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'Teacher of the Year' Kneels in Protest during National Anthem at Championship Football Game Attended By Trump

Will Maule | Contributor | Friday, January 17, 2020
'Teacher of the Year' Kneels in Protest during National Anthem at Championship Football Game Attended By Trump

'Teacher of the Year' Kneels in Protest during National Anthem at Championship Football Game Attended By Trump

A recognized Minnesota teacher has said she doesn’t regret kneeling during the national anthem at Monday’s NCAA football championship game.

Kelly Holstine, the esteemed recipient of Minnesota's 2019 "Teacher of the Year” award, emulated controversial NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, by taking a knee in protest against the Trump administration.

“I just decided that it felt like the right thing to do, to have a very respectful protest," Holstine told The Hill Wednesday, arguing that too many communities are being isolated and oppressed by the President’s policies and rhetoric.

“I think the current environment that is being created and has been created in his tenure definitely adds to my feelings of wanting to support individuals who are not being supported," she said. "I really feel like our country is not serving the needs of all its inhabitants ... so many humans right now that are not being given the respect and the rights that they deserve."

On Twitter, Holstine posted an image of herself kneeling on the field as the President and First Lady stood to observe the national anthem. “Honored as State Teachers of the Year at NCAA Champ FB Game. Given platform to stand up for marginalized and oppressed people,” Holstine wrote. “Like many before, I respectfully kneeled during Nat’l Anthem because, “No one is free until we are all free” (MLK).”

The controversial educator noted that she was simply seeking to exercise her First Amendment rights and stand up for “students and for vulnerable adults and for people who are not treated in the way that they should be.”

According to ABC News, Holstine, a seasoned activist, delivered a TED Talk in October 2019 titled "Educators must be more than allies."

During her speech, she urged people to "stand up for all of the human beings who are being marginalized or oppressed."

"Allies are wonderful and we need them, but it is not enough for educators to just be allies," the educator added. "We need them to be advocates too."

Not everyone agreed with her kneeling gesture, however. “What a disgraceful disrespect to our country, flag, and service men and women!” one person replied on Twitter. “Glad you won’t ever teach my kids,” another added.

Last year, Holstine declined to attend a White House ceremony for the national teacher of the year award as a show of protest against Trump’s education policies.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox/Staff


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Will Maule is a British journalist who has spent the past several years working as a digital news editor. Since earning a degree in international relations and politics, Will has developed a particular interest in covering ethical issues, human rights and global religious persecution. Will's work has been featured in various outlets including The Spectator, Faithwire, CBN News, Spiked, The Federalist and Christian Headlines. Follow him on Twitter at @WillAMaule.