Dade students get hands-on lesson in stamping out meth - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Dade students get hands-on lesson in stamping out meth

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Dade Co. High Forensic Science Students Dade Co. High Forensic Science Students

TRENTON, DADE COUNTY (WRCB)-   Dade County High students moved carefully around bottles containing volatile chemicals and other common components of a meth lab.  It's an unusual scene for a high school classroom, but a necessary one, according to members of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force. Of 22 such units in the state of Georgia, the local force makes more seizures and arrests than any other. 

The classroom scene was the idea of teacher Jennifer Taylor, who has developed the school's first-ever forensic science program.  "We're teaching them to make sure the evidence is preserved, and admissible in court," she said.

Senior Nathan Clark is among several Dade students considering a career in law enforcement.  He said, "I wish all my classmates could see this," referring to the meth lab scene. "It's a problem here, and all over the country.  It affects families, there are so many innocent children who have no idea what their family is doing, and suddenly their house has blown up."

The one-day class exercise gave students hands-on experience working a scene where methamphetamine is produced.  Teams of students were assigned to collect evidence from the scene, taking photos, and producing detailed written reports. They had to contend with the odors, wear masks, head-to-toe protective gear, oxygen tanks, gloves and surgical foot covers.  The materials used by the Task Force were safe, but similar to actual ingredients used in meth labs.

Ms. Taylor said there are real benefits to doing a simulation exercise as opposed to traditional classroom lectures.  "Some of these students may do this for a career some day, so there's no better way to learn."  She credited the Drug Task Force and Dade County Sheriff Patrick Cannon for making the event possible.

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