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New class to immerse Nanaimo students in crime scene investigation

School board approves Forensic Science 11 course for NDSS students
Nanaimo District Secondary School.

A new course will introduce Nanaimo District Secondary School students to the science of crime scene investigation.

The B.C. Ministry of Education allows school boards to offer courses that fit students' interests, and Forensic Science 11 class is one of three new courses approved by Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools' board at a meeting Wednesday, June 26.

Forensic science utilizes evidence-gathering, analysis and hypothesis to reconstruct a crime, and the course "will examine some of the basic principles and knowledge that guides forensic laboratory processes, such as DNA testing, toxicology and material analysis," noted the course description.

Students will learn about the history of forensic science and how it comes into play after a crime, stated the description. Aspects of the legal system, as it pertains to evidence, rudimentary techniques used at crime scenes and evidence preservation will be among topics in the four-credit course.

It also hoped the class may lead students to careers in law enforcement, the syllabus stated.

Jo Cornthwaite, Nanaimo-Ladysmith teachers' union president, said such courses are often passion projects of teachers.

"Obviously, the teacher who's wanting this course has a passion for teaching the material," Cornthwaite told the News Bulletin. "I think it's great to offer our students a variety of options in the courses being offered to them. It gives students yet another choice to look at career possibilities for themselves in the future."

Two other new courses were approved. Financial Literacy 12, at Ladysmith Secondary School, will teach students aspects of money management, and Indigenous Cultural Connections for Grades 10-12 honours Indigenous students' connections with the land, language and family. Cornthwaite said both are valuable courses as well.

"It's always excellent to include more Indigenous content for our students and ways to approach Indigenous studies ... [financial literacy is] one of those really important life skills, being able to manage your personal finances and keep track of expenses and be able to manage your money and so I believe this course design is practical in order to help students become financially literate and be able to apply those skills in life," Cornthwaite said.

Greg Keller, school board chairperson, expressed similar sentiments,

"I think the overall content of the courses seems quite interesting, and includes a wide variety of concepts, including the scientific method, which is one of the ways in which students can engage in thinking and learning," said Keller.

Eric Cizeron, an NDSS teacher, developed Forensic Science 11. Emily Magyar, district principal of Indigenous learning, Elena Kemp, NDSS vice-principal, and Mid-Island Métis Nation, Snuneymuxw, Snaw-Naw-As and Stz'uminus first nations developed Indigenous Cultural Connections, and Tracey Teneycke, a Ladysmith Secondary teacher, developed Financial Literacy 12.

Forensic Science 11 will become part of the curriculum in the 2025/26 school year, while Financial Literacy 12 and Indigenous Cultural Connections are available for 2024/25.

Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

I joined Black Press in 2010 and cover education, court and RDN. I am a Ma Murray and CCNA award winner.
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