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Crime scenes in the classroom: How hands-on learning is shaping the future of law enforcement

Posted at 4:59 PM, Feb 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-04 19:35:25-05

PUEBLO — One classroom at South High School looks more like a scene from crime show.

Criminology Teacher Arin Hart is using his background in law enforcement to create a hands-on learning experience for his students.

“The feedback has been actually pretty good and students that come into the program not wanting anything to do with it, come back saying - This is what I’m going to do for a living!"

Hart's students seem to enjoy the nontraditional style of his lesson plans, some of them saying, “This is the only class that I have that’s hands-on mostly and so, I love it!" and others saying they find it easier to learn from the experience.

Hart says, given the recent police brutality protests and Black Lives Matter movement, he had concerns that the course would become controversial. He says many students have voiced their opinions in favor of the protests, but he allows the subject to be an open for discussion in the classroom.

“We’ve had those conversations in the classroom, you know recognizing that in the criminal justice system, there are some things that aren’t perfect, there are things that need improving.”

When students were asked if they have conversations with their friends about the controversy surrounding police, they claimed it's better not to talk about it, that way they don't "judge" one another for differing views. However, Hart believes that lighting the fire in students now will lead to change and improvements in the future.

“These students are the ones that are going to be picking up the torch and carrying it," said Hart. "So if they want to see change and make those positive differences in the community and society, then they need to put themselves in the position to be able to do that.”

The course is also opening student's eyes to the many career opportunities in law enforcement, besides the traditional police officer, including marijuana or parks and wildlife enforcement. Hart knows that programs like this are limited in Pueblo schools, mainly due to funding.