WUFT News

How Trayvon Martin’s high school reacted to his public death

By on March 22nd, 2012

By Sarah Gonzalez – WLRN

Students at Trayvon Martin's high school (photo courtesy of WLRN)

It’s been almost a month since self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin — an unarmed black teenager.  Martin’s death has inspired a national debate about race and justice.  But at Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School, where Trayvon Martin was an 11th grader — yesterday was the first time his death was announced publicly.  StateImpact Florida reporter Sarah Gonzalez has more:’

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Ashley Aristide went to school with Trayvon Martin.

“I’ve known him since 7th grade. We’re really good friends. Every time I see him he would smile.”

She had a t-shirt showing Trayvon with angel wings under the letters RIP.  She’s having a hard time coping with her friend’s death.

“(Crying) I think it’s frustrating. He’s dead and his killer isn’t even arrested, it just doesn’t make sense to me. (crying) I just really want justice to be served in this case because it’s not fair.”

At the school, for more than three-weeks, Air-ih-steed says no one in the administration was talking to students about Trayvon.  When asked if anyone made any kind of announcement for students who are grieving to get a referral to a counselor:

Ashley:  “No they haven’t done anything like that.”

The school didn’t publicly announce Trayon Martin’s death campus-wide until today…. and only after StateImpact Florida started asked about this.  The school’s principal held a moment of silence for the slain student and in an email told teachers to refer students who looked like they were grieving to counselors.

At the time of his death Trayvon Martin was suspended from the school. The teen’s family and the school have refused to comment on the reason for the suspension.  In other emails the school principal asked teachers to refrain from speaking to the media about Trayvon because he was a minor.  He asked teachers to refrain from long conversations about Trayvon.  But Ashley Airihsteed says students are talking about it in class anyway.

“You can’t help it. It’s something that happened. He went to our school.”

School officials handled other student deaths much differently.  Last year another student at the high school, Christopher Belle, died after being hit by a car.  The school orchestra collected donations for Belle’s family and a slideshow of Belle was shown at a performance.

“It was definitely different from what they are doing for Trayvon now, which is nothing. But it’s simpler to deal with something the way Chritopher Belle died and the way Trayvon died.”

A spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade school declined to be interviewed on tape. She said there is a protocol for dealing with any crisis that affects students, whether it’s a student death or a hurricane.  The principal calls the district. The district calls a crisis team. And members of the crisis team go into the school.  It may be a psychologist who can talk to grieving students about a loss. It may be an advocate who can provide clothing for students who lost their belongings in fire.

The district says there no set deadline for when a crisis team goes into a school.  Some question whether schools should be involved in dealing with student deaths at all.  Alison Austin regularly works with youths experiencing trauma at the Belafonte Tacolcy youth center in Miami.

“Should it be addressed in the schools? I don’t really know if it should or not. I think its important for us to recognize loss. But I don’t know how fair it is to put that holistic responsibility on schools.”

A science teacher at the school, Carlos Montero, said he doesn’t bring up Trayvon’s death in class because It’s “not related to the curriculum.”  And when another teacher avoided the discussion in advanced History, Ashley said it felt like a strange omission.

“It’s a history class so we’re encouraged to watch the news, see what’s going on and its all over the news so how can you avoid it?”

After the schools moment of silence, some students took to Twitter to show their frustration about the delay.  One tweeted: “I hate my school. Krop waited too long to acknowledge the situation of Trayvon.”

A group of students will wear hoodies to school tomorrow in honor of Trayvon Martin… who was wearing a hoodie when he died.


This entry was posted in Crime, Florida and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Crime

Transparency Database Stats

Department of Corrections launches Inmate Death Database

The Department of Corrections launched a Transparency Database on all Florida inmate deaths from the last 14 years. The database, launched Sept. 9, shows the status of investigations and the manner of death. According to Jessica Cary, Director of the [...]


UF Self-Defense Device Rules Relaxed in Wake of Assaults

University of Florida students are taking safety into their own hands. Students are becoming more cautious about their daily routines and surroundings since three assaults occurred on or near UF’s campus over the last couple of weeks. According to the UF [...]


Bullet holes are visible in the side of the house as police investigate the incident that injured two children.

Two Children Injured in Drive by Shooting in Marion County

Two children were injured in a drive-by shooting in Ocala on Friday at around 2:10 a.m. The children are currently in stable condition.


Investigation Finds One Of The Four Attacks Unfounded

Earlier today investigators with the Gainesville Police Department declared one of four recent attacks on female students on the University of Florida’s campus unfounded. On Sept. 5, a female student at the University of Florida reported to UF police that [...]


fb_blurred

FSU Graduate Impersonated On Facebook Seeks Answers

Florida State University graduate Kyle Leonard first learned he was being impersonated on Facebook over one year ago. Now, he has learned the impersonator may be connected to a Boynton Beach man under investigation by the FBI.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments