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Anti-Abortion “Fetus Dolls” Handed Out To Virginia Elementary Schoolers

Anti-Abortion “Fetus Dolls” Handed Out To Virginia Elementary Schoolers

File this one under completely inappropriate: a school principal in Norfolk, Virginia was put on administrative leave when parents and school board officials discovered that she had been handing out four-inch-long plastic “fetus dolls” to third, fourth and fifth grade students.  The principal, Sheila Tillett Holas, will remain on leave while the school board investigates the situation.  It’s unclear whether she knew about the dolls or approved their distribution.

A teacher (who wished to remain anonymous to avoid retaliation from the school) said that attached to the dolls was a “pro-life message” and information about fetal growth during the first twelve weeks of development.  Some of the children received the dolls during lunchtime from an employee; parents reported that they were upset by this imposition into their children’s education.  One parent said, “I choose to teach my children about those things later in life.  I did not sign a waiver for my daughter to be given a fetus.”

The ironic part is that the human fetus isn’t four inches long until about sixteen weeks along, so any information about the first twelve weeks that accompanied these was clearly somewhat incomplete.  But factual error aside, the anger that school board members and parents reported is completely justified.  “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,” the school board chairman explained.

It’s outrageous – but perhaps not hard to imagine.  After all, in April, Christian high schoolers were prevented from handing out 3,500 of these “fetus dolls” on their campus.  And pro-life messaging is often inflammatory and inaccurate – I wrote last fall about the dubious methods by which activists acquire the disturbing images of “aborted fetuses” used in protests and anti-abortion literature.  I’m glad that the school has taken swift action to end this kind of behavior, but it shows (in dramatic fashion) how influential school employees are in shaping children’s perceptions of controversial issues like abortion.  Even if they’re not handing out “fetus dolls,” the ethics of how teachers should talk about these issues are often quite fraught.  The parents and staff of the Norfolk elementary school have every right to be upset, and the employee responsible for the “fetus dolls” clearly cannot keep his or her own ideology out of the classroom, and should be dismissed.

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230 comments

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5:21AM PDT on Jun 15, 2010

well said Taylor. Its trendy to be anti-abortion; but children have little enough rights as it is. This teacher was trying to tell the truth without support from the education system in resources or method. She should not be suspended.

3:59PM PDT on Jun 14, 2010

Taylor M, so you are all for handing out inaccurate information to children too young to understand it? That sounds incredibly irresponsible to me.

3:06PM PDT on Jun 14, 2010

What else do we have to do in order to provide information about what is going on in our country? Over 4000 babies are murdered every DAY. We need to do something in order to raise awareness about this brutal act. I think it's great that those dolls were handed out.

9:42AM PDT on Jun 9, 2010

These are not "anti-abortion" fetuses but lifelike models of an unborn baby much like the fetal models used by the medical society in education. There is nothing terrible about these. What is terrible is the tearing and ripping apart of this baby in abortion! And the same people who support this atrocity think the killing of seals and abuses of animals atrocious! Tells you something about man's humanity to each other. We have become less valuable than animals!

11:40PM PDT on Jun 6, 2010

sad and sick

5:47PM PDT on Jun 6, 2010

Fire the freakazoids and prosecute as well. They've obviously stepped way over the bounds and by using the public school as a forum for their sick agenda, they've become security risks around our children.

6:25AM PDT on Jun 6, 2010

To preface this writing I am very much pro-choice. I am for the fully informed choice of a woman on all aspects of abortion, adoption, and contraception. Scientifically I find it very interesting about the beauty and mystery of the development of the fetus inside of a woman's body. Yet, to teach young children erroneous information about fetal development is a travesty. I've witnessed that so many so called pro life groups are not about informed decisions, but on emotional pleas about a very personal choice a woman has to make. Too many people from that side of the debate force their religious views on so called pro life issues. I've personally witnessed these people villafy any woman who has had to go through an abortion. I will say I do agree with them on some points, using abortion as contraception. Yet, I do believe that dissemination of information to young men and women on the risks of teen pregnancy and of abortion are needed. I hope that one day we do not need to have abortion, but I think that is everyone's hope one day that everyone can be responsible enough in whatever version of contraception or birth aid they choose to use. It is my personal belief that a more informed teenager will make a more informed adult. Yet, we still need the ability to have that choice. I would hope that future generations will not need to resort to such an emotional plea to a very erroneous form of rhetoric.

5:57PM PDT on Jun 5, 2010

Brooke:

1) TAKE OFF THE CAPS LOCK & STOP SHOUTING.

2) Abortion is legal. The teacher did not step up to the plate & teach anything, she was spreading her OPINION in a very inappropriate way & without parental permission.

3) Yes the world is overpopulated. So how does that figure into your support for the anti-abortion message? Your argument is all over the place. Evidently you did not have a teacher to instruct you in critical thinking.

5:05PM PDT on Jun 5, 2010

I THINK THAT TEACHER IS VERY SMART & SHOULD NOT B PENALIZED 4 HANDING OUT THOSE DOLLS...WHATEVER IT TAKES 2 GET THE WORD OUT ABOUT TEENAGE PREGNANCY....THEIR R 2 MANY GIRLS GETN PREGNANT AT 2 EARLY AN AGE WHEN THEY SHOULD B IN SCHOOL LISTENING....IF IT SCARED 1 GIRL IN2 NOT HAVING SEX UNTIL SHE GRADUATES & GETS MARRIED-THEN IT WORKED...HOW COME PEOPLE COMPLAIN THEIR CHILDREN R NOT GETN A PROPER EDUCATION & THEN WHEN A TEACHER HAS THE NERVE 2 STEP UP 2 THE PLATE & ACTUALLY TEACH THEM SOMETHING WORTHWHILE-THEY GET IN TROUBLE & END UP ON T.V. OR IN THE NEWS...THERE SHOULD B MORE TEACHERS THAT R WILLING 2 CROSS THE LINE & RATTLE A FEW CAGES...WHATEVER IT TAKES...THE WORLD IS 2 POPULATED-DON'T U THINK??? THE SCHOOL DISTRICT SHOULD LISTEN OR PAY 4 THESE CHILDREN WHEN THEY R BORN....GIVE HER A RAISE...THANX 4 THE ARTICLE...BROOKE WELCH...HELSINKI, FINLAND

12:13PM PDT on Jun 5, 2010

Apparently the anti abortion people need an understanding of embryonic development and a serious dose of philosophy and less emotional/religious opinion.
respect for each others views without forcing personal life choices on each other is the only way this can work.

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