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Facebook placenta pose gets student expelled

A nursing student is kicked out of school after posting a picture on Facebook of herself with a human placenta in class. The student is taking the school to court.

Kids do the sweetest things. And sometimes, well, it gets them into a little trouble.

Take Doyle Byrnes, a nursing student at Johnson County Community College in Kansas. Or, should I say, former nursing student.

According to the Kansas City Star, Byrnes was due to graduate in May and, perhaps because she was feeling sentimental, she was part of a group that allegedly asked their nursing instructor, Amber Delphia, whether they could pose for a picture with a human placenta.

Oh, is it really so different than the Winkelvoss twins posing with their oars?

Some think it might be. For Byrnes then posted her placenta pic on her Facebook page. And, though she claims Delphia didn't forbid the placenta picture-taking (Byrnes claims Delphia merely said: "Oh, you girls"), Byrnes found herself in critical condition a few hours later.

For, she says, Delphia called her and told her to take the placenta pose down.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

You may temporarily lose sensations in your upper extremities when I tell you that Byrnes was then kicked out of school, together with the three other students who had posed with the maroon-colored organ. (No one is sure whether they posted their pictures anywhere that might be deemed public.)

Your heart will, now, not even emit a flicker when I tell you that Byrnes (who has now closed her Facebook account) is taking the school to court, asking to be immediately reinstated.

Her attorney, Clifford Cohen, told the Star: "They're not giggly teenagers. They are mature, I would say serious, professionals. I've interviewed the other women. They all impress me as serious, career-minded women who are utterly stunned at what's happened to them."

Byrnes wrote a letter to Jeanne Walsh, the school's director of nursing, in which she said: "In my excitement to be able to share with my loved ones the phenomenal learning experience in which I had been blessed enough to take part, I did not consider that others might view this photograph as unprofessional, offensive to the school I was representing and more importantly the sanctity of human life."

One should say at this point that the placenta in the picture was not identifiable. There is also no evidence that the students were doing this for the sake of amusement. This does seem more an act of (perhaps peculiar) pride, rather than, say, anything an NFL quarterback might think of photographing.

The school, though, seems insistent on its disciplinary diagnosis.

So now a court will have to decide whether the three hours that Byrnes' placenta picture was up on Facebook demeaned the school more than the decision to expel a committed student.