The GOP Started a Panic Over Kitty Litter in Classrooms. The Real Story Is A Lot Sadder

Black Kid Raising Hand in Classroom
Black Kid Raising Hand in Classroom

The same people who brought you QAnon are back with another bizarre theory about the hidden liberal agenda. But this time, Democrats’ evil plans center around… kitty litter?

Last week, Representative Lauren Boebert (R-Col.) warned a Republican women’s luncheon that schools “are putting litter boxes in schools for people who identify as cats,” according to the Colorado Times Recorder.

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Now, if you’re not super insanely plugged into the world of GOP conspiracy theories and thinly veiled attacks on trans kids, you may have missed this latest one. But, according to NBC News, at least 20 conservative candidates and elected officials made false claims that K-12 schools were putting litter boxes in classrooms for children who identify as cats.

When NBC reached out to the schools that conservatives claimed were stockpiling kitty litter for cat-identified children, they all vehemently denied it.

But a little more digging by local news reporters revealed that some schools had been stockpiling kitty litter, but it had absolutely nothing to do with kids’ identities.

As of 2017, the Jefferson County, Colorado School District, where the Columbine shooting occurred, has been stockpiling small amounts of cat litter, according to a local NBC affiliate. But, according to local news reports, the district began collecting the litter to prepare emergency go buckets for lockdowns in the case of a school shooting or other emergency.

The impetus for collecting cat litter came after students at one county high schools were confined to their classrooms for four-and-a-half hours, according to news reports. Students and teachers had to rely on waste buckets and closets for bathroom breaks. Once the lockdown ended, they needed a biohazard team to clean up after them.

The idea is that the cat litter could be spread across an empty painter’s bucket, and students could use the restroom there with less of a biohazard risk. The school also places food and candy (for children who require sugar) in the buckets.

School shootings and by default school lockdowns, have increasingly become a part of everyday life. In 2022, there have already been 140 incidents of gunfire on school grounds, according to Every town for Gun Safety. These shootings have resulted in 46 deaths and 111 injuries nationally.

And it’s impossible to forget the tragic shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which took the lives of nineteen elementary schoolers and two teachers.

It seems that rather than worrying about how students are identifying, it might be worth the GOP’s time to examine why schools have to prepare for these brutal lockdowns in the first place.