Deputy headteacher of Welsh school tells parents in a letter they won’t put out litter trays for pupils who identify as cats

There is an extraordinary letter online today written by the deputy headteacher of a respected Welsh school, West Monmouth School, which informs parents and carers that the school will not provide litter trays for pupils who wish to identify as cats. The letter is very serious and intended to be informative. It was written to deny claims that litter trays were being provided for “furries” meaning pupils who identify as animals.

Deputy headteacher of Welsh school tells parents in a letter they won't put out litter trays for pupils who want to be cats
West Monmouth School and the letter. Images: Wales News Service.

A little while ago there was a flurry of furry news on the Internet. I have written some articles about it and it seems to be genuine that some students want to identify as animals at school which I would argue is a worrying situation even a trend. Is this linked to mental health issues in a section of school kids?

RELATED: School accused of installing cat litter trays for students who identify as ‘furries’

And the deputy headteacher of this 1000 pupil high school boasting a string of famous alarm night including Sir Anthony Hopkins, the Hollywood star, felt it necessary to make a stand against what I see as the woke movement.

RELATED: UK students are allowed to identify as cats, horses and dinosaurs!

The letter implies that it is plausible to put out cat litter trays for pupils at school, otherwise, she wouldn’t have written the letter. If it was completely idiotic there will be no need to inform parents about their policy. But the headmistress has taken the situation seriously.

Her letter in some ways almost supports the notion that students might want to identify as animals including cats at school which is untenable in terms of practicalities. This is what she said:

Dear Parent/Carer,

It has come to our attention that there appears to be a number of queries and concerns raised within the community regarding the use of litter trays at West Monmouth School. I would like to take this opportunity to assure you that we do not and will not be planning on providing any litter trays at school.

Whilst we are an inclusive and welcoming school, we do not make any provision for any pupils who might identify as an animal of any kind. This kind of behaviour is not acceptable at school and as such, no provision is in place at school, such as litter trays.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further queries.

Kind regards,
Claire Hughes
Deputy Headteacher

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Woke movement softens school rules on distracting students self-identifying as cats

Woke movement softens school rules on distracting students self-identifying as cats
Woke movement softens school rules on distracting students self-identifying as cats. Myrie can’t comprehend it. Screenshot.

Myrie on TikTok is a smart cookie. I have never seen her before but I was rummaging around the internet looking for a follow up on the current story of young female students self-identifying as cats. I want to know what’s behind it. Is this a genuine mental health problem or kids having some fun or something in-between the two?

Thus far I have not found an answer to that question. My personal view is that shaky mental health underpins the desire to pretend to be a cat rather than a human. It is as if the girls are dissatisfied with being human; with being themselves. It seems to be linked to the increase in self-harming by young students and the increase in suicidal thoughts of young students. The published stats are shocking.

In the US, the Jed Foundation, for instance, reports: “26.9% of teens aged 12-17 have one or more mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral problems (NSCH, 2019)”. There are many other equally shocking stats. What are the adults doing about it? Not much.

There is a crisis in the classroom, in the minds of kids. They don’t like what they see; the world created by the grown-ups.

In line with a general waning of self-discipline and a slackening of society’s rules, it seems to me that the woke movement has encouraged the idea of young students self-identifying as cats and other animals.

And Myrie makes the point very ably (link to her TikTok page). She says that in her day (and I would agree) the rules regarding distracting behavior at school were a lot stricter.

She refers to the Australian version of kids self-identifying as cats which happened last year. There, in the school concerned, they allowed it to happen provided it was not ‘distracting’ to other students. How can it not be distracting? That’s the point. The rules were too slack.

You are sitting next to a girl wearing cat ears who only responds to questions from the teacher with a meow! Common sense tells us that girls pretending to be cats in the classroom cannot be allowed. But at the same time the phenomenon needs to be dealt with sensitively and the cause isolated. We need to get into the heads of the kids. Are they simply challenging the teacher’s authority in a cynical way knowing that the woke, snowflake world will allow it?

Back in the old days when I was a student, we all sat at desks facing the teacher and kept quiet. It would have been impossible at that time to self-identify as a cat. It just would not have happened. Over the past 150 years there has been a dumbing down in schools and a weakening of rules.

Myrie mentions that she was not allowed to wear shorts that were a certain distance above the knee and her hair could not be too brightly coloured; much stricter rules regarding distracting behavior which can undermine learning.

She thinks the current situation is incomprehensible. I tend to agree but there is a serious problem here which the grown-ups are not addressing. And we mustn’t forget the role parents play in this behavior. Too many endorsing it or allowing it to develop. The parents’ behavior places an added burden on teachers who have to take on the role of parents in the classroom which is untenable.

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How would you respond if your child wanted to identify as a cat?

There is a bit of a crisis in UK’s secondary schools over some students wishing to self-identify as cats or other animals. It happened in the United States a while ago and in Australia. There was a furore over it with claim and counterclaim. In the UK the school in question, Rye Collage, has denied allegations that one of their pupils self-identified as a cat. But the ‘problem’ is rumbling on. The Department of Education is investigating and Rye College said yesterday that it had met the department over the matter.

Pupil identifying as a cat in the classroom causing great difficulties for the teacher and disrupting education
Pupil identifying as a cat in the classroom causing great difficulties for the teacher and disrupting education. Image: DALLE-E

There is troubling secondary matter concerning a recording of a teacher admonishing a pair of pupils for having the opinion that gender is about biological sex (about anatomy). The teacher strongly disagreed and told the pair that they were ‘despicable’ for having those opinions. This feeds into the hugely difficult discussion about trans people and whether gender is binary (one of two options) or whether there is a spectrum of genders.

That’s another discussion best avoided! But here, on this page, I’d like readers (if there are any!) to tell me in a comment how they’d respond to their child identifying as a cat. I’d like that because British schools are asking the Department of Education for guidance. They want help on what teachers should do when a child identifies as an animal.

I’ll throw my hat into the ring. I am old-fashioned. I believe that when kids do this they are having fun or they are stressed in being human and want to temporarily opt out.

I’d ask a professional such as a psychiatrist to talk to the child to get to the bottom of the matter; to find out why. You’ve got to get to the underlying reason. Is it something frivolous or is it something more serious which needs psychriatric help?

But I do believe that pupils should not identify as a cat or any other animal. They need to face reality as a human to prepare themselves for adult life which can be tough at times. Opting out in becoming a cat is similar to taking mind altering drugs to escape reality.

It is not good. It is also disruptive of class work and it places teachers in an invidious situation requiring sensitivity at a time when the woke movement has already placed extra sensitivity demands on teachers.

The majority of British secondary teachers are women. Arguably they are more sensitive in their approach to this problem but this may make dealing with the issue more problematic and complicated.

Why are some Australian schoolgirls identifying as cats?

School accused of installing cat litter trays for students who identify as ‘furries’

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UK students are allowed to identify as cats, horses and dinosaurs!

NEWS AND VIEWS-UK: This is another episode in an ongoing trend concerning students – I believe to be relatively young students – who want to self-identify as animals and to want to be addressed as such to the point where one student at one secondary school in the UK answered questions in class by meowing rather than in the conventional way of the English language. Is this trend linked to the stresses felt by modern-day students particularly girls? I think it is. There is an increase in self-harming and suicidal thoughts among school kids. I think they want to opt out and becoming an animal achieves that goal. The adults are creating a world that is disliked by kids.

Are kids just messing around and fantasising about being a different animal (to the human-animal) or is there something more serious going on? I think it has serious connotations particularly as some teachers are supporting it. It can disrupt the classroom. The fact that teachers appear to be supporting this weird is unsettling. The Dail Mail article implies that it is mainly (or exclusively) girls who want to be furries. The boys find it weird.

Meow - students identify as animals
Meow – students identify as animals in the UK. Image: MikeB

The Times reports that secondary school pupils are being allowed to self-identify as animals including, as mentioned, as a cat, a horse and even a dinosaur. As is it endorsed by teachers the students have to accept it. It appears to be linked to non-binary self-identification as one girl identified as a male cat and has taken the name ‘kit’. She wants to be addressed as male. This feeds into the non-binary gender arguments.

This is disrupting the classroom. In one example a pupil at a secondary school in South West England insisted on being addressed as a dinosaur as reported by The Daily Telegraph.

Pupil identifying as a cat in the classroom causing great difficulties for the teacher and disrupting education
Pupil identifying as a cat in the classroom causing great difficulties for the teacher and disrupting education. Image: DALLE-E

RELATED: How would you respond if your child wanted to identify as a cat?

Another insisted on being addressed and identified as a horse. The female student who self-identifies as a cat is at a state secondary school in Wales in Year II. It is said that she “feels very discriminated against if you do not refer to them as ‘catself'”.

It’s reported that “When they answer questions, they meow rather than answer a question in English. And the teachers are not allowed to get annoyed about this because it’s seen as discriminating.”

The pupil who reported this added:

“It’s affecting other people and their education and everybody in their lessons. It’s distracting to sit in their lesson and have someone meow to a teacher rather than answer in English, especially at secondary school age.”

The story came to light after Dame Priti Patel now sitting in the House of Lords and a former Home Secretary accused an academy of left-wing indoctrination. The accusation came about because a teacher told a pupil that she would “go to a different school” because she rejected the idea that a classmate could identify as a cat.

That implies that some teachers are supporting students self-identify as a cat. There appears to be quite a woke movement in British schools. I would argue that this undermines education. It lowers standards. It creates a looseness and a lack of self-discipline in the classroom. Secondary school education requires self-discipline.

There is a secret recording of a year eight class at Rye College in which the teacher tells a girl student that she is “really despicable”. She told her that she was “very sad”. The criticism was made because the girl believed that gender is binary. The teacher said that she would report the pupil to a senior colleague. She said that the girl needed a “proper educational conversation about equality, diversity and inclusion.”

Patel believes that there is a left-wing indoctrination of young people at school which needs to be stamped out. She said that the “government must put the rights of parents first.”

The school concerned is reviewing its processes.

The government’s Department for Education will not do anything about this specifically but will rely upon teachers to apply common sense and deal with it in the classroom.

A little while ago a story emerged from North America about students identifying as animals which went viral. It’s the kind of story that does go viral because it looks very odd to the older generation who are used to sitting in class facing the teacher who lectures them.

The modern ways sometimes baffle the elderly. It’s been found, to the best of my knowledge, that the old-fashioned more self-discipline way of learning by rote can, when appropriate, be more effective in preparing children for adult life. You get better results in exams and the mind is trained to a higher standard. There’s a place for the old-fashioned way of teaching and it is argued that this modern liberal, laissez-faire M.O. is undermining standards.

There is an update on this story in The Times Wednesday, June 21, 2023. The Times reports that British government ministers are planning to start an investigation. There are student safety concerns. Gillian Keegan, the education secretary, ordered the enquiry. There are concerns about a teacher rebuking a child in a secret recording. It’s mentioned on this page. The student is described as ‘despicable’ by the teacher and sad for having gender binary beliefs. A source close to Keegan told The Telegraph:

“Teachers should not be teaching contested ideology as fact. They must have due regard to safeguarding if a pupil identifies as an animal.”

Apparently, the regional director of the Department of Education in the south-east will visit the school concerned, Rye College, to find out if any pupil’s safety is at risk.

Michelle Dewberry of GB News mocked the situation by wearing cat gear and saying that ‘No child is a cat and to suggest they are is absurd.’

Michelle Dewberry on GB News mocking the concept of kids self-identifying as cats and other animals
Michelle Dewberry on GB News mocking the concept of kids self-identifying as cats and other animals. People apparently agree with her. Image: Screenshot from GN News video.

Here’s Piers Morgan’s take on this. He is right-wing and would obviously mock it. He makes good points though as he usually does. He says pupils who become furries should be given Whiskas cat food for lunch and a litter tray instead of access to the toilets.

20 facts about cats in children’s literature

The education secretary has weighed in and said that it is obviously silly for kids to pretend to be cats or other animals.

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Dissecting cats in high school

I was not sure if high schools in America or any other country for that matter still dissect domestic, stray or feral cats. I thought that dissecting the bodies of shelter cats had gradually phased out but apparently not. My research indicates that it still happens in American high schools and there are suppliers of cat bodies today. And there are some big arguments about why it is a bad idea to use the bodies of domestic, stray or feral cats in high school anatomy classes.

Still happens – video

The video below comes from TikTok and it must be fairly recent because TikTok hasn’t been around that long. Here we have what appears to be an American – but I can’t be sure in which country the girl lives – telling the world that she has recently dissected a cat. The strong indication is that this is in America. There’s also a video online, which was made in 2010 of a school anatomy and pathology class incorporating dissection. I’m surprised that the video has not been deleted as I would argue it is out of step with modern thinking. It is captioned “The first of two days dissecting cats in Ms. Murchie’s Anatomy Honors class at Gulf High School.”

PETA info.

PETA have an article about cats in laboratories. I don’t see a date on their article which is irritating to me because all articles should be dated. This is because attitudes can change fairly rapidly. However, they say that more than 19,000 cats are abused in US laboratories every year-“in addition to the tens of thousands who are killed and sold to schools for cruel and crude classroom dissections”. They go on the state that annually in the US an estimated 20 million animals are abused for cruel “archaic teaching exercises despite the existence of superior non-animal teaching tools”.

They state that about half of these animals are used for classroom dissection and the others are “tormented while they are still alive in classroom biology and psychology experiments”.

I can’t show the dissection of a cat on this page as there are adverts. If you want to see it, please click the link below. I must say it is unpleasant and demeaning of the cat. It is insulting to treat cats this way. It must stop.

Students learn anatomy by dissecting cats

Suppliers

They tell us that biological supply houses breed animals to supply schools. One of those appears to be Carolina Biological Supply Company in North Carolina. They sell formalin preserved cats for between $62 and $124. If you want the cat skinned then you pay a bit more. We do not know the source of these cats. Perhaps they are from shelters or they are stray cats or they breed the cats themselves.

I’d be surprised if they breed the cats themselves because it would take too long to obtain enough adult cats. They very probably get them from shelters. If they are supplied by shelters it is unethical because it will encourage euthanasia at shelters in order to make money in selling the dead bodies to these sorts of businesses. This completely goes against the declared aims and goals of animal shelters. Carolina Biological Supply Company state that they are currently in difficulty in obtaining supplies of preserved cats. They are getting them but the supply is limited and therefore you should book early.

One website tells us that the dealers in cat bodies buy them cheaply from, for example, shelters and sell them on at a very healthy markup to schools and other purchasers. They state that they acquire the cats from animal dealers, pounds, auctions, private breeders, ‘free to good home’ ads and so on. It appears that sometimes they acquire cats from dealers in Mexico. It is documented that they sell lost, stray or abandoned cats from streets and shelters to American biological supply companies. Sometimes microchips are found in these bodies.

There have been some uncomfortable incidents at school. In one incident, a number of years ago, students at an Oklahoma high school made their cat cadavers dance in an inhumane video which was widely circulated on the Internet. As I recall, it led to the ending of cat dissection at that school.

RELATED: Students Dancing With Dead Cats.

Student aversion to dissection

The major problem with dissecting cats is that it can put high school students off biological sciences for life. It seems that many high school students have not developed the necessary mindset to regard dead animals as objects. They see them as deceased cat companions; pets. They are often animal lovers. They might want to become a veterinarian or a doctor. Sometimes these dissection classes can put them off pursuing their career.

A friend of one student said that the dissection class convinced her not to go into medicine. A study found that up to 25% of secondary students object to dissection. A 2000 Society & Animals study involved interviewing North Carolina high school students while they were dissecting and their conclusion was that the activity “bolstered their convictions that they were not suited for a career in biology or the health sciences”.

Some students refuse to attend a dissection class or drop the science class. It might be fair to say that female students are more inclined to be put off by these dissection classes. They sometimes conflict with the interest in science and their desire to “help people, animals, plants or the Earth” (study dated 1995 and Journal of Research in Science Teaching).

Students who are ambivalent about dissecting animals including cats are sometimes pressured by the teacher to do it. It seems to me that speciesism is an issue here. If they are told to dissect a frog, this is a wild animal and therefore there is less of a personal connection. If you are told to dissect a cat that looks like your neighbour’s cat companion, they are dissecting what could have been a pet.

Constructive speciesism

I think this is a major issue here. Personally, I believe that all animal dissection class should be stopped. Certainly, with respect to cats. It is not part of the agreement between humans and cats that humans can kill them to cut them up to educate kids. The deal that we have with cats on their domestication is to look after them and they keep us company and entertain us. Humans are in breach of the deal if they use them in anatomy and pathology classes.

Alternatives

There are alternatives such as lifelike manufactured frogs. This is called the SynFrog. It is said that you can “extract the same exact anatomical information without having to harm a living organism” from this plastic frog. And it must be much more acceptable to students. And there is such a thing as “digital dissection” which, as it implies, it is a non-destructive method in which students can interact with data in 3 dimensions without dealing with real cadavers.

An alternative to dissecting cat cadavers
An alternative to dissecting cat cadavers. It cost around $50. Yes, not as good as a real body but possibly good enough and far more ethical.

Do we need real dissection?

I am not even sure that students need to learn dissection of animals before commencing training to be a doctor. And if they want to become a surgeon, they can practice their skills on a human cadaver. It’s time to stop this out-of-date practice of cutting up animals particularly cats. Cats are too close to humans on an emotional level as pets to embark on dissecting them.

Below are some pages on animal testing.

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Why are some Australian schoolgirls identifying as cats?

In late January of this year, I wrote about a school in America that was accused of installing cat litter trays for students who were identifying themselves as furries (see link below). There was a bit of an uproar about it. It seems that this need by some schoolchildren to identify as an animal, in this case a cat or fox, is infectious because we now have a story about Brisbane private school students following suit.

Brisbane Girls Grammar School
Brisbane Girls Grammar School. Photo: M3 Architecture.

RELATED: School accused of installing cat litter trays for students who identify as ‘furries’

A handful of girls at Brisbane Girls Grammar School have decided to identify as cats or foxes. The big question is why? A psychologist suggested that they might want to arrest their development into adulthood. Or perhaps they are under stress and this is a manifestation of that emotion. And the challenge, according to another psychologist, is how to deal with it.

In that previous post the school was accused of demeaning students by providing them with litter trays. It was mickey-taking, perhaps to shame them into stopping identifying as furries.

At Brisbane Girls Grammar School girls have been seen preening themselves and licking the backs of their hands. They even walk around with their arms hanging towards the ground as if they are on all fours.

RELATED: Animal Symbolism: The Jaguar

On one occasion a girl went to sit at a spare desk and another girl screamed at her for sitting on her tail. There was a slit in the girl’s uniform where the imaginary tail passed through.

Is this another form of the woke movement? We just don’t know. Brisbane psychologist Judith Locke said that it was only a matter of time before people began to identify as animals because they are romanticised in films, television and books.

Cat furries and other animal furries are fighting with the police on the NPA Twitter feed
Cat furries and other animal furries are fighting with the police on the NPA Twitter feed. Pic in public domain.

The problem should be addressed if it disrupts schooling. As mentioned, the real problem here is how to deal with it psychologically and with the girl’s mental health in mind? Does the school accept it as a passing phase which the children enjoy? Perhaps it makes them feel better and if so, why stop it if it is harmless? Or, is there something more sinister going on?

RELATED: Animal Symbolism: Domestic Cat

We know that in the modern age schoolchildren appeared to suffer from more stress than they did in the past. The world has become more challenging. The future looks more difficult. Covid didn’t help and now we have Ukraine invasion which creates an enormous uncertainty in the minds of everybody. The question is will there be a World War 3? This preys on people’s minds. For a child it is going to have a bigger effect because they don’t have the experience to deal with these strong emotions.

I know that self-harming by schoolchildren in the UK has risen. There is an alarming percentage of school children, mainly girls, in the UK who self-harm. Schoolchildren mental health problems and issues are constantly on the agenda.

My impression is that a child acts out as an animal and becomes a furry as a coping mechanism. It takes the child out of the human form into the form of an animal which helps to remove themselves from what is causing the stress and distress. That is my amateur psychiatrist’s viewpoint. I can’t be sure but my gut feeling tells me that my thoughts have some validity.

Note: the school looks very impressive. Clearly a high standard school where achievement is encouraged.

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Secondary school is now home to a stray cat adopted by the 623 students who attend

Namik Kemal Secondary School, located in Eskisehir, Northern Cyprus, is now home to a stray cat, who has been adopted by the 623 students who attend.


cat at school
screenshot Getty Images

The one-year-old cat was named after the school and even has a student ID card listing the school as the owner of ‘Namik.’ In an interview with Turkish media Anadolu Agency, school principal Enes Gunay said Namik was only going to stay at the school until the harsh winter in Eskisehir had passed.

Not only has Namik refused to leave a warm, safe new home, but the students and school administration also raised the money to have Namik ‘vetted.’ Veterinarian Adem Musluk said he’s happy the students love Namik and that the cat isn’t a threat to human health.

school cat
Namik in class (Getty screenshot)

It’s not uncommon to find Namik lounging around on desks and students say they don’t have an issue with the cat. If anything, caring for Namik will enhance their learning while teaching the students the basics in animal care and in being compassionate toward cats.

A sweet video of Namik wandering the classroom can be found here.

Source 1

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22,000 toothpicks create a cat picture

A high school in the Chiba Prefecture of Japan created a large picture (sculpture?) of the head of a white cat using 22,000 toothpicks.

Cat portrait created with 22000 toothpicks
Cat portrait created with 22000 toothpicks. Screenshot

It was a large undertaking which took 5 months of work and a scientific and well organised approach. It works well.

Simply click on the video to get it started and hear the soundtrack. Click on it to stop it.

What did the students learn from this exercise? Well, I can’t discover the official answer to that question. Teamwork must be an important part of the project. Learning design skills and visualisation must also be in the mix. And I guess you’d learn a bit about the anatomy of the domestic cat. I would also mean really looking at the subject matter and seeing the shadows and highlights etc..

It is nice that they decided to represent a cat.

Where is Chiba Prefecture?

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