OAKLAND (USA Today) — George Hofstetter stands on stage in a black hoodie, a confident 14-year-old with a wiry frame and bright brown eyes.
He’s handed a microphone and 60 seconds to pitch his idea: a mobile app to help African-American teens like himself feel less nervous around police officers.
The app will have tips — the digital equivalent of “the talk” Hofstetter hears regularly at home, the one that reminds him to keep his hands in sight at all times and to be polite and respectful.
His mom took him to meet the police chief in his hometown of San Leandro, Calif., but this ninth-grader who dreams of studying computer science at UCLA and one day running his own technology company still gets “extremely nervous.” He doesn’t want any more kids ending up like Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen shot and killed in Ferguson, Mo., by a white police officer.
“It’s happened so much where kids like me have died because they’ve been shot by police officers,” Hofstetter says.