Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Don’t Confuse ‘Forensics’ With ‘Forensic Science’

November 09, 2009 1 min read
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To the Editor:

Please do not continue to encourage the improper use of the word “forensics” (“Forensics Courses Becoming Fixtures in Classrooms,” Oct. 28, 2009). The courses referred to in your recent article are courses in “forensic science”; forensics is argumentation in a court of law. The word is also used, and has been for the past 100-plus years, to refer to debate; take, for example, the National Forensic League, a student organization and honor society for speech and debate.

At our school, we offer forensics classes that study debate, and have offered forensic-science classes that examined the physical aspects of finding evidence for use in criminal cases. Both types of courses provide students great opportunities for learning, and both have a valid place within any high school curriculum. But it is important that we not allow forensic science to overshadow an enduring and worthwhile course of study, even if popular television series seem to convince us otherwise.

Steve Brown

Grand Junction High School

Grand Junction, Colo.

A version of this article appeared in the November 11, 2009 edition of Education Week as Don’t Confuse ‘Forensics’ With ‘Forensic Science’

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