LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Long Beach students are getting an early start on learning about careers in law enforcement and the legal system. This year, Long Beach High School launched its new Law and Public Safety program. The curriculum prepares students for a variety of jobs from police officers to FEMA.
On Friday, students took on the roles of attorneys, judge, jury and witnesses. In the mock trial, a woman was accused of killing her husband. Their teacher even took the stand as a police officer. The lesson on how the legal system works is part of the new Law and Public Safety curriculum at Long Beach High.
"It tells me all the definitions. It gives me stuff I never heard about before. For example, we talked about Battered Women Syndrome. I never heard of that," said freshman Tanner Montella.
"It helps me, because when I get older, I want to be an attorney and it will help me have practice for those trials," said freshman Addie House.
Over the two-year program, students will learn about various careers, including police officers, firefighters, even jobs in the prison system and government agencies like FEMA. Coach Damon Felder will also talk about positions in the military. After all, he served eight years in the Army.
"I tell them my stories about Iraq and things like that, and that pulls them in," said Felder. "I get kids that get in it and they say, 'Coach I want to be a lawyer. I want to be a judge.' So they are really intrigued by what we talk about in the course."
The elective course connects to Common Core, because students get to interact, think critically, and focus on college or careers.
"Whenever I saw there were a few law classes, I was like check. I was excited to have it," said Tanner.
"I think it's needed everywhere, especially in the state of Mississippi where kids who don't want to go in the path of direct colleges. It gives them the alternative of looking into the police force, firefighting, and military," said Felder.
Students in the program must also pass a fitness test. If they meet certain requirements, they can also earn certifications in emergency response and incident management.