History teacher causes controversy by dressing up as Trayvon Martin


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The Independent US

A history teacher created controversy at Heritage High School in Brentwood, California by dressing up as killed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

Long-time history teacher, Spencer Smith, donned a grey hoodie while holding a bag of Skittles, emulating Martin who was wearing a hoodie when he was shot and killed by neighbourhood watch coordinator, George Zimmerman, in February 2012 after buying a bag of skittles from a convenience store.

Zimmerman claimed self-defence in the shooting and was tried and acquitted of second-degree murder in the controversial and racially charged case in the summer of 2013. 

Zimmerman’s defence cited Florida’s “Stand your ground” laws, which allows for the use of deadly force if there is reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily harm without having to retreat first.

Alfreda Charway, the high school’s Black Student Union President, told KTVU, a news station in Oakland, California, that she thought the teacher’s decision was a good idea because the teacher was expressing himself.

“Because that’s the whole point of yearbook pictures, you’re supposed to express yourself,”Charway said.

Smith has not publicly explained why he decided to portray the slain teenager in his yearbook photo yet, but parents and students in the school have had mixed reactions to it.

“I don’t know what message he was trying to send, but I think he just wanted to draw more attention to it,” Charway said.

“I think you could take it different ways, but I think a high school yearbook as a teacher is not the place to make your stance,” parent Michelle Alameda told KTVU.

“I think it’s OK that he did it, just not in the yearbook,” sophomore Amber McKim told KTVU. “I think he can do it at his house or on his Facebook. But not in the yearbook.”

The school’s principal said he would investigate the incident before commenting on it.