NHS Forensic Science Class

NHS Forensic Science Class
Posted on 10/30/2017
NHS Forensic Science Class It’s more than just Professor Plum with a candlestick in the conservatory, from the classic board game “Clue.”

Nacogdoches High School’s forensic science class was investigating its own faux crime scene Thursday. And, by the way, it was with a shovel in the greenhouse, but “who did it” would take some work by the mostly seniors in Roya Dinbali’s class.

Before entering the greenhouse where the fictional Mrs. Hibiscus had been struck down with a gardening tool, students dropped their backpacks to the side and pulled dust covers over the shoes, just like today’s crime dramas seen on television or the silver screen.

Inside, students found the crime scene with a number of clues stationed along the way. That included a classroom roster for attendance, a student ID on the ground and the murder weapon itself, a spade.

On Thursday, students took photos with their phones, measured off the crime scene - inside and out - and took notes while studying for a number of clues.

Some students are taking the course as their fourth science credit, Dinbali said, but others are focusing on law enforcement in the school’s career and technical education department.

“That’s why this is such a big deal,” Dinbali said, in between answering questions from student investigators. Dinbali has been teaching six years - this is her second with the forensics science class and fourth year overall at NHS.

Those interested in law enforcement can carry credit from the class on to a police academy, she said.

For the rest of the school year, students will learn a variety of things related to the forensic sciences. The final six weeks, Dinbali hopes to create a crime scene - without the aid of prompts - for students to resolve.

“I hope to use everything they’ve learned to figure out a ‘real’ crime scene,” Dinbali said.

Outside the greenhouse, Reanna Weaver and Candelario Ortego, both seniors, are working with junior Haylie Jackson to measure the exterior of the building. “We’re going to get the perimeter,” Weaver said while stretching the tape measure to the corner of the greenhouse.

All three are taking the course as their fourth science credit, but thoroughly enjoy the experience. “This is the most fun class out here,” Jackson said.

After graduation, Weaver plans on entering the U.S. Army before ultimately becoming a pediatrician. Ortego figures he will go to a trade school, or two-year college for an associates degree. And Jackson knows she wants to become a nurse.

Weaver is also taking a business law course at NHS, which she says “ties in” to the forensic science course.

During the summer, Dinbali attended a conference on the subject of forensic science. While there, teachers heard from adjunct professors from police academies, oftentimes picking up ideas to use in the classroom.

“The students like these things, and they’re challenging,” said Jeannie Summers, Director of the CTE program at NHS. In addition to assisting students interested in law enforcement as a career, the class “teaches students to think” Summers said.

Last year, Summers visited the forensic science class while Dinbali provided students with ashes to sift through. The students had been studying how fibers burn, Summers said, and that included what to look for when poking around in the aftermath of a fire.

The forensic science class at the campus is indicative of a growing number of career and technical education options being offered at Nacogdoches High School.

“We are unique in that we have inhouse programs that other schools normally farm out,” Summers said. That includes automotive repair, cosmetology, phlebotomy and other health science-related offerings.