Imagine you're watching an autopsy, studying the stomach or the kidneys. Then you glance at the cadaver's face - and realize it's someone you knew. That's what almost happened to a group of Michigan high school students last April when their class toured the Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office. Since the incident, the coroner has canceled all public school tours for the first time in nearly a decade.
Students enrolled in Waterford Kettering High School's crime scene investigation class examined the cadaver of a 14-year-old girl from the same district. While none of the students knew the middle school girl, who had committed suicide, one was acquainted with her brother.
A student later told the parents of the deceased girl about the tour. Angry their daughter had been publicly examined, the parents contacted Oakland County officials who decided to put a stop to all student tours. When Gerds spoke to the girl's mother at the time, he recalls her being "distraught" over the situation.
Mike Zehnder, the county's director of public services, also admits the tour was "a poor decision." However, the medical examiner is not legally required to inform the girl's guardians or keep the examination confidential.
The teacher did speak to her class about the subject of the autopsy prior to the tour, according to a Waterford School District spokeswoman. But former PTA president Robin McGregor says the autopsy just hit too close to home. "From a parent's perspective, if that was my child, I'd be upset."
Do you think the students should have been allowed to observe this autopsy?