Criminal science course gives BHS students unique experience

Amanda Seale

Are you interested in forensics? Do you love watching TV shows like CSI , NCIS , and Bones ? If so, Bearden may have the class for you. This year, BHS is offering a Criminal Science class, a different type of class from the science department. While it counts as one science credit, it is only available to juniors and seniors who have taken both Biology and Chemistry. The CSI class, as students informally call it, combines biology and chemistry to do an in-depth study of how to approach and analyze evidence at a crime scene. “We’ve compared what they see with CSI shows and the way a crime scene investigator actually collects evidence,” teacher Mrs. Sara Mueller said. So far, the class has studied evidence collection procedures such as burn testing different fibers, fingerprint testing, and DNA testing. “We have many hands-on projects that we do to give us a feel for what a real forensic scientist does every day,” junior Mackenzie Ridley said. Summer reading for Criminal Science this year was Dr. Bill Bass’s Death’s Acre, about forensic research at the University of Tennessee’s well-known Body Farm laboratory. “This was to give perspective on forensic anthropology and the setup of the research facility at UT and the national and worldwide prominence that they have developed,” Mrs. Mueller said. In years to come, Mrs. Mueller also hopes to get the Knoxville Police Department more involved to work with the class using real examples of cases and evidence. Right now, however, one of her biggest goals is making the simulations of forensic work as real as possible. “During some labs, we get to use actual forensic equipment,” senior Cheyenne Alcorn said. With room only to grow, the class proves to be a success. And in years to come, Bearden may produce a few professional forensic scientists.