Recently, it came out that the governor’s race has started talking about “furries” and supposed issues in our schools. I read a story, printed by our west partners, and listened to a radio interview regarding the supposed problems with kids dressing like cats and dogs or barking and meowing in classrooms.
In a local radio show interview last week, Lindsay Datko of the supposedly private Facebook group Jeffco Kids First was interviewed, talking about how kids dressed as “furries” are disrupting classes. How parents need to be worried, and intervention is needed.
She also talked about how they have received the support of GOP candidate for governor Heidi Ganahl. Apparently, Ganahl agrees that the distractions these issues are causing in schools is a problem.
I have to admit, Datko hit all the right pressure points for me as a parent. I started nodding in agreement as she said our kids deserve to learn, need a place without distractions and should be in a safe environment. I came away wondering if issues are facing my children in their school district.
I assigned our Douglas County reporter to check into it.
However, as with everything, its just not that simple. As I did more research, talking to our reporters and read more stories — I can honestly say this is not a distraction parents need right now.
Datko was absolutely right when she pointed to our children and teens going through a full-on mental health crisis. They absolutely are. However, encouraging people to take pictures of children who behave or dress differently is nothing but a form of bullying that no kid deserves.
As a parent, I teach my children to be accepting and understanding. Sure, they may think something is different or strange, but it is not for them or me to judge. Our job is to be kind, good people and avoid creating more distractions because another student may be acting differently.
Kids can be mean enough without some parent group encouraging them to take pictures and post them on social media.
I am also disappointed that Ganahl ventured into this nonsense. That means incumbent Gov. Jared Polis also had to comment on it. The leader of our state should not be creating more distractions involving our children who are still trying to get back on track after the pandemic.
Here’s the bottom line, Datko is right — Our kids are going to school to learn. They deserve an environment as free of distractions as possible and the ability to retain and grow as people as much as possible.
However, creating more drama for our teachers and administrators to deal with, developing more scare tactics in the name of politics just does not work for me. The distractions from distractions is not responsible for parent groups or politicians.
Let the students grow, let the teachers teach and let school districts address issues as needed. Creating more distractions for all of them is just needless noise.
Thelma Grimes is the south metro editor for Colorado Community Media.