Human body parts pose dilemma for Swedish schools

Human body parts pose dilemma for Swedish schools
This skeleton is in the Swedish Ethnographical Museum, not a school. Photo: Johan Engman / TT
Changing social attitudes have left dozens of Swedish schools with a dilemma: what to do with the human skeletons, organs and foetuses still being stored in their biology labs?

A new survey of the country's 24 oldest upper secondary schools showed that 80 percent of them were storing some kind of human remains. 

Most of the remains ended up in schools in the early 1900s, at which time there was a widespread trade in body parts, according to Swedish Radio's science programme, Vetenskapsradio.

Many of the items were taken without permission, for instance from patients who died in mental hospitals or miscarried foetuses.

Biology teacher Eleonore Gåvsten at Stockholm's Södra Latin school told Swedish Radio that the body parts were not shown to pupils, “but there's no way to get rid of these old things, that's the problem.”