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New Rochelle High School Students Get Hands On Solving 'Homicides'

Students from the New Rochelle High School forensic science class evaluating evidence at Nature Study Woods.
Students from the New Rochelle High School forensic science class evaluating evidence at Nature Study Woods. Photo Credit: Contributed

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - Students in New Rochelle got busy this week, helping to solve several "homicides" this week with the help of the local police department.

This week, students from the high school’s forensic science class took their final exam at Nature Study Woods, where they examined the scenes of six mock crimes that were designed to challenge them by members of the New Rochelle Police Department.

More than 140 students were tasked with collecting evidence, examining bullet casings, analyzing torn clothing, body positioning, shoeprints, blood spatter and other tracking other markings. They then coordinated with several police officers and detectives who were on hand to interact with the students.

“We’ve done lab stuff in the class, but everything we do out here is a lot different because it feels more real,” junior Grace Turkewitz said while looking for bullet casings. “We’re actually putting our skills we’ve been learning all year to use.”

Teacher Scott Rubins, who coordinates the final exam each year with Peggy Younger and Andrea Schwach, credited the efforts of the New Rochelle Police Department and 20 seniors and college students who are alumni of the program, who “helped make the six homicide crime scenes look authentic.” This marked the 17th year the high school has run the program.

“It’s a great partnership with the police department because police officers and detectives get to have a nice informal interaction with students,” Rubins said. “This is very positive, in an environment where they get to work together with the school district and students.

“This is a culminating experience after an entire year’s worth of work. They get to show off what they learn and what they understand, and that they can take that understanding and apply it to a real-world scenario. We want to push them hard to see how they process the crime scenes. The whole class is about thinking and processing.”

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