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Trayvon Martin Case Presents Opportunities, Risks for Teachers

In an Education Week Commentary, educators Jeffrey P. Carpenter and Scott Weathers argue that the Trayvon Martin case, in which a 17-year-old African-American youth was killed by a neighborhood-watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla., is an imperative teachable moment:

Yes, the Trayvon Martin case is controversial. ... However, the nature of the case is precisely why it needs to be talked about in classrooms. It encapsulates so many elements of our society that teenagers want and need to discuss: race, justice, law enforcement, the media, and the kind of country we want the United States to be. There is no better place than the classroom to tackle such weighty topics. Saying nothing about such an important case is not being neutral; rather, it is avoiding the responsibility to model thoughtful engagement with current events and society.

Meanwhile, Teaching Tolerance is bringing attention to the case of a middle school charter school teacher in Pontiac, Mich., who was reportedly suspended and then fired last month in connection with a request to help her students organize a fundraiser for Martin's family.

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