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Navigating the News – Teaching Students About the Use of Excessive Force

Hello from Mason, Ohio! I am a member of the product team at Cengage. We are currently exploring ways that we can bring criminal justice to life through current events and newsfeeds. One local story here in the Cincinnati area that is garnering national media attention is the case of Officer Ray Tensing, who was charged with murder and voluntary manslaughter of Sam DuBose during a traffic stop. Local urban schools and businesses even closed early on the final day of the trial, in anticipation of results. Local government officials feared that riots would erupt as they did here in 2001. Jurors could not reach a unanimous result, and a new trial is scheduled.


Given the complexity of these news stories – dramatic incidents that affect us deeply and personally – I am wondering how instructors even begin unpack them in the classroom.


  1. How do you approach these stories with your students?
  2. How do you ensure students are seeking and hearing all sides of the story to reach their own educated conclusion?

Sam DuBose shooting, Ray Tensing trial ends in mistrial - CBS News

Ray Tensing trial: Judge issues gag order - Story -


Kristen Hurd

Marketing Director

Frequent Commenter

It is always difficult to present a true and actual representation of the facts in cases with national notority.  Often the information available is incomplete at best and biased at worst.  As an educator, it's important to maintain your neutrality.  Your role should be to guide the discussion and help the students to separate fact from assumption and arrive at their own conclusions using critical thinking skills.  The "You Decide" scenarios available in MindTap are very useful tools in helping the students to develop the skills they need to properly analyze real world case studies. 


Thank you, Scott. Very helpful insight! I can imagine it may be difficult to remain neutral if one is very passionate about a particular topic. One of our instructors mentioned that he tries to gather video footage from multiple angles and perspectives so that students can analyze all points-of-view regarding police incidents. This helps us reach the goal of finding truth and seeking justice. It also builds critical thinking skills.