The student allegedly has permission to act like a feline and be non-verbal in class, so long as her behaviour does not distract other youngsters at the private school.

A school is reportedly supporting a “phenomenally bright” teen girl who identifies as a cat. The student allegedly has permission to act like a feline and be non-verbal in class, so long as her behaviour does not distract other youngsters at the private school in Melbourne, Australia.

While the school did not confirm the report, it said in a statement that pupils were displaying “a range of issues, from mental health, anxiety or identity issues”. According to the Mirror, it added: “Our approach is always unique to the student and we will take into account professional advice and the wellbeing of the student.”

An individual close to the girl’s family told the Herald Sun : “No one seems to have a protocol for students identifying as animals, but the approach has been that if it doesn’t disrupt the school, everyone is being supportive.”

It is one of a number of cases recently reported in Australia. In Brisbane, a group of four female students are said to have taken to walking on all fours and cutting holes in their uniforms to make room for tails.

It is believed they were identifying as either foxes or cats. Claims, denied by the school, included one from a parent who told the Courier Mail a girl had screamed at another student for “sitting on her tail”. It is not confirmed if the girls involved believe themselves to be part of the ‘furry’ subculture, in which people identify with animal traits.

Our Safer Schools explained: “The internet is a constantly changing global forum that is filled with many different types of communities. These communities often allow people to express themselves in a way that frees them from what they consider to be societal “norms.”

In recent years, with the explosive popularity of YouTubers and TikTokers, some members of these communities have taken to popular platforms to widely showcase their subcultures. One of these subcultures is the Furry Fandom.”

People who identify this way can create a ‘fursona’, in which they show characteristics of the animals they identify with. Popular animals include dogs, cats, foxes, wolves, lions and tigers.

The subculture has a wide spectrum of different people and some choose to don their fursona in private, rather than in public. Fur Science said they found “furries were significantly more likely to have a history of being physically and verbally bullied.”

They added: “The more strongly a person identifies as a furry, the more likely they are to feel that they are treated worse by society for being furry. When seeking counselling or therapy for unrelated conditions, many furries report that they were driven away by therapists who ignored the problems they were experiencing.”

 

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