A Washington State educator, the recipient of the National Teacher of the Year award, may have attempted to send a silent message of protest when she was presented the trophy by President Donald Trump Wednesday afternoon.
According to Yahoo and The Guardian, Mandy Manning, who teaches English to new refugee and immigrant students at the Newcomer Center at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, wore six left-leaning badges on her black dress at the ceremony — one with a poster for the Women’s March that followed Trump’s inauguration, one that said “Trans Equality Now,” one in the shape of an apple with a rainbow, one for the National Endowment for the Arts, one for the National Education Association and one for the Peace Corps.
As Fox News reported, Manning previously worked as a teacher in the Peace Corps in Armenia, and she also taught in Japan and in other parts of the U.S.
Trump did not mention the types of students Manning teaches during the White House ceremony honoring her and other winners.
Manning did not immediately return Fox News’ request for comment.
Manning told The Associated Press after the ceremony Wednesday that she used a private moment with Trump to give him stacks of letters written by her students and members of the Spokane community.
She said she told Trump she hoped he reads them, and she encouraged him to visit her school.
“I just had a very, very brief moment so I made it clear that the students that I teach ... are dedicated and focused,” Manning said in an interview. “They make the United States the beautiful place that it is.”
Manning said the letters convey important messages about what coming to the U.S. meant to the immigrants and refugees.
She said some letter writers also asked that the U.S. understand that it is a role model for other nations, “and that we maintain our position as peacemakers and also that all people in power, particularly the president, should be very careful about how he or anybody else in power communicates about our immigrant refugees and, frankly, any group of people.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.