The National Teacher of the Year Turned Her Ceremony With Trump Into a Protest

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This year’s National Teacher of the Year also deserves an award for finding a way to protest Donald Trump at the same time he was honoring her.


For the last six years, Mandy Manning has been teaching refugee and immigrant students at the Newcomer Center at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington.

But when Trump introduced Manning at a ceremony honoring her on Wednesday, he just said she taught English and math, conveniently leaving out the specific group of students she worked with. (Hmm, wonder why...)

Manning, however, decided to let the world know what she stood for by prominently wearing several political buttons. Among them: a “Trans Equality Now” button, a Peace Corps button, and one featuring a Latinx woman from artwork created to protest “the rising power of nationalism, bigotry, and intolerance.”

After the event, Manning said she handed the president 45 letters from her immigrant students.

One of the letters came from a female Rwandan immigrant student who urged Trump to “take care” of his language about immigrant and refugee communities, according to Politico.

Trump reportedly referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and some African nations as “shithole countries” in January.


The Rwandan student told Trump “that she hopes he would model for others positive messaging around our immigrant and refugee communities.”

Manning told CNN she aimed “to elevate my student’s voices and be that vehicle for them.” She said she also wanted to “send a message—to not only my immigrant and refugee students but the LGBT community—that they are wanted, they are loved, they are enough, and they matter.”

Senior staff writer