True crime class kicks off its first year


Photo by Naeha Muralikrishnan

Junior Jezzel Renderos watches a true crime video on the bus on Mar. 21.

From television shows to podcasts to documentaries, the subject of true crime remains an obsession among people of all ages. Through different forms of media, people can learn about cases from a safe place. The popularity of true crime has exploded recently with the controversial Netflix series Dahmer, which depicted the life of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. A more recent example was the Idaho house murders, in which four college students were murdered in their home near the University of Idaho. Theories developed across social media in an attempt to solve the mystery of who committed the crime.

Exploring this subject, the school’s true crime class was introduced to the course bulletin this year and is taught by English teacher Catherine Boswell. “I enjoy true crime myself, and over the years, my students and I have discussed different cases. It seemed like a natural fit to offer it as a class,” Boswell said.

In the class, students have participated in projects such as researching and presenting crimes and are beginning to create their own podcast. “My favorite assignment has been a mini research project about the Matchstick girls in the 1880s. I thought it was interesting because it involved women fighting for their rights and the case was terrifying because some of the women developed phossy jaw,” junior Natasha Thamungruxsat said.

Students learn about different crimes weekly, such as kidnappings or theft. “Depending on the week, we may be listening to a podcast and using the discussion board to interact with it. On other days I might introduce a crime, and then the students will research and present their findings,” Boswell said.

In addition, students participate in discussions to enhance their critical thinking skills. “Most of our discussions are about the intricacies of crimes: the ‘who done it’ if you will. Students engage in critical thinking and use their peers to develop their own thoughts,” Boswell said.

Because most assignments can be completed in class, the class is not homework-heavy. “I like how laid back the class is, but it also keeps me engaged in interesting crimes. I joined the class to understand more about crimes since I’m aiming to major in criminology,” Thamungruxsat said.

What makes true crime interesting? Although it can be morbid, it shows an innate human desire to solve mysteries and understand the psychological reasoning behind criminals and the crimes they commit. According to Time, true crime is fascinating because it stimulates fear in a safe environment and allows the audience to deliberate who committed the crime if it was unsolved.

Anyone who is interested in true crime or podcasts should take this class. It is a great way to expand your critical thinking skills”

— Catherine Boswell

As true crime maintains dominance over mainstream media, students continue to explore the subject and its real life implications. “I research true crime because I like to know what to avoid so that I don’t become a victim as well,” senior Sia Badri said.

True crime will continue to be available for those interested in taking the course. “Anyone who is interested in true crime or podcasts should take this class. It is a great way to expand your critical thinking skills,” Boswell said.