Kelly D. Holstine, Minnesota’s “teacher of the year” for 2018, admitted to taking a knee during the national anthem at the LSU-Clemson game all because President Donald Trump was in attendance.
The 46-year-old teacher, who instructs at the Tokata Learning Center, an alternative high school in Shakopee, Minnesota, and who is an LGBTQ activist, was on the sidelines to be recognized by the state’s educational establishment.
Holstine, who claims the pronouns “she/her” on her Twitter account, proudly announced her protest against Trump during the championship game, adding a photo showing her act of 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,’” she tweeted on Monday, adding the hashtags #imwithkap, #blacklivesmatter, and #LGBTQ.
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
One of the photos attached shows Holstine kneeling on the field at the Mercedez-Benz Superdome in New Orleans as the other “teacher of the year” awardees stand during the national anthem.
“Not everybody is given the opportunity to have a voice, and I can take a small moment, a respectful moment of protest, and exercise my First Amendment rights, and stand up for my students and for vulnerable adults and for people who are not treated in the way that they should be,” Holstine added. “It feels like my responsibility to do that.”
Holstine said that she decided to mount her protest when the teachers were told they could place their hands over their hearts if they wanted to during the anthem.
The college championship is not the first time Holstine has protested Donald Trump. When the Minnesota teachers went to the White House last year, Holstine refused to enter and instead spoke to the media about her dislike for Trump.