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From left, Ramstein High School students Jason Davidson, Darnell Beckett, Jonathan Teixeira and Caleb Guerrido wear sweat shirts with hoodies to school Tuesday  as part of a student-led peaceful demonstration called Hoodies Up. The intent, students said, was to show support for slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin by demonstrating that wearing a hoodie should not make one appear threatening.
From left, Ramstein High School students Jason Davidson, Darnell Beckett, Jonathan Teixeira and Caleb Guerrido wear sweat shirts with hoodies to school Tuesday as part of a student-led peaceful demonstration called Hoodies Up. The intent, students said, was to show support for slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin by demonstrating that wearing a hoodie should not make one appear threatening. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)
From left, Ramstein High School students Jason Davidson, Darnell Beckett, Jonathan Teixeira and Caleb Guerrido wear sweat shirts with hoodies to school Tuesday  as part of a student-led peaceful demonstration called Hoodies Up. The intent, students said, was to show support for slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin by demonstrating that wearing a hoodie should not make one appear threatening.
From left, Ramstein High School students Jason Davidson, Darnell Beckett, Jonathan Teixeira and Caleb Guerrido wear sweat shirts with hoodies to school Tuesday as part of a student-led peaceful demonstration called Hoodies Up. The intent, students said, was to show support for slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin by demonstrating that wearing a hoodie should not make one appear threatening. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)
Ramstein High School students wear hoodies to school Tuesday in support of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. Martin was wearing a hoodie when he was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Among the items Martin had on him was an Arizona iced tea and a bag of Skittles candy. The February shooting, which is under investigation, has sparked a national controversy.
Ramstein High School students wear hoodies to school Tuesday in support of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. Martin was wearing a hoodie when he was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Among the items Martin had on him was an Arizona iced tea and a bag of Skittles candy. The February shooting, which is under investigation, has sparked a national controversy. (Jennifer H. Svan/Stars and Stripes)
With his hoodie up, Ramstein High School junior Jason Davidson, 16, looks at the Skittles wrapper taped on his shirt and marked with the words, ''Am I A Threat?'' It was an idea he borrowed from RHS sophomore DaShaun Boswell. The two participated in Hoodies Up, a student-led peaceful demonstration to show solidarity with slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
With his hoodie up, Ramstein High School junior Jason Davidson, 16, looks at the Skittles wrapper taped on his shirt and marked with the words, ''Am I A Threat?'' It was an idea he borrowed from RHS sophomore DaShaun Boswell. The two participated in Hoodies Up, a student-led peaceful demonstration to show solidarity with slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. (Jennifer Svan/Stars and Stripes)
More than 230 Ramstein High School students wear hoodies as part of a student-led Hoodies Up peaceful demonstration at the school Tuesday. The students said the demonstration was motivated by the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, who was shot in February by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman told police Martin was wearing a dark hoodie and looked suspicious.
More than 230 Ramstein High School students wear hoodies as part of a student-led Hoodies Up peaceful demonstration at the school Tuesday. The students said the demonstration was motivated by the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, who was shot in February by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman told police Martin was wearing a dark hoodie and looked suspicious. (Jennifer Svan/Stars and Stripes)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — In a show of solidarity for slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, more than 230 students at Ramstein High School wore hooded sweatshirts or jackets to class Tuesday as part of a peaceful demonstration they called “Hoodies Up.”

The intent was to show that wearing a hoodie should not make a person appear threatening, said 17-year-old senior Caleb Guerrido, one of five students who came up with the idea of wearing hoodies to school.

Martin, 17, was shot Feb. 26 by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman as he walked back to the townhouse of his father’s girlfriend in the gated community of Sanford. Zimmerman, 28, told police that Martin, who was unarmed, was wearing a dark hoodie and looked “suspicious.” He claimed that when he questioned Martin, the teen jumped him and that he shot him in self defense.

The incident has sparked a national controversy. Many are angry Zimmerman hasn’t been arrested.

Martin’s killing also sent ripples outside the U.S., where it triggered discussion in the seminar class of RHS math teacher Phillis Westmoreland-Allen.

Students debated what happened to Martin and why over three classroom periods, she said.

Guerrido and juniors Darnell Beckett and Tyree Hunter, sophomore Jason Davidson and senior Jonathan Teixeira then came up with the “Hoodies Up” idea, the students said.

Since wearing a hood is against the school dress code, the students had to get the OK for the event from RHS principal Greg Hatch.

Hatch, who approved the request on condition that they get permission from their classroom teachers, said he told them that hoodies aren’t allowed in school for safety and security reasons. If something happens in the hall and a student is wearing a hoodie, it might be hard to figure out who was involved, he said.

“We haven’t had a single complaint so far,” he said Tuesday afternoon.

Students used social media to help spread the word about wearing a hoodie Tuesday.

“We never expected it to get this big,” Hunter said.

Only a handful of teachers denied requests to wear hoodies in class, students said.

A few negative comments were posted to the event invitation on a Ramstein student Facebook page, said senior Iyana Hardy, 18, with some saying Martin should never have been in that neighborhood.

“We do know that there are two sides to a story,” Hunter said. “Trayvon Martin is not here to tell his story.”

svanj@estripes.osd.mil

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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