Ms. Collins, biology teacher, is the only forensics instructor at Leesville. She shows students how to fingerprint, sketch crime scenes, run DNA and much more. “Students are graded on finding out ‘who did it?,’ knowing the difference between blood samples and things like that,” she said.
Students watch documentaries about actual crimes and observe techniques used to solve them. They run real lab tests, interpret results and determine culprits of faux crime scenes.
Classes learn different aspects of forensic science other than just field and lab work. The history of famous serial killers and behavioral analysis is important as well.
“My favorite parts are the labs and finally solving the crime scenes,” said Kasia Sliwinska and Katherine Fox, seniors. Sliwinska explained that the class does not take many notes and more discussion or hands-on activities. Both Fox and Sliwinska highly recommend forensics to anyone thinking about taking it.
Discussions about similarities between fiction and reality is commonplace in the class. The forensic processes seen in TV shows such as NCIS and CSI: Las Vegas are only somewhat accurate, Collins explained. “The techniques are the same, but the teams you see on those shows don’t do everything. There are specific people to do each test and it can take up to weeks to finish.”
In order to sign up for the class, students must have completed biology. They must be able to complete lab tests and interpret data to help solve mock-crimes. The forensics class is almost entirely hands-on learning with problem solving scenarios, unlike traditional math or science classes.
Those who are thinking about taking forensics should expect to learn many different techniques and aspects involved in the crime-solving process. Students have fun while working hard. Forensics is a great class for anyone who wants to go into the crime field or just curious about what really happens behind the scenes.