A teacher at Cape Coral High School returned from summer vacation to find a human fetus floating in a mason jar inside a rolling cabinet in his classroom.
The life skills teacher, Robert Snyder, discovered the jar containing the well-preserved fetus on Aug. 7, reports the Orlando Sentinel. The jar was covered in a paper bag.
Investigators determined that the white-skinned fetus was between 16 and 19 weeks old. It was eight inches long and soaked in formalin. Many features including eyes and toes were visible.
Snyder told investigators that he had never seen the embryonic human being before he discovered it in the cabinet, reports local NBC affiliate WBBH. He also noted that is lesson plans for the school year did not include real fetus-studying.
Since the scandalous discovery, officials with the Lee County school district have identified the genesis of the fetus. Turns out, a former child development teacher left it at Cape Coral High.
“A former child development teacher no longer at the school advised the product in question was used by her for over a decade as a teaching tool,” said a school district representative in a statement. “It was given to her by a retiring science teacher who had used it in the classroom for an unknown number of years.”
It’s not clear how the science teacher came into possession of a well-preserved human fetus. WBBH notes that Florida does not restrict the sale or purchase of human tissue for research purposes.
Obviously, high school courses such as life skills and child development hardly qualify as research.
The NBC affiliate tracked down local parents and grandparents for comments. Their reactions were decidedly mixed.
“While it feels extreme and graphic, it’s reality,” said one mother, Gwen Garfall.
“In biology, frogs are enough; maybe, a mammal of some sort,” disagreed grandmother Linda Harris. “But not a baby.”