Teacher Poses As Trayvon Martin In Yearbook, And His High School Isn't Sure How It Feels
A California high school teacher has stirred public controversy by posing as Trayvon Martin for his yearbook photo, an apparent tribute to the slain Florida teen. Spencer Smith, a history teacher at Heritage High School in the Bay Area city of Brentwood, donned a gray hoodie, a dour frown, and a bag of Skittles in hand for his year-end faculty photo, an striking image wedged between the customary rows of grinning educators. The decision has spurred a lot of discussion, largely on social media, where Heritage students took to the keyboard to voice their feelings on their teacher's tact.
It's not the first time that a member of the black community has worn a hoodie to honor the memory of Martin, and/or to implicitly criticize those who viewed his clothes as threatening. Believe it or not, that was (and continues to be) very much a thing — piling blame on Martin for his decision to wear something as suspicious or threatening as a hooded sweatshirt, as Fox News ' Geraldo Rivera did with relish.
Heritage High School students have mixed opinions about it. While many voicing support, while others seemed dubious of Smith's motives.
Smith himself hasn't publicly commented on the photo, but he's gotten a lot of press for it already. San Francisco's local Fox affiliate KTVU attempted to contact Smith about the story, but he'd already left for the day. They did, however, quote a few parents who were less than thrilled with the decision:
I think that's very inappropriate for a yearbook. This is supposed to be capturing the best moments of the year. And all positive things.
I am kind of sad about it, that it has to go be put in the yearbook.
I think you could take it different ways, but I think a high school yearbook as a teacher is not the place to make your stance.
Heritage's Black Student Union President Alfreda Charway, certainly as worthy a voice to hear on the topic as any, gave a very different take:
I think it's a good idea because he's expressing himself. Because that's the whole point of yearbook pictures, you're supposed to express yourself. ... I don't know what kind of message he was trying to send, but I think he just wanted to draw more attention to it.