Several very disturbing and horrifying incidents have been reported at Summit High School recently.
In fact, dozens of staff members have "died" in gruesome and often bizarre ways, according to students in a Forensics class at the school.
Fortunately, those students were easily able to solve the mysterious "killings" -- because the incidents were all fake, ingeniously dreamed up by the class members.
The students' efforts were on full display when the class, taught by Anoopa Advani, held a forensic crime scene photography exhibit in the school's Multi-Purpose Room on Oct. 31, complete with sometimes-gory depictions of "murders" and unfortunate "accidents."
A total of 51 staff members at the school volunteered to be "victims" for the projects, Advani said.
"Students collaborated with their volunteer staff member to simulate a crime scene that allows students to demonstrate their technical photography skills," Advani said.
As visitors came into the room, they were told, with devilish glee, the stories of what exactly transpired in the various scenarios created by the future "C.S.I." sleuths.
"It's a fun idea to do this," said Isabel Khelifa, who investigated a man who met a terrible fate due to slipping on a banana peel. "It expresses everyone's creativity, and it shows what we learned in class and how we can execute a display board."
Advani said that depending on the size of the group and type of scene, students were required to have:
• Long range photographs (street/location/building/gate/outside pics/door),
• Mid-range shots (five classroom/office, five body shots) and
• Close up/extreme close up shots.
One particularly bloody crime scene, titled the "Killer Fan," was concocted by students Jaquelyn Rosenbrock, Alejandra Montes, Hannah Fahel, Jasmin Gonzalez, and Amelie Oden. A woman who was trying to escape her attacker got her hair caught in a fan, and when she reached back to try to free her hair, the fan blades cut off her fingers. To celebrate the occasion, her assailant drank the blood from the fingers (and the students offered samples of that "blood" for visitors to taste as well).
"This year 80 percent of my students are female and it has been wonderful to see the growing interest in pursuing a career in law enforcement and criminal justice," Advani said.
This is the second year that Forensics is being offered at Summit, and there is now an Advanced Forensics class. The program was initiated at Fontana Adult School last year.
Advani, who is in her 16th year of teaching in the Fontana Unified School District, previously was a biology teacher, but she always had a personal interest in crime scene investigation, and so she pursued her CSI certification at UC Riverside. She has patrolled with the Fontana Police Department and is currently a Fontana P.D. volunteer.
"I collaborate with Fontana P.D. and other law enforcement professionals (such as homicide detectives, district attorneys, coroner investigators, CHP, etc.) to come in as guest speakers," she said. "Chief Billy Green and the rest of the Fontana Police Department have always been very supportive of my program. My students have even visited the police station as well for tours."
Interacting with the professionals has been enjoyable for the students, but there's no doubt that the best part of the class was showcasing their macabre talents on a highly appropriate day. Just ask Madison Gregory, whose project portrayed "The Elevator Death."
"It's fun to be able to create a crime scene just in time for Halloween," she said.