Haverhill High School Launching Criminal Justice Program

A likeness of Michelangelo’s “Il Pensieroso,” more commonly known as “The Thinker,” at Haverhill High School. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Nearly 130 students headed back to class at Haverhill High this semester have the chance to pilot the school’s first-ever criminal justice program, Principal Glenn Burns and Dean of the History Department Tom Jordan tell WHAV.

Four sections of a criminal justice course are on Haverhill High’s course calendar this fall, with two taught by Haverhill Police School Resource Officer Bill Mears and two by law instructor Rob Pike.

Open to all Hillies, the “exploratory” program is aimed at exposing students to all aspects of law enforcement, the legal field, social work and other related aspects of criminal justice as preparation to enter college, the workforce or the even the police academy, says Burns. “It gives us an opportunity as a school to meet the needs of our community and meet the needs and interests of our kids and align the variety of courses we already have to a career and college choice,” Burns tells WHAV.

Forensic science, investigative journalism and a sociology and aggression class are also in the works as the program continues to take shape. Internships in the community are also a strong possibility, with Burns hoping to see students placed at local law offices or at the police station, for example.

Jordan looks forward to leveraging community partnerships with agencies including the Essex County Sheriff’s Office to speak with students. Both men praised School Committee member Scott W. Wood Jr. for being “instrumental” in getting the Haverhill Police Department and other locals on board, with Wood telling WHAV he hopes the program will provide a larger pool of quality applicants for law enforcement positions. Career Academy Coordinator Victoria Kelly plans to oversee student internships and other aspects of the coursework.

In addition to the criminal justice program, Haverhill High has also opened up an introduction to biomedical principals course to freshmen and select sophomores with a curriculum supported by Project Lead the Way. Taught by three HHS instructors, that program is at capacity with a waiting list, Burns said. A partnership between HHS and Whittier Regional Vocational High School has been formed to support the creation of a new engineering course, he added.

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