Photos Emerge of Utah Middle School Students Dressed as Animals amid ‘Furries’ Controversy

Furry enthusiasts attend the Eurofurence 2015 conference on August 21, 2015 in Berlin, Ger
Adam Berry/Getty Images

Photos emerged showing middle school students in Utah dressed in animal gear — or what some describe as “furries” — after the Nebo School District denied such behavior was taking place following a high-profile walkout, which featured students and adults protesting.

Students and adults at Mt. Nebo Middle School in Payson, Utah, staged a walkout protest on Wednesday over allegations of “furries” at school, some of whom were accused of “biting, scratching, spraying air freshener on, barking at, and chasing other students,” according to local news outlets.

There was a petition that coincided with the protest titled “Students for Humans at School, not animals aka furries.” It called for the administration to “start enforcing section 3.1.8 of the district policies dress code” and as of Friday, it amassed more than 2,300 signatures.

However, the school district pushed back, asserting the claims were false. Nebo School District spokesperson Seth Sorenson denied that students wore full animal costumes and expressed the belief that the protest was sparked by a message from the school district that was not interpreted correctly. However, photos have emerged on social media, showing the protesters’ concerns were not totally unwarranted.

One image, for example, appears to show a student in a full head mask, and others show students with animal masks lifted above their faces:

Further, some of the photos suggest the issue is occurring in other schools as well:

The school district appears to maintain that this was nothing more than incidents involving students wearing animal ears. Kelsey James, spokeswoman for the Utah State Board of Education, said they sent a letter to families reminding them of the dress code. It states that “jewelry, accessories, tattoos, hair, facial hair and other elements of a student’s appearance that draw undue attention, distract, disrupt, or otherwise interfere with the learning atmosphere at school or at school activities and events, or that create a health, safety, or welfare issue are prohibited.”

According to KSL, the letter also “addressed the food throwing targeted at the headband-wearing students, saying that a ‘written, verbal or a physical act that creates a hostile, threatening, humiliating, or abusive environment is not permitted.'”


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