Should HSB Really Remain a Graduation Requirement?


Photo courtesy of Mrs. Pierman

Brett Salach and Peter Cenci share a table during an intense Human Systems Biology lecture led by Mrs. Amanda Pierman. Also at the desk is the dissected eyeball of a cow, one of several specimens students encounter during the course.

Joey Tomassetti, Managing Editor

At the Benjamin Upper School, there are some classes that students are required to take at some point during their four years of high school. Human Systems Biology, a.k.a. HSB, is one of these required classes. 

HSB is only a semester class, but it is offered both during the school year and in the summer. During the peak of COVID, students were allowed to take the class virtually, but that is no longer offered. 

HSB is a class that falls under the Science category at Benjamin. It goes in-depth on how the human body works and all of the components that help it function on a daily basis. Watching childbirth and protecting an egg for a week are just a few of the things that students do in the class.

HSB should no longer be a requirement here at the Upper School.

No one is saying that HSB is a “bad” class, but if students are not enjoying the class and would rather do another class that interests them, then keeping it as a requirement seems pointless. 

What if a senior wanted to take Photography, but has not taken HSB yet during their tenure at the Upper School? Every other one of their class spots is already filled, except for where HSB would have to go. With the current academic policies at Benjamin, this student would not be able to take Photography, even though it really interests them. Instead, they would have to take HSB, which does not interest them in the slightest. Doesn’t it just seem silly?

According to the US National Liberty of Medicine, students who did not take a Human Systems Biology or “Anatomy” class at their school still went on to become a successful kind of doctor. Out of 224 students who were surveyed, in medical school, and did not take an HSB type-of-class at their high school, 84% of the students adopted a strategic or deep understanding of the human body. 

Despite the statistics and voices of students, there are still some people that believe that HSB should stay as a requirement and it is vital for the students to take it during their high school years. So they ask, “Why get rid of it?”

With this point of view in mind, does it really matter if HSB is kept as a required course? Do they really lose anything from taking the class? Yes, they lose quite a lot. The class should not be removed from Benjamin’s curriculum entirely, but rather let students choose whether or not they want to take the class instead of forcing them to. If a student is interested in HSB, they will surely take it at some point during their tenure at the Upper School. But why do people have to pretend to like the class, just because they didn’t have a choice in taking the class in the first place?

All in all, why keep HSB as a requirement when a majority of the students dislike the class? It just doesn’t make sense to force students to do something that they don’t want to do. With the support of the student body, maybe we can make a difference that will benefit everyone’s happiness, and save people from taking an entire semester of Human Systems Biology.