MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) – Hundreds of students at Carol City High School in Miami Gardens held a massive walk out Thursday to protest the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and the lack of an arrest in the case.
Trayvon, who was a junior at Michael Krop Senior High in Miami, attended Carol City High during his freshman and sophomore years.
At around 12:30 p.m., the Carol City High students walked out of the school, at 3422 NW 187th Street.
CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald reported that talk of the impromptu protest started about noon on Twitter, and quickly spread to Miami Northwestern high school, several miles south.
Drivers in the area were stunned as hundreds of students filled the streets and sidewalks. The walk out brought traffic to a standstill until the teenagers passed.
Students chanted “Justice for Trayvon! Justice for Trayvon!” as they marched down the streets of Miami Gardens.
According to Miami Gardens police, the Carol City High School’s principal sanctioned an on-campus peaceful demonstration to take place on the school field. However, some of the students took it upon themselves to leave campus.
“And everyone protest, but the kids took it upon themselves to keep going,” said one student.
“Yeah everyone splattered everywhere,” another student added.
The mayor of Miami Gardens Shirley Gibson watched it unfold on T.V.
“All I saw was all of these children running through the streets, through cars and I was just terrified,” she said.
The students walked for dozens of blocks and ended up at the Betty T. Ferguson Recreation Complex at 300 NW 199th Street. Miami-Dade Schools spokesman John Schuster said buses were sent to bring the kids back to school.
Police said they ensured the safety of the students and were not taking any police action.
Schuster said Carol City High’s principal JaMarv Dunn spoke with Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, who asked that students not walk out in protest. Instead, she would like them to sign petitions, take part in organized rallies and pray.
Trayvon, who lived in Miami Gardens, was killed Feb. 26th by a neighborhood watch volunteer while walking through a Sanford gated community, returning from a candy run to a 7-Eleven. The volunteer, George Zimmerman, 28, said he acted in self-defense after Martin attacked him.
The fact that Zimmerman has not been arrested has set off a firestorm of criticism.
Martin’s parents were meeting Thursday with U.S. Justice Department officials, hours before thousands of protesters were expected for a rally led by civil rights activist Al Sharpton in Sanford.
Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton were to discuss the police investigation into the shooting death of their son. The State Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case, which will be presented to a grand jury next month. However, the Justice Department earlier this week agreed to open a federal civil rights probe.
Zimmerman has claimed self-defense, and Sanford Police Department officials say there is no evidence that contradicts Zimmerman’s claim. Some neighbors in the gated community where Martin was shot have praised Zimmerman for taking a stand against crime in the neighborhood.