Occasionally, someone claims to have first-hand knowledge of litter boxes in school restrooms for students who allegedly identify as cats. Generally, the tail – ahem, tale – involves middle and high school students.

A recent caller to my program cited a secondhand source who insisted that Fall River's B.M.C. Durfee High School had removed a toilet in a stall to make room for a litter box. The caller insisted that school officials would soon follow suit at New Bedford High School.

The idea is incredible, but given the times we live in, nothing would shock me. I should have looked further into it.

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I'd heard, without proof, that this kind of thing was happening in other places in the country, so when area schools became a part of the story, it already had traction. In other words, the unbelievable had become believable.

Of course, it was happening everywhere else, so why not here? I blew it. I was catnapping on this one and should have investigated.

Do SouthCoast Schools Have Litter Boxes In The Bathrooms?
Taylor Cormier/Townsquare Media

Given the recent suggestion that Fall River and New Bedford schools were going cat crazy, I finally did my job and sought comment from local school officials. No more pussy-footing around.

Arthur P. Motta, Jr., Community & Public Affairs Manager for the New Bedford Public School System, must have heard the question one too many times and curtly replied to my inquiry by saying, "Barry, that was an urban myth going around the country last year."

But Arthur, I said, "It's going around New Bedford right now," to which Motta replied, "I heard. No litter boxes here."

Do SouthCoast Schools Have Litter Boxes In The Bathrooms?
New Bedford High School Facebook/Used With Permission

New Bedford High School Headmaster Bernadette Coelho assured me there are no litter boxes in student bathrooms.

"Barry, there is no truth to that rumor," she said.

For the record, I consulted with friends in other school districts in the region, all of whom had the good sense not to go on the record, who also denied there are litter boxes at their schools.

I discovered that the litter box hoax began in Canada in 2021 as anti-transgender rhetoric and fearmongering.

Conservative politicians and media figures let the cat out of the bag in the United States in 2022 and have kept the hoax alive. Shame on them. Shame on me for taking too long to investigate.

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Gallery Credit: Ariel Dorsey

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