Payson police investigate threats after viral ‘furry’ outrage at Mt. Nebo Middle School

Apr 22, 2024, 7:39 PM | Updated: Apr 23, 2024, 6:55 am

PAYSON Payson police are investigating serious threats against school officials and even students in the Nebo School District. 

Those threats are related to a protest over alleged “furries” in school last week. 

The threats were made early Friday morning in an email sent to several Utah media outlets.

Payson police said they’re taking all threats seriously, but so far they haven’t tracked down who is behind them. The threats came after a student walk-out last week, where students protested allegations of kids “acting like animals” and “biting other students.” The Nebo School District said Thursday it had no evidence those things were happening. 

One mother, whose daughter is at the center of one of those viral posts, told KSL TV her daughter has worn a mask to school in the past, but she’s no furry. She said that after the school administration asked kids to stop doing it, her daughter stopped.

She has now pulled her daughter from school though over the bullying she said her daughter is still experiencing. 

“(Kids) are saying ‘I identify as a hunter so…yea they’re (saying they are) going to go hunt furries at school,” Alicia said. 

KSL has chosen not to further identify the mother or her daughter but they spoke together to recount what has been happening. 

Alicia said this whole situation started after a parent made a post in a Payson community group making allegations about “furries” in Mt. Nebo Middle School. 

The post alleges that kids dressing as “furries” were “running up and down the halls on all fours barking at other students,” wrote Kjerstyn Pledger in the Payson News and Goings On Facebook group.

Being targeted

But Alicia said her daughter and her five friends were being “targeted” because they like to wear animal masks at school. 

“This is a game they like to play. She likes to fit in with her friends,” she said. ”I know that her friends are making those masks and they’re very, very proud of them. It wasn’t ever she was confused about her identity. It was just something that her a hobby that her friends had, and they like to share that together at school,” Alicia said. 

Another video being shared as proof of furries, shows a girl in a yellow shirt barking at other students. Alicia and her daughter said that video is of a separate group – not her daughter and her friends – while at recess. Alicia said the version that’s being shared online has been cut off before you can see the friends laughing. 

”It doesn’t look like to me it’s an attack. It looks like a game,” she said.

Alicia said all this attention to her daughter has been unwelcome. 

“It targeted a group of kids that are already very different and already being targeted. And there was nothing to substantiate the claims of assault,” she said. 

“To me, if you have to manipulate your evidence to say something that matches your agenda, I do not like your agenda,” Alicia said. 

Pledger declined an on-camera interview but sent the following statement on Facebook. 

“The walkout alone proves that these kids do not like this type of behavior or bullying. And when they have tried to bring it to administration or they have tried to put a stop to it they can’t so their only way of doing something about it is to stage protest. Chasing kids and barking at them is not really playing a game, especially if those other kids are not playing with you. My son has been complaining about this all year. Kids rubbing up against him, scratching him, without his consent. He gets in trouble when he tells them to stop. Along with hundreds of other kids having the same issue as my son. Dress code needs to be enforced. Kids should not be forced to act like these type of behaviors are normal and forced to accept things. No one should be forced to accept something that they do not believe is true. Everyone should be kind, yes. But that doesn’t mean they have to be forced to accept something.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Quinn McKay, second from the left, was a Marine in World War II in a unit that suffered heavy casua...

Mike Anderson

Utah veterans think of friends while preparing for honor flight

Monday was a special Memorial Day for more than 70 Utah war veterans who are preparing for an honor flight Tuesday.

7 hours ago

Police are searching for shooters who they say fired at another car while fleeing an alleged robber...

Andrew Adams

Police seek suspects after shots fired, crash in Sandy neighborhood

Police on Monday were looking for suspects following shots that were fired and a crash that took place close to a high-density housing development.

7 hours ago

Nine people have been displaced following a house fire Monday evening in Payson. (Payson Fire Depar...

Mark Jones

9 people displaced in Payson house fire, no injuries reported

Nine people have been displaced following a house fire Monday evening in Payson.

8 hours ago

A Memorial Day gathering marked the heartwarming end to what started as an upsetting story in the G...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Restored headstone vandalized at Grantsville Cemetery unveiled on Memorial Day

A Memorial Day gathering marked the heartwarming end to what started as an upsetting story in the Grantsville Cemetery. Months after historic headstones were found broken and destroyed, one extended family came together with reason to celebrate. 

10 hours ago

The exterior of the Wells Ward building in Salt Lake City's Liberty Wells neighborhood on Saturday....

Mark Jones and Shelby Lofton

Neighbors say Wells Ward meetinghouse was left in disrepair for years before fire

A nearly 100-year-old church is set to be demolished after a fire Sunday morning left it in ruins.

10 hours ago

With the unofficial start to the summer here, that means more Utah families will be going out for a...

Brianna Chavez

Officials remind swimmers to be cautious before stepping foot in water this summer

With the unofficial start to the summer here, that means more Utah families will be going out for a swim. But aquatics officials are urging anyone who gets in the pool or open water to be cautious.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Payson police investigate threats after viral ‘furry’ outrage at Mt. Nebo Middle School