The three conservative candidates for the Grand Ledge school board have earned themselves a nickname: the Kitty Litter Caucus.
That’s because two of them are pushing a discredited claim that the schools are providing litter boxes in school bathrooms for self-identifying “furries” to use.
Furries are a subculture of people who roleplay as anthropomorphized animal characters.
Conservative candidate Kim LaForet, a local real estate agent, has claimed in at least three board meetings that the schools were providing litter boxes for furry-identifying students. The district has denied the allegation.
“These were not rumors,” Laforet said during public comment at a Sept. 26 board meeting. “A Grand Ledge teacher informed us of the kitty litter incident but asked that we not use their name out of fear of retaliation.”
District spokesperson John Ellsworth denied the allegations by LaForet and fellow conservative candidate Jason Devenbaugh.
“I taught at the high school for 20 years,” he said. “Never, not once, was a litter box reported by students or faculty that I was aware of. In my five years at central office, I have only heard about the litter boxes, I believe, at public comment. We do not put litter boxes in the bathroom. And have not. Nor would we.”
LaForet first began accusing the district of putting kitty litter boxes in bathrooms on Feb. 14 during a school board meeting when she announced she was seeking a seat in the Nov. 8 election.
Three seats are up for election. The conservative slate of Devenbaugh and Ashley Oneil are seeking full six-year terms, and Kim Laforet is seeking a partial four-year term. They are running against incumbent Denise Dufort and Ashley Kuykendoll for the six-year slots and Toni Hughes Glascoe, who is seeking the four-year term.
LaForet made her first claim in the middle of February.
“I have heard about so many more things, including litter boxes in the bathrooms that were taken out afterwards for kids who identify as furries,” she said.
Board member Sara Clark-Pierson took a jab at LaForet at the end of the Feb. 14 meeting.
“I want to say, Kim LaForet, you are running for school board, and I congratulate you on that. But, my God, you just got completely pranked. That is absurd you were pranked by a bunch of internet silliness.”
LaForet attempted to defend herself and rushed the podium during Clark-Pierson’s comments, causing the chair to gavel her out of order.
But LaForet returned to the school board meeting Feb. 28 to double down on the claims. Devenbaugh, as well as his wife, stated during the meeting their daughter had been “barked” at by furries.
In the Sept. 26 meeting, LaForet called for a censure of Pierson-Clarke for continuing to point out LaForet was spreading false information about the schools by discussing the kitty litter box allegations. The board took no action on that call.
Pols in the Lansing community have taken to calling the conservative trio the Kitty Litter Caucus, said Adrian Hemond, CEO of Grassroots Midwest, a political consulting firm that is uninvolved in the Grand Ledge school race.
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