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Herald Sun story about schoolgirl identifying as a cat goes viral but lacks evidence

It's not the first time such a story has gone viral online.

The Herald Sun has claimed that "students are being allowed to act out animal identities in schools in a bid to support their mental health needs," in an article that's gone viral - but is there any proof?

The piece from Susie O'Brien claimed that a Year 8 student at a Melbourne private school "identifies as a cat, and as long as she does her school work, the school is supporting her assumed identity."

"Although she is “phenomenally bright”, she is understood not to be verbal at school."

The article's only proof was "a source close the family," who said that "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."

The school was not named, but the piece has made its way around social media - being picked up by United Australia Party senator Ralph Babet & former Conservatives senator Cory Bernardi among many others.

Earlier this year, another News Corp paper - the Courier Mail - reported on cat-identifying students at Brisbane Girls Grammar (something the Herald Sun article mentioned in their article, saying "the school did not corroborate the account") which was debunked by the ABC's Media Watch at the time.

And in January, it was claimed that a Michigan school provided litter boxes for students identifying as cats, something also debunked.


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