Constitution project provides student perspective into legal system


Police promptly arrived at the scene of the accident and took precautionary measures to make sure students and passerby didn’t interfere with the investigation.

Ross Parks

Today students from RBHS and Hellias High School participated in the Constitution Project, a selective competition between high schools around the state that requires student involvement in three distinct fields of study.
A scene was constructed at the north lot entrance where a wrecked car sat, positioned to look as if it had hit the telephone pole along with all the replications required to make the scene look as real as possible. Students then took on the role of police investigators and journalists covering the event.
“The Constitution Project is something we started in Texas County…two years ago. This is the first year we have made it a state wide project, it is part of the Supreme Court civic education committee and we have chosen eight schools around the state.” Judge Douglas Gaston of Texas county and who coordinated the event, said. “Rock Bridge and Helias were chosen for the Mid-Missouri region and whoever wins this regional will go on to the state final.”

Though the car underwent serious damage, especially in the front portion of the vehicle, passengers inside were not fatally wounded.
A car was stage in the north lot to create a crime scene.
Photo by Brittany Cornelison
The competition aims to teach students about the three areas of study involved in the competition; law enforcement, journalism and the criminal court system. All while instilling a greater understanding and love for the constitution through the students being directly involved with a crime scene.
The selection of the schools was, “based on the merit of the schools…and making sure the community…and the school commitment was there,” Gaston said. “We also researched a lot about RBHS and how great the school is.”
The coordinator for the RBHS side of the project was by Kory Kaufman, a ninth grade physics teacher. Today, he said, “was the first part of the project, and it is the mock crime scene. We have a group of students who are working the scene and a team of journalism students who are covering the story.”
However, this is just the first part of the competition.
“Next, the students will have to figure out if there is an enough [evidence] to take it to trial and then they’ll head to Jeff City next week to take it to trial,” Kaufman said.
While both Helias and RBHS will be meeting at the state capitol next week, today RBHS hosted the Helias students who participated in the competition.
“We’ve been doing some mock crime scenes,” crime scene investigator Nick McCutchen, a Helias junior, said, “We’ve only really had two meetings [for preparation] though.”
For many of the participants, just being able to do a hands-on project made the experience special.
“It’s a great way to get involved,” Helias junior Shannan Lubbert said. “It’s far more interesting than sitting in a class and learning about it.”
Students from the two schools will add a court component next week.
 By Ross Parks 
Did you see the scene? What did you think?