Friday, January 16, 2004

Students studying forensics firsthand

By Anna Guido
Enquirer contributor

SYMMES TWP. - Murder, mystery and mayhem. Just what students need to learn.

In a two-week special study that ends today, a group of high school students from Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy has analyzed blood, visited a jail, watched an arraignment, cooked for crime victims and learned firsthand about other aspects of forensic science.

The Crime Scene Investigation course, which mirrors the popular CSI television program, is part of the school's "Winter Term," an alternate education program that began four years ago.

"Even if it's just for two weeks, kids are getting a taste of some different form of education, other than what they're getting inside the four walls of a classroom," said science teacher Mary Beth Criniti.

Criniti said the experience provides students with a real-life application of what they're learning in school and helps to expose students to career options. Criniti and Drew Baker, who teaches history and government, are in charge of the forensic science study.

Ohio Department of Education spokesman J.C. Benton said educators nationwide are providing students with more advanced learning experiences.

Brian Painter, 15, a sophomore from Loveland, said the CSI study is giving him tremendous insight into the criminal process. "Not that I'd want to go to jail, but our visit to the (Hamilton County) Justice Center really made me realize that I don't want to go to jail."

On the other hand, Painter said, touring the jail enlightened him about the opportunities inmates have while imprisoned - including being able to earn their GED (General Equivalency Diploma) and being able to work days off their sentence.

Other Winter Term choices this year included mission trips to Mexico, Haiti, Nicaragua and Mississippi; video editing; Tristate sports  history; personal money management; genealogy; college tour Southeast; and theater production.


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