Forensics and Critical Thinking

An article in a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal questioned whether forensics courses belong in the elementary and high school curricula.1 Teachers and forensics professionals are promoting the subject because it exemplifies the kind of evidence-based, objective investigation that permeates science. It also captures the attention of students weaned on TV crime stories. Burlington, NC-based Carolina Biological Supply Co. is helping out with several forensics packages, including kits on DNA

Barry Palevitz
May 12, 2002
An article in a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal questioned whether forensics courses belong in the elementary and high school curricula.1 Teachers and forensics professionals are promoting the subject because it exemplifies the kind of evidence-based, objective investigation that permeates science. It also captures the attention of students weaned on TV crime stories. Burlington, NC-based Carolina Biological Supply Co. is helping out with several forensics packages, including kits on DNA fingerprinting and one called 'Caught By A Kiss.' But, the article asks, is there a down side? Could blood and gore desensitize kids to crime, making them more prone to act violently in their schools and communities?

Forensics has always been a media favorite. I seldom missed an episode of the old TV series Quincy, starring Jack Klugman as a troublesome medical examiner who always solved the crime. Years later, novelist Patricia Cornwell lionized another ME,...