PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - Paragould High School is introducing a new course and new teacher.
The school is offering three classes on the criminal justice system, and the school resource officers will teach the course.
Students have the option to take an introduction class to criminal justice, a fundamentals class to criminal justice or a crime scene investigation class.
High School Principal Luke Lovins said he hopes the course helps cater to students who have an interest in this field.
"Students have an opportunity early on in their high school career to maybe take the fundamentals class to see if maybe that is an area of interest for them and if so maybe continue on to an in-depth experience with that CSI class," Lovins said.
Lovins said the course will be very hands-on for students and incorporate technology.
"It is something we think our kids are really going to enjoy, it is an area where you can really integrate real world experience with technology," Lovins said.
The school had to order several new things for the classes including officer belts that will have handcuffs and fake guns on them.
The idea is to give the students as much as a real world experience into criminal justice as possible.
"Anytime we can offer students some type of real world experience that they may use once they leave your campus, I think that is good, and I think these classes do that," Lovins said.
The real world experience is enhanced by having the school resource officers teach the course as well.
"They will learn different aspects that we may run into day to day from traffic stops all the way to lifting fingerprints or investigating crimes," School Resource Officer Lee Kingston said.
Kingston said the school's superintendent approached the two officers last year about teaching the course, and they agreed.
"They are some very smart guys who really care about our kids," Lovins said.
Lovins told Region 8 News the SRO's started teaching with the ALICE training and self-defense course.
He said the officers did so well in those courses he is excited to see them teach a full school course.
"Hearing about those instances and seeing those guys to educate kids in those areas. I am excited about them getting the chance to teach a real class here at Paragould. It is something they know a lot about and can really help our kids learn about," Lovins said.
Kingston said being in this role as a teacher is different for him, but he is excited to teach students about the system and get them possibly interested in a future career.
"It is a little nerve wrecking just trying to get something new off the ground but we are looking forward to it, and I think the kids are going to love it. The classes are full; I am catching kids in the hallway saying hey your class is full I couldn't get in," Kingston said. "I think it is going to be fun and entertaining, but they are going to learn a lot. They are going to learn about the criminal justice system if they want to pursue a career in one of those fields."
Kingston said his goal is to show students all aspects of the criminal justice system.
"Hopefully, we can show them a whole new side of it and create some interest in the criminal justice system and see if we can maybe get some of them to maybe join the police force or get into that field," Kingston said.
Lovins said he is excited students not only learn a lot about the system but also see firsthand what officers go through each day.
He said lessons like this could help them in real life situations even if they don't choose a career in the field.
"This class is going to give kids a little bit more knowledge about how to respond as a civilian," Lovins said.
Both Lovins and Kingston agree new courses like this can help students learn more about their interests while also letting them decided if that interest could be a possible career choice.
"We are always looking for new electives, new things for students to try or new areas of interest that your student population may be looking at or might be interested in," Lovins said.
"We want to give them a clearer path they can choose before they get into freshman or sophomore year, and they say hey I wish I had known this back then. Hopefully, we can open their eyes a little bit and give them a clear path of where they want to go with it," Kingston said.
Kingston said all three of his classes this semester are full.
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