A former FBI detective and Metro crime scene investigator have joined forces inside a Metro school, but the students there haven't done anything wrong.
Instead, the goal is to train them to become the investigators of the future.
The classroom looks more like an episode of Law and Order, but the lawyers, judge and jury are made up of Metro students.
"They actually have to write opening statements and closing statements. They interview witnesses, cross-examine witnesses and enter evidence to the judge," educator Jon Stephens said.
Stephens is a former FBI agent who now teaches criminal justice at Stratford STEM Magnet High School.
"I had the privilege of going to Iraq for two tours with the FBI," he said.
Now, he and former Metro crime investigator Jonesta Nolan are training the law enforcement agents and attorneys of the future in a new way.
"We've done shootings in here with the freshman academy, kind of showing them how it actually works," Nolan said.
The class starts with crime tape, and the students do an entire investigation before it goes to a mock court.
"That's the great thing about having the second room. We can throw blood around. We have mud on the floor. We have little sticky bullet holes in the wall. So, it's really a great opportunity to see what it is really it like," Nolan said.
Many of these students were barely walking at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, so the teachers spend a lot of time talking about fighting crime and terrorism. That way, the students know what is expected if they were to become agents and what could help land them a job, including learning a second language.
"I think I really influence them as a role model, which perhaps they may not have at home, and for me that's an exciting opportunity. I love coming to work everyday," Stephens said.
The criminal justice classes are part of the Academy for National Safety and Security Technologies at Stratford.
Students heading into Metro high schools can learn about all career opportunities at the First Choice Festival, which is set for Oct. 18 at McGavock High School.
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