Social media claims of Banff Academy pupils identifying as cats and defecating on the floor are nothing more than “false rumours”, Aberdeenshire Council has said.
Posts on Facebook and Twitter have gone viral and captured the attention of the town since earlier this week.
Some pictures and a video showing what appears to be excrement on the floor of a toilet cubicle have appeared to support parts of the claims.
However today a spokesman for the local authority has condemned the chatter and categorically denied that there’s any truth to the local gossip.
He told the Press and Journal: “We are aware of false rumours circulating online suggesting that Banff Academy has pupils identifying as cats requesting litter trays in the Academy’s toilets.
“It is disappointing to see this rumour continue to spread, however, both Aberdeenshire Council and Banff Academy continue to focus on the well-being and education of our children and young people.”
Toilet cubicle video
A widely-shared video of excrement on the cubicle floor helped to fuel the rumours, along with posts on The Real Banff and Macduff Community Group Facebook page.
The Press and Journal has been able to confirm that cleaning staff at Banff Academy have at some point cleaned up faeces.
But a post on Facebook suggested that the incident was not linked with rumours of pupils identifying as cats and defecating on the floor in protest at not having litter trays.
The post said the depute head teacher Andrew Kilpatrick had confirmed “there are no litter trays” and that “the poop on the floor is not linked” but “an unrelated matter”.
The rumours appear to have gained traction after pupils at the school returned home and told their parents that youngsters were insisting on identifying as cats.
That even led to a couple of concerned parents contacting Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan David Duguid, asking him to get to the bottom of the situation.
Others have gone online to look for answers.
One man, who claimed to have a nephew at Banff Academy, posted on Facebook: “Can someone explain this whole cat thing i’m very confused.
“I have a nephew in that school and don’t feel comfortable letting him go back if there are students doing their bum business in litter trays.”
But a Twitter user said: “If you believe this nonsense story about Banff Academy, you’re an idiot”.
Other social media users have poked fun at the fake story.
James Robertson remarked: “Can’t believe whats going on at banff academy right meow”.
Debbie Ritchie tweeted investigative journalist Louis Theroux to suggest he makes a documentary about the north-east school, adding that it might be “worth a look”.
And someone else suggested that “PE will be a laugh at banff academy. Just c**** dressed like cats chasing laser pens aboot”.
Urban myth started in US
Other misinformation that has circulated in the community is the claim that the police have been made aware of the alleged situation concerning Banff Academy.
But Police Scotland has confirmed that it has not received any reports regarding “anything of that nature”.
Claims of litter boxes in schools are linked with a hoax that started in America as far back as 2021.
The urban myth has been spread by rhetoric from far-right political figures and media personalities.
In some cases, false accusations have been made in response to school districts responding to the needs of their transgender students.