COE faculty to discuss Trayvon Martin case, racial prejudice Wednesday at law school event

With the controversial Trayvon Martin trial coming up in June in Sanford, two UF College of Education professors will participate in a special spring lecture and panel discussion on Wednesday, March 20, to discuss the racial aspects of the case from several different angles.

It has been just over a year since Martin, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a white Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer, in Sanford. The incident is once again making headlines with Zimmerman’s looming trial date.

UF’s Levin College of Law will host “At Close Range: The Curious Case of Travyon Martin” as the Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations’ 10th annual spring lecture and panel discussion. The March 20th event will cover the legal, social and cultural questions raised by the case.

Education professors Elizabeth Bondy and Dorene Ross will host a session at 10:45 a.m. titled “Learning and Unlearning Racial Prejudice: The Role of Schools.” They will present education research about school systems’ roles in reinforcing racial prejudice, as well as strategies that counter stereotyped messages.

“I am drawn to this case because it intersects with issues I confront daily in my work with university faculty, students, and school-based educators,” Bondy said. “We in education must examine ourselves and the systems in which we work to understand the role we play in teaching white students to fear black male youth.”

Bondy is the director of the College of Education’s School of Teaching and Learning. Both she and Ross are professors in curriculum, teaching and teacher education.

“I hope people will walk away with insight into how current directions in national education policy reinforce stereotypical and racist perspectives about black youth and some ideas about other ways we could think about national policy if racial equity were really a national priority,” Ross said.

All panels will take place between 9 a.m. and noon March 20 at the law school’s Chesterfield Smith Ceremonial Classroom (HOL 180). For more information, visit