Putting Education Reform To The Test

Feedback Loop: Reaction To Trayvon Martin

Gerardo Mora / Getty News Images

Attendees at a town hall meeting hold up a photo of slain teen Trayvon Martin.

The nation is talking about the death of Trayvon Martin in a gated Florida community Feb. 26, and that discussion included StateImpact Florida as well.

Many of the comments to our coverage this week dealt with Martin’s suspension from school at the time he was shot by a volunteer neighborhood watch leader. Some readers have pulled the Miami-Dade school district’s policies to argue that Martin’s suspension indicates some sort of serious offense.

Update on 3/26 at 1:38 p.m. — Martin family attorney confirms suspension for drugs.

The Martin family attorney has confirmed Trayvon Martin was suspended because he had an empty plastic bag with traces of marijuana, according to the Miami Herald

Our original post from 3/23 at 3:15 p.m.

We don’t yet know why Martin was suspended. The family has said only that his offense was not violent, while a teacher said Martin was suspended for being late too many times.

There are also conflicting reports about the length of Martin’s suspension. The Orlando Sentinel has reported Martin received a five-day suspension, while the Miami Herald reported a 10-day suspension.

On to the comments, but a reminder: Let’s keep things civil and the language clean; let’s stick to the facts; and let’s remember the families on both sides dealing with this still-unfolding case.

Reader Krop School Hero believed the media coverage has not accurately portrayed Krop Senior High School, which Martin attended:

I’m sorry to say, but SOO many people are uninformed ignorant morons. Everyone is believing EVERYTHING the media is saying. I actually GO to this school and I am happy to tell you that several teachers have made announcements in class saying that if anyone has any problems, they are encouraged to see one of the many counselors we have on campus. Our principal even said during our moment of silence (which was made before this article was written, obviously) that if anyone had any problems to go to the counselors. Our school is going through a hard time. We have reporters outside our school, rumors going around and that is how the media receives this false information!! … Please people, get your facts straight before you talk bad about our school.

I really hope the media can see this comment I’m writing because it’s really bringing the overall attitude of our school down. A fellow classmate was wrongfully gunned down, and it’s taking a toll on all of us. So please, do not make accusations without knowing the facts. Thank You.

Sujag92 argues the suspension — for whatever reason — is not relevant to the circumstances of Martin’s death:

do you really believe knowing “why” Trayvon was suspended would be helpful for the readers to understand his senseless killing? If he was suspended for fighting would that justify George Zimmerman’s actions? If he was suspended for missing too many days at school would that justify George Zimmerman’s actions? If he was suspended for any of the numerous offenses that warrant suspension, would that further justify George Zimmerman’s actions? As a parent of a 17 year old who would have probably reacted as Trayvon did to a stranger questioning who he was and why he was there, the blatant justification of the killing scares me. My son would have taken offense to a stranger following him. I believe my son would have approached George Zimmerman to ask why he was being followed. It is my opinion that George Zimmerman could have stated, we have had multiple break-ins within the past 15 months. I have never seen you before and I am the Neighborhood Watch Captain. I want to make sure that you are here visiting with someone. That simple sentence would have changed the outcome.

So back to my original question, do you really believe knowing why Trayvon was suspended is important to the facts of this case?

Kanisha J argues the school does have a role to play dealing with student grief:

While it is not holistically the responsibility of the school to recognize loss, they have a part. There was never a student death at my school that was not annouced within a timely matter. Additionally, it takes a community to raise a child. The family, church, school, family of friends, media, every thing that contributes to the society has a part, that doesn’t mean the school can pass their duty. Additionally, lets be real. How the heck can I focus in my science class, if I feel conflicted or troubled on the inside, if I don’t feel safe or accepted in my own skin?

Reader reaction is an important part of building StateImpact Florida’s education coverage. Feedback Loop will be a regular feature highlighting your questions, criticisms and comments.


  • it was 10 days, and he had multiple, with multiple unexcused absences. all somebody has to do is verify this with his attendance record of M-DCPS. 10 day suspensions are rare, and must follow the Code of Student Conduct. 10 day suspensions are ONLY for sseriously violent acts.

    • Anonymous

       What are you talking about? No child left behind says absolutely nothing about giving suspensions to kids who are consistently tardy. That code of conduct manual you posted only mentions tardiness once, and all that it says is that students have the right to know about punishments for tardiness. You aparently aren’t that well versed in school law.

      • well, actually the new claim is tresspassing which can fall under a Level 3 offense from 1 to 10 days. I don’t believe it because it just seemed like the most convenient and least offensive out of all the offenses listed. the tardy claim was a lie, and the father said it was for tresspassing. he may have been tardy and had a lot of unexcused absences, but if you understand what the term “No Child Left Behind” means, you will understand that no child shall be denied an education for friviolous issues.

  • btw, I provided you with a more recent pic of Trayvon.

    • David

      Everyone is trying to make this trial racial just because the outcome wasn’t what they wanted to hear. It was a fair and legal trial whether it came out like you wanted or not. So I guess now whenever someone is disappointed by the outcome of a trial they are watching we are all suppose to riot and loot just because we are upset. Why don’t go back and retry O.J. Simpson, I didn’t like the way it came out and everyone with a brain knew he was guilty. Actually it was a “white hate crime” because both victims were white. He was allowed to smile and grin and his lawyers laughing and slapping him on his back when he won. George Zimmerman had to stand there stonefaced because he didn,t want people to think he was glad of the outcome. Come on people, grow up and act mature about this. Everone is tired of the race card being played everytime things don’t go the way people think it should.

  • Trayvon

  • Trayvon

    • Michael

      Thanks for posting recent pics of Trayvon, instead of the baby-face 10-12 year old child in the pics that the parents have given to the media.  Guess they want to make him look as innocent as they possible can.

    • guest

      Looks totally different with gold teeth, doesn’t he?  Not so childish as he’s being portrayed. 

  • Elizabeth Baron

    I can’t believe how this Mark OMara is spinning and trying this case in public.
    It seems so unfair. George Zimmerman is a criminal and is a dangerous threat
    to society, since he took the life of a person, playing cop and not even identifying
    himself.  I am amazed at how the media is buying Mark’s spin.

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