1. What a super awesome learning experience for those kids. Jeez – I’D even like to see that! I never saw my placenta with my c-section baby, so when I had my VBAC I insisted that the doc let me see the placenta. He even held up the amniotic membrane for me to look at, though you can tell from the pictures that he doesn’t really understand why he’s showing it to me. Since they wouldn’t let me take pictures of the birth, the placenta pics are just about the closest thing have to any photographic evidence that a birth even took place.

    Next time, not only will I be looking at it, I’ll be encapsulating it and ingesting it as well!

  2. Wow, way to overreact parent. :( I would be totally psyched if my child had the opportunity like that!

  3. It is common for fire marshals to limit kids from hanging their own school and art work on walls or decorating classes for holidays and even limiting how many centers or materials can be in the classroom due to fire safety. Of course, I’m all for fire safety, but kids hanging snowflakes from the ceiling in their classes to celebrate winter, or hanging letters they wrote to each other on the wall as good writing examples are not quite the terrible fire risks that fire marshals might have us believe. The leaps people take in order to prevent possible lawsuits or news reports is a shame. I’m glad this teacher brought in a midwife to talk about placentas and how awesome they are.

  4. That’s really disappointing. I think that is an amazing opportunity for an elementary class. I hope my kids have opportunities like that some day. I think some parental notice would have been nice so parents who wanted to talk to their kids about what a placenta is and why women have them could do so in a way they would be comfortable with. However, if no notice had been given, I probably wouldn’t have thought much of it.

  5. It’s a great learning experience BUT we’re all about choices. If they’d be teaching a lesson about the dangers of homebirth (say for a family life class or something) I’m sure some of us would be a little upset. I think it’s a wonderful lesson but if there wasn’t a lab release signed at the beginning of the year, then there should have been a permission slip. The experience was given a shady air because of the lack of attention to detail.

  6. Perhaps we should ban gym class and recess, too, because what if someone scrapes a knee? Wait…our physical education programs are already a joke.

  7. I think we can all agree that giving up front notice is a good idea.

    HOWEVER, I fail to see what the big deal is. I remember dissecting animals in school, using razor blades. Yes, I was a few years older, but the danger in that seems higher. I agree that the upset is because it’s a placenta more than anything.

    I would be thrilled to have my own children participate in such an exercise. I think they would be very lucky to have this kind of hands-on experience, for sure.

  8. The fact that it’s a placenta doesn’t bother me at all, but I think a lab waiver or permission slip should be required before any classroom activities involving dissection or organs. In your post you mentioned dissecting owl pellets, and another commenter mentioned animal dissections. Unless I’m mistaken, activities like that all require parental notification and/or signed permission. If my child was going to see a human lung or heart, I would want to know ahead of time, and I don’t think a placenta is any different.

  9. Hmm. I really don’t see what the big deal is. My oldest is in kindergarten this year and I have been really surprised the kinds of things they do, see, and experience without any parental notification. But that is kindergarten, not 5th grade!

    I can totally see why this might warrant some kind of notification, or permission slip, but I really don’t think the upset would be quite so strong if it wasn’t a placenta. Honestly I think people are really quick to jump on things like this, but for things that really truly make a difference… nothing.

  10. Dear Crunchy Domestic Goddess~
    THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing this story!!! I live in Colorado as well and I provide Placenta Education and Encapsulation to expecting mothers. I had not heard of this story and it sure stirs up a mixture of emotions in me! Obviously, I believe that this type of learning is amazing and is such a unique opportunity for these kids! As I recall 5th grade is the ‘Growing and Changing’ grade and the placenta can be a perfect tool! Ironically, I was ‘that student’ that brought my sisters placenta to school when I was 16. We had the same awesome opportunity in our biology class as these students did in theirs. Maybe they were a little young. Maybe they should have had a permission slip.
    What is great is that the majority of parents supported this learning! I give praise to the teacher and to the midwife! Thank you for teaching these children about real life!

  11. Oh – and if you don’t mind I would love to share this story and blog post on my blog as well as with other Independent Placenta Service Professionals.

  12. The parents that objected to this science experiment, and then took their daughter to get tested, not once, but twice, makes me so sad for that little girl. Why would any parent want to instill fear in their child? We should be working to inspire creativity, curiosity, and a zest for life and learning in our children. The idea that the natural world is something gross, scary, and inappropriate is the source of many of our problems as a society today.

  13. I teach college science and think this would be an awesome demonstration for any students studying blood vessels. What an opportunity for these young learners! All necessary precautions were taken, and the children were not put at risk. I do think a lab release at the beginning of the year is a good idea, but the teacher and presenter obviously had a handle on the appropriate way to present this learning opportunity for the class.

    Instead of encouraging fascination and curiosity at the human body and science, this situation will probably foster more anxiety and fear. Might as well have told that little girl that “girls don’t do math” because she won’t be inquisitive about the human body – or probably much else – after that.

    So sad.

    I’ll try to refrain from a tirade on the obvious lack of science education on the part of the parents for thinking their daughter could pick something up from a preserved placenta while wearing gloves.

  14. I am all for kids learning by hands-on activities and demonstration. I personally think that this would be an awesome experience for my kids.

    That said, I feel that schools do too much without parental notification. Too many choices are being taken away from parents these days. Before you decide to completely dismiss me, please take a few moments to read some of the literature at http://www.parentalrights.org

  15. Seriously? Send those parents a packet of slips to sign each day. One for each bathroom break, for recess, for each toy on the play area, for lunch, the hallway, for opening the desk, for each class, for each worksheet, on and on. They’ll get over their obsession with signing permission slips soon.

  16. Here’s my thoughts:

    I am the first one to be completely open with my kids about their bodies and reproductive health. My oldest was at my birth and they have both seen many videos of live birth and will be at their siblings birth this summer. We talk about placentas/touch placentas–the whole deal. Completely agree that it’s a grat learning opportunity and after sitting in on high school health classes as part of a panel discussing birth it is obvious that kids need more real life awareness of their bodies and the reproductive process.

    **However** I am not one to trust the public school system. It is a bureaucratic system with checks and balances set up to help protect kids. Can you imagine the horror story that would have come if the placenta had been from someone with a disease and a child had been fooling around and not listening to a teacher and had come into inappropriate contact with it? Sometimes the permission slips are part of a process that brings an extra conscious awareness to the situation.

    I think parents should have definitely been notified as well as been made aware of the safety protocol that would have been followed.

    By all mean, YES, show the kids the placenta, but include parents in part of the learning process.

  17. We need to be careful what we wish for…I can’t ever imagine it being too much trouble for me to read and sign school permission slips. After all, don’t most of us want to be involved in making decisions involving our children’s lives. Isn’t that why we breastfeed, feed organic, and do our best to nourish their little bodies and minds.

    I am totally for providing children with the wonderful experience of examining the placenta, but parents should have the option to sign permission slips or to opt their children out of these experiences for whatever personal/religious reasons they might have. If you give control of your kids over to the school/government you will be reading more things like this…

    School Clinic Sets Up Teen’s Abortion Without Parental Knowledge

    T.J. Cosgrove of the King County Health Department, which administers the school-based programs for the health department, says it’s always best if parents are involved in their children’s health care, but (the parents) don’t always have a say.

  18. This is very nice posting I provide Placenta Education and Encapsulation to expecting mothers. I had not heard of this story and it sure stirs up a mixture of emotions in me! Obviously, I believe that this type of learning is amazing and is such a unique opportunity for these kids! As I recall 5th grade is the ‘Growing and Changing’ grade and the placenta can be a perfect tool! Ironically thanks.

  19. Well that’s just awesome to take a placenta to the classroom! It would have never happened in my time at school, though I think of it as an ace initiative in order to boost up the students interests on subjects, since curiosity and experience are a part of human nature, maybe this is also why a k12 online curriculum may help parents take real things for children to experiment directly over them in the house!

  20. So it’s a safety concern? Really? The HS I went to never properly disposed of their hazardous chemicals (like mercury, other heavy metals) when it was free (decades ago when the gov’t. finally “realized” they were dangerous and offered a window of free/reduced fee disposal). Of course, this was never mentioned, and most students never even saw it (let alone the parents). However, had the building burned, tornado, some kid break it, etc. the results would be not be good… Now as a parent I would be less worried about the things the schools mention, and more about things no one thinks of or “forgets” to mention.

    BTW they are still there. Now that I am a chemist I wrote a letter to the school board informing them of the situation. They are “looking into the situation.” AKA…they have figured out it would cost a huge sum of money to dispose of this stuff now because the chemistry teacher 20-30 years ago slacked off.

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