Mt. Nebo Middle School Faces Walkout Over Furries Policy

According to reports from several news agencies, students at Mt. Nebo Middle School in Payson, Utah, staged a walkout and protest. The protest arose after the school's alleged response—or lack thereof—to a petition demanding a stricter dress code. You can watch what appears to be a largely unedited version of the protest below that was published by Adam Bartholowmew on lifeisdriving on YouTube

Reason Behind the Protest

The protest was triggered by concerns over students who identify as furries. The petitioners requested enforcement of a dress code that emphasized more traditionally accepted attire, suggesting that the current policy allowed distractions that affected their learning environment.

Definition and Background: Furries

According to Wikipedia, 'the furry fandom is a subculture interested in anthropomorphic animal characters, which are depicted with human intelligence and behaviors, such as speaking and walking on two legs.'

Furries often express their identity through wearing animal-themed accessories like ears and tails, and in some cases, full costumes similar to sports mascots.

Students' Concerns

Students attending the protest claimed that the presence of furries not only distracts classmates but has led to physical incidents, including biting and scratching. They also stated that any retaliation or self-defense leads to expulsion. Protesting students argue that these behaviors disrupt the educational environment and that their pleas for a stricter dress code have been ignored, leading them to organize the walkout. Students participating in the protest walked just outside the school building holding signs and chanting "We the people, not the animals."

School's Response

School officials have responded by stating that the students' claims are exaggerated. They clarified that no student attends classes in full animal costumes, but some wear simple headbands with ears. They also mentioned that a recent message to parents, which called for 'patience and tolerance,' was misinterpreted. More details on the school's stance and the ongoing discussion can be found in this article by the Salt Lake Tribune.

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Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

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