Vicksburg High School to offer forensic science

The graduating class at Vicksburg High School named its top twelve students. Back row, left to right: Gage Stenger, Logan Jones, Owen Bishop, Kenny Dark, Grace Johnson, Lauren Lahrke, Maya Peters, and Max Dinzik. Front row, left to right: Andrew Painter, Kayla Miller, Grace Romig, and Clare Wilson.

By Jef Rietsma

Vicksburg High School upperclassmen will have a chance to be a part of a new forensic science class making its debut in the fall.

A proposal to add the subject to the high school’s science program was pitched by biology and astronomy teacher Rejean Kangas and touted by Principal Adam Brush.

The two discussed the merits behind the class when they addressed board of education members April 11.

Brush said the district is always looking for electives that engage students, so his interest was piqued when Kangas approached him about considering the addition. Kangas had taught the course at Hackett High School during his tenure there.

“It seemed awesome … I talked with a couple other high school principals in the area and they said it is a great third science course, it is a great elective, it is very hands-on,” Brush said.

Kangas, who currently teaches biology and astronomy at VHS, said some of the different units covered include entomology by studying maggots from pig carcasses and the process of maggots turning into flies. Kangas said there is a crime-solving component that focuses on hair analysis, and studying foot impressions and tire treads at accident scenes, for example.

“There’s over 18 units and there’s four to five activities for each one, at least,” he said. “I talked to Les Latham, our physics teacher, and his brother works for the crime scene lab in Kalamazoo, so I’m really looking forward to working with the local crime scene unit.”

The course will require a prerequisite of biology, chemistry or physics. The district has opened three sections based on student interest, Brush said, noting the subject has the potential to be a two-year course.

Due to that addition, the district plans to drop astronomy, Brush added. He said the cost to offer forensic science in place of astronomy is pretty much even.

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