Just The Facts: Student Litter Box + Rainbow Fentanyl Halloween Candy | Across America, US Patch

2022-10-08 12:47:07 By : Mr. ydel ydel

ACROSS AMERICA — If not for what fact-checkers call the political agenda behind it, it would be easy to laugh off a claim making the rounds that some of America’s school districts are putting litter boxes in school restrooms and making other accommodations for students who identify as “furries.”

The claim that children are pawing around in litter boxes and doing what other kids take care of in toilets is outlandish on its face. It dates back to at least last December 2021, when a woman addressing a school board in Michigan said at least one school in her town had a “litter box for kids that identify as cats.”

The school district put out a public statement debunking the story, something the superintendent said he was astonished at having to do. School officials in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Indiana and New York did the same when the story surfaced in their districts. Politicians have advanced the idea as well, including a Nebraska state senator and two lawmakers from Minnesota.

These stories and others like them are false. That’s according to fact-checkers with PolitiFact, Verfiy, Snopes and The Associated Press, who point out they circulate in conservative state culture wars and legislative action involving gender identification in schools.

“Furry” fandom is real. The word itself is evolving. Once exclusively used as an adjective meaning “consisting of fur,” according to Merriam-Webster, it now can be used to describe “people who have a keen interest in, or even dress up as, anthropomorphic animal characters, like those often seen in comics, games and cartoons.”

However, Keenan Crow, the director of policy and advocacy at the LGBTQ advocacy group One Iowa, told the Iowa Capital Dispatch that “the real goal with comparing furries to trans people and bringing up stuff like this is, one, to make fun of furries and say, ‘Oh, aren’t they so silly.’ ”

“And ‘Oh, by the way, transgender identities are just as silly as this. And we should reject the request of a transgender student to use the restroom that matches their gender identity, in the same way that we should reject a student request to use a litter box, ’’ Crow said.

Here are three more things you may have seen or heard on social media:

The claim: Retired NBA superstar Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who has HIV, “donated some of his blood to the Red Cross to help underprivileged communities help fight COVID-19,” according to a photo that appears to show Johnson giving blood.

That’s false. FactCheck said the image was pulled from a 2012 PBS documentary, “Endgame: AIDS in Black America,” in which Johnson discussed his diagnosis. Johnson’s doctor was drawing blood from the basketball legend to conduct tests that would inform his treatment plan.

Johnson, or anyone else with HIV/AIDS, can’t donate blood for any medical reason, according to American Red Cross policy.

The false claim was so widely shared that Johnson addressed it in a tweet in August. “I’m aware of the false story circulating on the internet, and to be clear, I have never donated blood,” Johnson wrote.

The claim: Parents need to inspect their children’s Halloween candy to make sure drug dealers haven’t slipped rainbow fentanyl into their candy bucket.

That’s doubtful. Candy-colored fentanyl is real, the drug cartels peddling it are targeting young Americans, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Cartels are monitoring kids’ social media; they aren’t using trick-or-treat night as an opportunity to hook unsuspecting kids, according to Snopes.

“We found no credible, fact-based warning about rainbow fentanyl being handed out to trick-or-treaters on Halloween,” according to the site. “Nevertheless, parents and kids are advised to exercise due caution with their Halloween candy this year, or any year.”

The story offers a twist on “old scarelore” that black-hearted Halloween haters poison kids’ candy, the site said. The story has circulated for years, but the site said police have never documented a case of people handing out poison candy for Halloween.

The claim: Publishers Clearing House mails out postcards and letters with activation codes.

That’s true. It’s also true that Publishers Clearing House scams are ubiquitous. Here’s how to tell if you’ve received the real deal: The mail will have codes to enter the sweepstakes, but will never ask for money to claim a prize or tell them they’ve won a prize. “

“If it is not free, it is not from the real Publishers Clearing House,” a spokesman for the company told Verify. “If a card, letter, email or contact claims to be from PCH, but is requiring you to send any money to claim a prize, DO NOT RESPOND. At PCH, the winning is always free!”

“Just The Facts” is a Patch feature sorting truth from fiction in various claims made on social media and other places. Among our sources:

Many of those sites allow users to submit claims they’ve seen on the internet for verification.

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