Never Underestimate the Power of a Teacher

Mandy Manning, winner of this year’s National Teacher of the Year Award, used her acceptance ceremony to silently protest the president, Betsy DeVos, as well as the administration and its policies.

As she accepted the award, she wore six political buttons, each with a specific message for the president and the Secretary of Education.

Manning also refused to clap as the president entered the room.

According to variousreports, the buttons she wore included a photo of the poster used during the international Women’s March, a pin reading “Trans Equality Now,” and a rainbow flag.

Manning teaches refugee and immigrant students at the “Newcomer Center” at Joel E. Ferris High School in Washington.

She reportedly hand-delivered a large number of letters written by her students as well as residents of Spokane to the president after the ceremony and invited him to speak to her class.

“My goal is to share my student’s stories. But 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.” – Manning

It is widely believed that the president did not notice the buttons, as he had this to say about Manning:

“Her incredible devotion has earned her the adoration — total adoration, actually — and respect of students and colleagues throughout her school district, community and the entire state. Teachers like Mandy play a vital role in the well-being of our children, the strength of our communities and the success of our nation,”

This award ceremony took place at a time when teachers are striking throughout the U.S. to demand better pay and more funding for their schools, including teachers in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Oklahoma and West Virginia, and with rumblings of a similar movement simmering in North Carolina.

Manning’s award was given only days after DeVos met with the entire group of teachers nominated for the award and was met with disapproval and criticism – you can see video footage of the meeting here.

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