I could not believe my ears.
“Now schools in the U.S. have to respect kids identifying as cats and dogs. They have to put out litter boxes.”
“I think you’ve been taken. This cannot be true.“
“It is. My daughter works for the school board, and she told me.“
This from a woman whose son is an avid anti-vaxxer. According to her, he watches and shares 11-hour videos about the harms of vaccination. The same son has recently pulled his children from the public school system “because they are going to make them give the kids the COVID vaccine.” He has also been on an anti-sunscreen kick and has recently become a flat-Earther.
All of this led me to wonder where such a ridiculous statement came from. The source of the rumour may be U.S. politicians. They use the rumour to feed into their voters’ anti-LGBTQ sentiments.
I also discovered a Fox News article from 2021 with the misleading title “Twin Falls Schools Said to Allow Students to Identify as Animals.” The truth of the matter comes out in the article, for those prepared to move beyond the headline. “We spoke with the TFSD Superintendent, Brady Dickinson, after he was able to contact each of the schools in the district to see if the claims of kids identifying as animals in school receiving special treatment were true. They didn’t find any indication that this was happening.“
These ridiculous allegations are not only happening in the U.S. Closer to home, PEI school board director Norbert Carpenter received enough calls asking whether the school board was putting litter boxes in classrooms that he issued a statement letting people know that this was not true and that the claims were rooted in hate against the LGBTQ population.
The Three Ofs
One might anticipate that reasonable people would recognize this information as a hoax. However, as many have reported, lies spread faster than truths. The fact that seemingly rational people — including people running for public office, the media, and even people working in your children’s schools — would believe and repeat such drivel is a sign of the need to continually champion three inescapable needs:
a) of questioning anything we hear…
b) …of the need for rational readers, such as you, to gently question the people who repeat misinformation, in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity, while reminding them of the importance of fact checking everything…
… and c) of the need for organizations like CFIC, to review issues like this one and remind you that not everyone employs logic when faced with controversial information.
This is something of which we are capable. Let’s get it done.
On a side note: Although there is no evidence that the two stories are connected, it is true that at least one school board has received kitty litter in “go buckets”, which are part of an emergency kit distributed to schools in case of a lockdown.
Comments on “If It Sounds Ridiculous, Use The Three Ofs”
OF number (b) above is clearly the kinder, gentler approach to remind other people that fact checking is important. You can preserve your popularity with such an ethical and caring attitude. Other less scrupulous people, upon hearing of the cat-litter-in-school story, might just jump in and quickly sell them the Brooklyn Bridge.
We agree Alex.
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