LOCAL NEWS

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

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