SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Though it's been almost a month since George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, it was just this week that the high school he attended announced his death. That got Miami students talking and organizing. Sarah Gonzalez of member station WLRN explains what happened next.
SARAH GONZALEZ, BYLINE: Students yesterday walked out of class at more than 30 Miami schools to protest Trayvon Martin's death.
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CHANTERS: (Chanting) We want justice. We want justice. We want justice.
GONZALEZ: At some schools protesters numbered more than a thousand. Others, less than a hundred. And some teachers and principals gave their tacit consent.
ALANA COREUS: Everyone feels like what they're doing is right because everyone is walking around with their Skittles, their hoodies and they feel like they're making a stand.
GONZALEZ: That's 12th grade student Alana Coreus. She says students aren't worried about getting punished for walking out of class. Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho says each school will have to decide for itself whether to discipline students.
ALBERTO CARVALHO: I think we have demonstrated passion and compassion, understanding. We don't decree discipline from downtown.
GONZALEZ: The superintendent says Martin's parents have urged students to stay in class. Some of Treyvon's former classmates, like Mercury Duncan, are honoring that request.
MERCURY DUNCAN: Walking out is not really, not really doing anything, it's not going to bring him back, not making his mom feel any way because she asked us not to walk out. What we're doing, you know, it could kind of comfort her.
GONZALEZ: Students at the school are writing letters to Trayvon and his family linking them together and creating what they call a chain of life around the school campus. According to the school district, Trayvon Martin's death was not initially announced to his classmates because his parents asked for privacy. An internal school email shows the principal asked teachers to refrain from lengthy conversations about Trayvon.
Ashley Airihsteed, says her history teacher avoided the subject when it came up in class.
ASHLEY AIRIHSTEED: I'm pretty sure the school just really doesn't want to have that like that much commotion within the school, 'cause then learning in that environment will be pretty hard.
GONZALEZ: Eventually, the school decided to do something. The principal called for a moment of silence more than three weeks after Trayvon's death. Frustrated by the delay, some students took to social media and began organizing the walkouts. Their online activism continues. This coming Monday, Trayvon Martin's former classmates are planning to dress in black to mark the one-month that has passed since his death.
For NPR News, I'm Sarah Gonzalez, in Miami.
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SIMON: And that story comes to us from StateImpact Florida, a collaboration between NPR and member stations.
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