate. Gov. Chris Sununu has called him a "conspiracy-theorist type candidate" before embracing him as the party nominee.