At `crime' scene, kids learn of threats to environment

Pikesville pupils gather clues, get to meet with state officials

Metro

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April 14, 2005|By Andrew G. Sherwood | Andrew G. Sherwood,SUN STAFF

Seventh-graders from the Sudbrook Magnet Middle School in Pikesville crowded around a mock environmental crime scene yesterday looking for clues that might lead them to a culprit, and questioning three teachers wearing tags that read "witness."

Seventh-graders Jon Henricks and David Schetman unearthed what they thought was a major clue.

"I think we found something important because there was the company name of Sluggo Inc. on one of the barrels," Jon said, "and we found out that one of the witnesses knows someone who works there."

Hoping to bring attention to National Environmental Crime Prevention Week, Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. and state Secretary of the Environment Kendl P. Philbrick led the session at the school and spoke with the pupils about environmental crimes.

"The point we want to make you aware of is that the information you're finding or that one of the MDE investigators might find will help us take the guilty persons to court," Curran told the pupils.

For about an hour the 25 pupils, who had been divided into three teams, went from one witness to another and recorded as much information as they could, hoping to be the group to crack the case. When all groups had made their rounds, they gathered around Curran and Philbrick, who asked them what they had learned.

Most of the pupils thought that they had narrowed the list of suspects and believed that, had this been a real crime and had they really been MDE investigators, the case would be ready to give to the attorney general's office for prosecution.

Shalini Morgan, Sudbrook environmental and earth science teacher, said the session provided the pupils with a chance to put their classroom knowledge into action.

"Learning something in class and then being able to apply that knowledge in a practical way is a wonderful opportunity for our students," Morgan said. "They're really enjoying themselves, too."

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