Washington County students enroll in new criminal justice program

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CHIPLEY, Fla. (WMBB) — Chipley High School students can already take a variety of electives and now you can add criminal justice operations to that list.

Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy, Dakota Jarvis, said he took a similar class when was younger and wanted to give the same opportunity to kids in the school district.

Freshman Ja’corian Guster is enrolled in the new program. He said he hopes the curriculum helps him on his journey to becoming an attorney.

“So I thought it would be a good opportunity to see what it was and if I didn’t like it you know switch out beforehand but I’ve liked it so far,” Guster said.

He said his favorite part of the class was in their discussion posts.

“It opens room for arguments and discussions about why you think this about one thing, why you think differently, and just you know it’s interactive and it’s just good opportunities,” Guster said.

Chipley High School Principal, Alicia Clemmons, said it’s important to cater to students with different interests.

“To be able to just gear to those students who are interested in criminal law or criminal justice system at all levels it’s wonderful,” Clemmons said.

The program is taught by Jarvis, who is also the head of the Sheriff’s office Youth Explorer Program. He said the class isn’t designed to recruit kids into law enforcement.

“It’s designed to give them an education in a topic that’s very sensitive to society today,” Jarvis said.

He said the new class has already been a success.

“In the first few testing, that we’ve had over the chapters, kids are having really high passing rates, they’re retaining the information, they’re engaged,” Jarvis said.

The program is four years with the potential for dual enrollment at Florida State University of Panama City — a first for students in the Washington County school district.

“I have a few kids who are interested in being attorneys in criminal defense or working at the State Attorney’s office,” Jarvis said. “They’ll have that college option with Florida State.”

Jarvis said the dual enrollment courses will be available by Summer 2022. For upperclassmen who enrolled this year, the dual enrollment option will be made available for them because this is the first year of the program.

He also anticipates the program will expand to Vernon next year.

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