Friday morning saw a walkout by students at high schools across South Florida in mass protest about the lack of an arrest in the case of Trayvon Martin’s shooting. At nine a.m. on Friday children could be seen pouring out of school buildings and a spokesman for Broward County Public Schools, Nadine Drew, said that the protests were organized with the support of school staff.
“For the most part they are being organized and are being supported by the school family as an outpouring show of support,” she said. “I think the reaction is similar to the national reaction. I don’t think our students are any different than others.”
The protests were not as welcomed by all schools, however:
“While we respect the expression of emotion by our students, we ask that they remain focused on their education,” said Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho. “Our most important mission is to provide a safe learning environment for students, and so we are asking them to respect the wishes of Trayvon’s mother by celebrating his memory not through walkouts, but through reflection and civic participation.”
Trayvon Martin was a student at Dr Michael M. Krop Senior High School and was shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman a month ago while visiting his father in a gated community. Trayvon was unarmed, but Mr. Zimmerman has claimed self-defense, and so far no charges have been filed in the case.
A rally took place in Sanford on Monday where thousands gathered to hear Martin’s parent confront city leaders. The case has garnered national attention and the lack of an arrest over what many call the murder of an unarmed African-American youth has made it a national cause with Rev Al Sharpton, Rev Jesse Jackson and President Obama all joining in.
In Washington, D.C., hundreds rallied in the rain Saturday, a day after President Obama issued a highly personal message to Trayvon’s parents, saying, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon. I think they are right to expect that all of us, as Americans, are going to treat this with the seriousness it deserves, and that we are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.”