Dissections tread a thin line as budgets are in limbo

Adrian Doan '19, Page Editor

Dissecting, a core component of Grosse Pointe South’s biology classes, is at risk of being scrapped due to budget cuts, according to biology teachers James Adams and Shelly Rothenbuhler.

The addition of new classes to the science department has stretched the budget thin; unless the department can obtain outside funding, the dissections are too expensive to perform this year.

“The budget for our department is pretty tight because with the new classes, we have some pretty expensive things, so when the department put all their orders together we were a little bit over our budget,” Adams said. “The dissection specimens are pretty expensive, so we had to cut them out.”

Despite the science department’s lack of room in the budget, there is still hope that the materials for dissections can be obtained. The department is now looking for outside funding through grants and Adams is currently submitting an application for a grant from the Mothers’ Club.

“We are hoping we can get funding through Mothers’ Club grants,” Rothenbuhler said. “We are hoping to get funding in the fall so we can plan for the dissections as they typically happen in the spring.”

The dissections are not an important part of the class, according to Nate Ferry ’19. Ferry, who has already taken biology, believes the dissections do not teach anything that couldn’t be achieved through videos and class lectures; however, other students who have participated in the dissections disagree.

“Dissections are important because it is real life hands-on experience that is not replaceable by computers or textbook learning,” Logan Bauer ’19 said.

According to Bauer, the dissections helped him understand the complexity of the inner workings of life, a thought that closely resembles Adams’ reasoning behind the importance of continuing dissections.

“The experience to see an entire organism’s systems all together at the same time is one of those experiences that if you don’t do it in class, many kids will never have an opportunity like this,” Adams said. “It is a time for them to really understand how a living organism works and to appreciate the complexity of life.”

Although Adams and Rothenbuhler do not believe dissections are something that should be cut out of the curriculum, Rothenbuhler still sees a silver lining to the budget cuts.

“On a positive note, we’re adding new classes that allow new unique opportunities, such as forensics, the new bots and coding class and organic chemistry,” Rothenbuhler said. “It’s the addition of all these nice electives that we have, that we want to support, but they take a toll on the finances.”