Plastic human fetus dolls - soft, in pink and brown, and about 4 inches long - have been handed out at Oakwood Elementary School by an employee who was put on administrative leave Thursday over the situation.
The dolls, which were distributed over weeks or months, are not authorized by the division as instructional materials, spokeswoman Elizabeth Thiel Mather said Thursday...
Oakwood Principal Sheila Tillett Holas was put on leave today, Thiel Mather said. The division began its investigation after The Pilot asked school leaders this week about the fetus dolls.
The distribution of the life-like forms among grade school children shocked and repelled some parents and teachers and School Board members who discussed them in a closed meeting this week.
"It is hard to imagine that we would have an employee who believes it would be appropriate to share plastic fetus dolls with students in one of our schools," School Board Chairman Stephen Tonelson said Thursday.
An Oakwood teacher told The Pilot that the "squooshy" dolls had been given to students in the third, fourth and fifth grades over several months
. The teacher, who asked for anonymity to avoid retaliation from the school for speaking out, said several parents and staff were upset.
The teacher said that attached to the dolls was a card with a "pro-life" message and information on fetal growth
An Oakwood parent said her fourth-grade daughter recounted getting one of the dolls from a school employee who handed them out to students during lunch time.
"She comes home with a fetus and says, 'Mommy, look what I got!' and I said, "Where did you get that and why?' It's disturbing to see," said the parent. She asked not to be named so that her daughter wouldn't be vulnerable to retribution at school.
The card accompanying the doll described the first 12 weeks of fetal development, she said.
"As a parent, I choose to teach my children about those things later in life," she added. "I did not sign a waiver for my daughter to be given a fetus."
Milton N. Greene, Oakwood's PTA president, said he hadn't seen the figures but that another parent told him it was not a fetus - but rather a doll used to show kids how big they are at birth
. Anyone who thinks babies are typically 4 inches long at birth needs to retake a few classes.