Kentucky 'Teachers Of The Year' Ignored White House Event Protesting Against Trump

"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 said.
In a clear protest against US President Donald Trump's education policies, two state Teachers Of The Year have snubbed a formal ceremony at the White House on April 29.

The two teachers -- Dueñas, a teacher for Jefferson County Public Schools and Minnesota's teacher of the year, Kelly Holstine, sat out the event that took place on Monday at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.
Kentucky 'Teachers Of The Year' Ignored White House Event Protesting Against Trump
Holstine believes that her students, that includes Somali refugees, at an alternative high school in Minnesota are being impacted by Trump administration's rhetoric and policies in schools. "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, who is gay, told The Hill.

"I thought long and hard about what I felt was right to do in my heart," she said. "My students deserved to be stood up for."
Kentucky 'Teachers Of The Year' Ignored White House Event Protesting Against Trump

“I work with a lot of students who face discrimination and prejudice every day of their lives. My frustration with the current administration are the messages and the actions and the policies and the words about the population of students I work with. It impacts them, and it hurts them. It impacts them both in their hearts, and it hurts them in the world because they have to deal with the fallout of all that discrimination,” Holstine also spoke to the Star Tribune in an exclusive interview.
Kentucky 'Teachers Of The Year' Ignored White House Event Protesting Against Trump

Meanwhile, on the other hand, Duenas, who teaches at Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky, has an issue with Trump who she claims is “clearly attacking public education.” She also decided to sit out the event on personal reasons as her father is a Cuban refugee and her mother came to the US illegally decades ago but is now a legal resident.

"I couldn’t in good faith come and smile and accept an award based on that one part," she said. Duenas also strongly disagrees with President Trump's remarks on "sh*thole countries" and for separating families at the U.S. and Mexico border.
Kentucky 'Teachers Of The Year' Ignored White House Event Protesting Against Trump

Not just the two teachers, but even President Trump had decided to skip the formal ceremony. The event was attended by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in which she recognized Rodney Robinson from Virginia, as the national teacher of the year. It was an event to honor the 56 award-winning teachers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and several U.S. territories.

Although the two teachers had not notified the White House before-hand about their snub, they did not have any problem with the other teachers involved with the ceremonies, which included meeting with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Betsy DeVos.
Kentucky 'Teachers Of The Year' Ignored White House Event Protesting Against Trump

Dueñas is currently in Washington to bring attention to the issues facing Kentucky. "I have power to be a voice for our state," she said. "I have the power to be a voice for our students." She also intends to return to her class next week but has said that she will avoid talking politics with the children. However, she will let them know how important their voices can be, reports Courier-Journal.

"I will let them know this is something I believe in," she said. "And when they grow up, I want them to follow their beliefs."