Minnesota's Teacher Of The Year Takes A Knee During The National Anthem At College Football Championship
She also skipped the White House ceremony in April honoring the recipients.
January 17, 2020 at 4:56 pm
As all the 2019 “Teacher of The Year” honorees lined up during the national anthem at the NCAA football championship game on Monday, Kelly Holstine stood up for her students by kneeling.
The ceremony to honor the educators took place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were in attendance, reports ABC.
Holstine, an English and language arts teacher at Tokata Learning Center in Shakopee, Minnesota, chose to kneel during the national anthem “to stand up for marginalized and oppressed people," according to her tweet."Like many before, I respectfully kneeled during Nat’l Anthem because, 'No one is free until we are all free,'" she wrote.
Potatoes hated on Holstine's decision to protest.
Honored as State Teachers of the Year at NCAA Champ FB Game. Given platform to stand up for marginalized and oppressed people. Like many before, I respectfully kneeled during Nat’l Anthem because, “No one is free until we are all free” (MLK). #imwithkap #blacklivesmatter #LGBTQ pic.twitter.com/DimP3pBtBn— Kelly D. Holstine (she/her) (@kellydholstine) January 14, 2020
But many championed the educator.
Kelly Holstine, Minnesota’s “Teacher of the Year”, kneeled for the National Anthem at the #NationalChampionship to protest Trump.— The Potato (@Potato51194507) January 17, 2020
She said it was because of injustices.
You’re white, well off, married to a woman, and live in the freest country on the planet. But yeah, injustice. pic.twitter.com/0AFpOXcBNM
Today I will be listening to "Educators must be more than allies" as one of my running lectures. I'm already impressed by Kelly Holstine, teacher of the year, taking a knee. I'm want to hear what she has to say— Louise Fair (@LouiseFair4) January 17, 2020
Brava, Kelly Holstine !!— richard hench (@richardhench) January 17, 2020
Much respect to Kelly Holstine this is real Teacher of the Year behavior she is teaching us all to take stand for that which is right even when it is not popular to do it. How appropriate as we prepare to honor MLK! https://t.co/ZTcLXtVrS4— Mel Reeves (@mellaneous1) January 17, 2020
“The words and practices and policies of this administration have been filled with a lot of hate toward the LGBTQ community, so I didn't feel comfortable in that environment," Holstine told The Hill.
She said many of her students, who include Somali refugees and some who identify as transgender, are affected by the Trump administration.
"I thought long and hard about what I felt was right to do in my heart. My students deserved to be stood up for," she said.
In October 2019, Holstine gave a TED Talk titled "Educators must be more than allies." Speaking on her own experience growing up, she asked teachers to be advocates for students who face injustice and bullying in the classroom.
“Supporting is not enough. We also need to be willing to leave our comfort zones and stand up for all of the human beings who are being marginalized or oppressed," she said. “Many of our students are scared and in pain and since they don’t have the same fully developed brains, resources or support systems that we have, then it is up to us to step into our own discomfort so that we can help them.”
The CCSSO, which facilitates the Teacher of the Year program, said in a statement to ABC News that Holstine's protest on Monday hadn't been coordinated with the program's organizers.
"The Council of Chief State School Officers appreciates the opportunity for outstanding teachers to be recognized on the national stage," the statement read. "The decision by an individual State Teacher of the Year was not coordinated by the National Teacher of the Year program or CCSSO.”
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