A broken classroom window, a screwdriver and a fingerprint of the criminal who stole a teacher’s prized possessions, met Asbury Alternative students when they arrived at school on Tuesday.
A golfball belonging to Tiger Woods, an artifact from the Titanic, a faux diamond and a suitcase belonging to Bonnie of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo, were among science teacher Tammy Sigler-Delauter’s “valuables” that mysteriously went missing overnight, as middle and high school students worked together during Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Day. The morning was dedicated to collecting and analyzing the data surrounding the breaking and entering, while the latter portion of the day was spent in the cafeteria turned courtroom.
School security employee Kim Duncan broke down the evidence and demonstrated fingerprinting techniques to the group, as he explained what to look for and how to rule out and think about certain factors.
“They’re having fun, without realizing they’re learning about science, technology, social studies and English,” Delauter told the Times-News on Tuesday. “It gets them more involved with their education.”
The high school students took turns examining the prints of their suspects, identifying unique indicators on the print of the thief — a scar down the middle of the finger, for instance — and comparing the suspects marks to that of the culprit. As they reviewed the characteristics of each mark, the group started to come to a consensus that Mr. Caldwell was their prime suspect. “He just looks sketchy,” a group of students laughed as they narrowed in on who they thought was behind the crime.
A less-than-serious trial filled with laughter and accusations wrapped up the day, as the youth questioned their peers on trial and tried to prove their involvement in the theft.
Though serving students in grades seven through 12th, Asbury principal Ted Shiver noted that this is the first time the whole student body worked together on a project. Various eighth-graders held positions as attorneys and jurors, while 13-year-old Paco Ramirez served as the judge. Trusting the advice and opinions of the jury members, along with the results from the time he took to speak with the lawyers, Ramirez was confident he would reach the right decision.
Giving the students a chance to communicate with students they normally don’t have much contact with, while using various disciplines together in a “hands on” setting, Shiver and his staff may consider doing a similar type of exercise next year.
Delauter and other faculty members pooled their efforts to excite their students and get them to work together in a different activity that they hadn’t tried before.