African-American parents talk with sons about how to deal with police

WATCH: ABC7's Roz Plater talks with African-American parents.

The Trayvon Martin shooting death has created a lot of controversy.

It's also been a powerful reminder to some African-American parents to have the reality-check talk with their kids their own parents had with them.

Some parents tell ABC7 they have to talk with their sons about how to behave if they're stopped by an authority figure like a police officer.

Walter Kirkland says it's potentially life saving advice his parents gave him. And he's now passing it on to his sons, ages 15 and 11.

"I tell them to be professional," Kirkland says. "Say, 'Officer what did I do?' Try to be courteous and listen. Their hands should be at their sides like mine, not in their pockets. Because from an angle it could look like they have a gun."

Marvin Tucker, a parent-coach at Surrattsville High School, says he's telling his players to quit wearing the droopy drawers and the hoodies.

"It's unfair the way they are stereotyped, but we've got to change something and stay safe," Tucker says.

But that may be a hard sell for teens.

"That's crazy," says Christian Holmes, a student. He says he wouldn't stop wearing a hoodie. "No, but I will be more aware of my surroundings...and be more alert."

Some parents are asking how young is too young to have that talk. One mother on Facebook today wrote she's considering talking to her first grader.