Great Bend High School Principal Tim Friess has heard the urban legend making the rounds across the nation and now in Barton County. For several weeks now, he’s been fielding questions from parents who heard the school is making accommodations for students who identify as animals – or “furries” – going so far as to add litter boxes in the restrooms.
That’s not happening here, Friess said this week.
There are no kids that identify as animals during the school day that Friess is aware of.
“I’ve been asked that question multiple times in the last couple of months.” There are also no litter boxes in the restrooms, “nor will there be on my watch,” he said.
Friess is aware that the false rumor has been circulating on the internet for more than a year.
“It’s the old Telephone Game,” he said. One person hears the story and passes it on to someone else. By the time the story has gone through multiple people, it has taken on a life of its own.
For the record, he answered the Great Bend Tribune’s questions about recent versions of the rumor for GBHS.
• Are there any kids at GBHS that identify as animals? “In this building, no,” he said.
“Anything I say is what I know, but we don’t allow those things.”
• Was a student disciplined for growling at a “furry,” even though the student who identifies as an animal responded in kind by hissing and was NOT disciplined?
Friess said he hasn’t seen any discipline referrals from the vice principals of that nature.
“The assistant superintendents (Daryl Moore andp Wilson Ki) do a lot of investigation on ‘bullying’ reports,” he said. “They do a good job.”
• Are students wearing animal ears or tails in school?
“I haven’t seen ears,” Friess said. The school dress code specifically says tails are not allowed. This was added several years ago, at a time when students were wearing tails. He also recalled a time circa 2005 when a student wanted wear a colander on his head for a school photo. Hats and caps are also not allowed, per the dress code.
The school does allow certain clothing items for special occasions, such as “spirit days.”
“Hats, caps and tails must not be worn in the building,” according to the Great Bend High School dress code in the student handbook. Here is the complete entry:
All clothing must be in good taste.
Jackets, belt buckles, T-shirts, sweatshirts, and all other articles of clothing may not have lettering, slogans, trademarks, pictures, or advertisements which are inappropriate, suggestive, or obscene. This specifically prohibits students from wearing messages that relate to drugs, alcohol, tobacco, weapons, violence, sex, or vulgarity or messages that reflect adversely upon persons because of their race or their ethnic or religious group. The guidelines apply to apparel worn at school, in physical education classes, at athletic practices, and on trips with school clubs and organizations. Apparel and clothing containing printed or visual messages which are inappropriate in a school setting will necessitate a change of clothing or may be a cause for suspension proceedings. Hats, caps and tails must not be worn in the building.
Appropriate footwear shall be worn.