"Kids at this age should just have fun," he said. "Homeland security is not fun. It starts from a paranoid worldview, someone is attacking me and I have to defend myself. I want my son running after girls, not defending himself."
Frank Mezzanotti, magnet program coordinator for this homeland security program, says the Maryland Emergency Management Administration has invested $275,000 in the program
A large part of the program covers communications technology, which includes GIS software and technologies, Global Positioning System and satellite geo-spatial mapping. Other students specialize in law enforcement and criminal justice.
"The kids are learning what professionals know," said Beaulieu, who wants students to know how to read satellite images for signs of security threats. "We purchased a software program used professionally all over the country from SPACE STARS. It's the actual satellite program NASA uses."
Eddie Hanebuth, from the Department of Labor's National Standard Geospatial Apprenticeship Program, helped develop the curriculum.
"Students learn that location matters in several areas," he said. "When faced with limited resources, how do we respond and from which direction? [Students] will cover risk assessment, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. In each area they learn from a demonstration project, then they apply their skills and knowledge to their own community."
In the law enforcement and criminal justice component of the program, students are taught about the Constitution, criminal law and how laws are enforced. They also learn about criminal evidence collection and how the FBI and CIA operate.
The homeland-security sciences part of the program covers different biological, chemical and radiological threats.
"[Students] basically learn about different threats … how to protect yourself, what does it take to develop a gas mask," Beaulieu said. "They're also learning about the research design aspect. Everything we do, we relate it back to homeland security."