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San Diego School Board To Consider Trayvon Martin Case Class Discussions

Photo by J Pat Carter

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in downtown Miami in April 2012 before George Zimmerman's arrest in connection with the death of Trayvon Martin.

The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education is scheduled tomorrow to consider whether to have staff discuss the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case with middle and high school students.

Trustees Richard Barrera and Marne Foster offered the proposal, which will be discussed at Tuesday's school board meeting.

Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder about two weeks ago in connection with the Feb. 26, 2012 fatal shooting of the 17-year-old Martin in Sanford, Fla.

The confrontation ignited debate over racism, vigilantism, self-defense and a "stand your ground'' law in Florida.

Barrera and Foster said discussions among students would allow them to speak honestly how they identify with Trayvon Martin and have feelings of fear, anger and skepticism that they will live in a just society as they prepare for the future.

The trustees also said the plan, which would be implemented by the district's Office of Race Human Relations and Advocacy, would:

— allow students to talk about the world view that prompted George Zimmerman to confront Trayvon Martin;

— help students develop perspectives and strategies to channel their feelings about Trayvon Martin into positive work for themselves and the larger community;

— allow students to speak about the "stand your ground'' laws; and

— help students learn how to deal with being confronted by others in an authoritative manner.

Barrera and Foster also said the students could learn from the decisions made by Zimmerman and Martin, and how things could have been done differently.

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