Chauvin Trial on Syllabi in North Texas Classrooms

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As the nation watched former police officer Derek Chauvin declared guilty of murder, it raised the question, how will the case play out in future history books?

Already, It’s complexities are being discussed in the classroom.

“This has been on the national consciousness for all of my students throughout the process,” said UNT political science professor Kimi Lynn King.

King said since George Floyd’s death, her students have found a greater sense of awareness about getting involved in a social movement.

Many have written letters to their political representatives calling for police reform.

“When the trial first started, I polled the students real-time in class about what their views are,” said King.

At that time, only 18% said they believed the trial would be fair. 61% believed it wouldn’t, while the remaining 21% weren’t sure.

This week, 37% of those polled felt justice had been done.

Still, about half of King’s students responded that justice was complicated.

“It’s not clear that this is a moment that will hold on to be a broader movement of change. It does feel like something is different though,” said King.

It's a rare conviction in a case King said was unique in part because of the officers who testified against one of their own.

Still, King said it's too soon to know what the next chapter will bring.

“It’ll be curious to see whether you see better community-police relations, or whether or not people get bogged down in the politics of defunding the police instead of thinking about it as, how do we get ourselves out of this?" said King.

Either way, she believes this chapter will be studied as a turning point for years to come.

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