San Diego students to discuss Trayvon Martin case - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego students to discuss Trayvon Martin case

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego Unified School District staff Tuesday night unveiled to the Board of Education a plan to conduct discussions with middle and high school students regarding the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman shooting case at a series of meetings starting next month.

The first will be a two-hour town hall meeting on Nov. 5 at the Eugene Brucker Education Center about the impact of the events that led to Zimmerman being acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with the Feb. 26, 2012, fatal shooting of the 17-year-old Martin in Sanford, Fla., as it related to the community and the school district.

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

Trustee Scott Barnett called Martin's death "beyond unimaginable horror for the family," but said it led to "the most recent spark of a nationwide discussion -- maybe not always productive discussions -- over the issues surrounding it."

District officials said students and parents would have the chance to speak with members of organizations that could include the city's Human Relations Commission, NAACP, Anti-Defamation League and San Diego County District Attorney's Office, along with Assemblywoman Shirley Webber and other panelists.

The meeting will be divided into 25-minute segments that address subjects including policies, procedures and laws and creating change, and a 20-minute closing to set the next steps, according to district staff.

Executive Director of District Relations Moises Aguirre said the goal was to "offer a forum for students to have the ability to have a conversation that's a very sensitive conversation, but to allow it to happen in a safe environment where there can be adults who are very skilled in conducting and facilitating the conversation, so the energy and emotions that are there can be channeled in a constructive and productive manner."

A second phase of meetings at high schools will follow, which will feature a set of guiding questions on point of view, perspective and evidence designed to create dialogue among middle and high school students and parents as it relates to their experiences of being profiled.

High school students would be trained to co-moderate, and the panel discussion could include student rights, conflict resolution, decision making and procedures on organized demonstrations in the discussion.

The board adopted a resolution in July directing staffers to initiate dialogues with middle and high school students regarding the case.

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