News Corp claims to have found more cat identifying students

Melbourne’s Herald Sun says Australian students are “being allowed to act out animal identities in schools in a bid to support their mental health needs.”

The newspaper published a report on Sunday making the claim based on a tenuous report claiming that a private Melbourne school is allowing one student to identify as a cat.

Columnist Susie O’Brien shared that an unnamed private school in Melbourne was supporting a student who spent her school days identifying as a cat.

The Year 8 student was reported as being “phenomenally bright” but “not to be verbal” at school. The paper claimed staff were allowing her to assume her cat identity as long as she completed her school work.

O’Brien said she had spoken to a “source close to the girl’s family” who had raised concern about the school’s approach.

“No one seems to have a protocol for students identifying as animals, but the approach has been that if it doesn’t disrupt the school, everyone is being supportive,” the unnamed source told O’Brien.

“The behaviour is being normalised. Now more and more people are identifying as whatever they want to identify with, including ‘furries’,” the source reportedly said.

The school was not identified in the report, but the columnist said when they were approached for comment they did not confirm if the student was even enrolled. The school said they had students who “present with a range of issues, from mental health, anxiety or identity issues.

“Our approach is always unique to the student and will take into account professional advice and the wellbeing of the student.” the school said.

The report is shared across News Corp sites and is picked up by other media

The report has been shared across the News Corp stable with additional reports being filed by journalist Jessica Wang.

However in Wang’s reports the description of the student is subtly different, describing her as a student who is “non-verbal” and “phenomenally bright”, which may suggest that the student is neuro-divergent.

Once the story was picked up by The Daily Telegraph the attribute of being “phenomenally bright” was highlighted in the title, with the information about the student being “non-verbal” given the second rung in the report.

When anti-transgender group Binary shared the report it morphed into “‘Phenomenally bright’ student thinks she is a cat’, with the information about the student being non-verbal presented as “the Year 8 student does not speak during school hours”.

Soon the story was being highlighted by Rowan Dean on Sky News, while newly elected United Australia senator Ralph Babet took to social media to claim the story was proof of his belief that society has been overtaken by Marxist organisations.

“This is a symptom of allowing the woke radical left in society to run rampant, unchecked.” Senator Babet said. 

Former Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi, who once suggested that marriage equality would eventually lead to people wanting to marry animals, also commented on the story. 

By the time the story was retold on KISS FM in Los Angeles, the elements had been rearranged again, so that now the school was describing the students as “Phenomenally bright”, rather than “a source close to the family” in the original report, and the descriptions of the student being non-verbal had changed to the “school allowing” the student to be non-verbal in school hours.

Report the latest is a series of claims presented in Newscorp outlets

Earlier this year Queensland’s Courier Mail claimed there is a private school in Brisbane which has several students who insist on identifying as cats.

In an article listed as ‘opinion’, Associate Editor Kylie Lang shared that multiple unrelated sources have confirmed to her that Brisbane Girls Grammar School has several students who have chosen to self-identify as cats, as well as a few who claim to be foxes.

Despite the report having only second hand accounts of the existence of the cat identifying students, and the school named in the report denying it was not true, the newspaper and the writer have maintained their report is accurate.

Alongside their report the Courier Mail included footage from the USA where a mother claimed local schools were supplying kitty litter boxes in bathrooms to accommodate for cat-identifying students. The claims had already been widely debunked, but that information was not shared by the newspaper.

The report was later highlighted on the ABC’s Media Watch program.

Shortly afterwards the story was published though it was also shared on the Sky News program Outsiders.

Host Daisy Cousens highlighted the Courier Mail report but failed to include the denial from the school. Cousen’s also included already debunked footage from the USA.

Back in 2021 Sky News commentator Leisa Goddard shared that she’d heard of a school where it was occurring, saying there were cat identifying students across a range of ages.

Appearing on Hardgrave, the journalist and public relations specialist, shared her thoughts on a proposal from the Australian Bureau of Statistics to allow a wider range of descriptors for gender in the 2025 census.

“It comes by fact of what’s being taught in classrooms and what’s being accepted in schools. I can give you an example of a school where you have got students there in a high school who, forget the ‘I identify as a ‘they’ or ‘my pronouns are going to be different’ – fine. They identify as cats.” Goddard claimed.

“Cats?” responded host Gary Hardgrave.

“Cats!” confirmed Goddard. “So you’ve got, at a fairly well-known school, you’ve got students, in different grades, who are identifying as cats.”

Goddard said people should be concerned about how students identifying as cats would affect the next Australian census. Goddard did not respond to OUTinPerth’s requests for her to elaborate on the issue.

The incidences of people claiming schools have students identifying as cats is a well documented urban myth that regularly appears in the USA.

Over the last 18 months variations of the story have appeared in a wide range of locations, and it’s often lead to media personalities and politicians having to apologise for falling for the tale.

Researchers in the USA say the tale of students identifying as cats can be traced back to various occurrences over the last 20 years. Recently claims have arisen across the USA in Ohio, Utah, Michigan, Nebraska, Arkansas and Texas. There’s also been claims of cat identifying students in Canada.

The basic story is students are identifying as cats, and some part of the school world is being adjusted for their special needs. Often the claim is that kitty litter boxes are being put in unisex bathrooms, or tables in the cafeteria are being lowered so students can eat like animals.

There’s clearly a connection between opposition to people who are transgender accessing bathrooms or changerooms, and the outlandish tales of cat-identifying students.

Like the previous reports the current claim from The Herald Sun is being questioned. Youth news provider 6News issued a fact check on the story saying it lacked evidence, while Crikey just said they couldn’t believe News Corp had fallen for the hoax twice.

Graeme Watson

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