"CSI’ at Battle Mountain | VailDaily.com

"CSI’ at Battle Mountain

Cindy Ramunno
(left to right) Christain Hafer "Hafdiz", Andrew Kline, Ryan Scott and Alicia Miller, demonstrate how to lift a finger print, during Mr. Von Stralendorff's forensics class Tuesday.

Battle Mountain High School is offering a new kind of class.

“CSI” and other television programs that showcase the dynamics of forensic science have hit students – and the nation – in big way. So now if you attend Battle Mountain, you can study forensics.

Mark VonStralendorff, who teaches the class to 30 students, says it’s currently maxed out; there’s even a waiting list.

“Kids are doing real projects,” says VonStralendorff, adding that students are involved in hair analysis, fiber analysis, fingerprints and forgery. Basically, he says, the students are immersed in anthropology.

Plans are in the works for getting local police departments to educate the students on various investigative techniques and other issues.

“Kids are beating down the doors to take this class,” says Assistant Principal Ronda Woodall.

The students get half of science credit for taking the course.

The new science philosophy stresses that a crime scene will tell you what happened if you look hard enough, so much so there’s less and less need for witnesses.

“This is such a fun science class,” says Battle Mountain student Beau Beckley.

He says students are learning all of the steps involved in forensic science. “We’re learning to solve a crime with just what’s left at the scene – all with science.”

Students also are enjoying the education they’re receiving on investigative techniques, evaluating the entire scene.

“We’re learning the scientific way to collect evidence,” says student Becky Green. “Our final will be to investigate a crime scene that Mr. VonStralendorff sets up.”

Some parents say they are envious.

“I would love the opportunity to take a class like this,” says one Battle Mountain parent. “Our kids are extremely lucky to get a chance to learn this type of science.”

For more information on the forensics class or other programs at Battle Mountain High School, call 328-2930.

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