SPOKANE, Wash. - Ferris High School teacher and 2018 National Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning said she was denied entrance to an immigrant detention center in McAllen, Texas on Wednesday.
In a Facebook post, Manning said she traveled to the center with other members of the American Federation of Teachers to check on the welfare of children.
Manning was named the National Teacher of the Year in 2018 for her work at Ferris High School's Newcomer Center. She teaches English to refugee and immigrant students and is set to return to Spokane this fall.
Denied entrance McAllen Immigrant prison. After numerous applications to check on the children, were told “AFT does not have a legitimate mission or business purpose for participating on a visit.” They called the police and attempted to tow our vehicles. @TeachersACD @AFTunion pic.twitter.com/T4zT4mLkhd— Mandy Manning, NBCT (@MandyRheaWrites) August 14, 2019
Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT, was among the group of teachers present on Wednesday. In a tweet, she said Border Patrol members threatened to arrest the group for praying for the children’s wellbeing.
While doing a vigil in McAllen,Tx, in front of the border facility detaining asylum seeking families...the Border Patrol after first denying our application to visit the children, then threatened to arrest us 4 praying 4 the childrens’ well being @MandyRheaWrites @AFTEVPDeJesus pic.twitter.com/H66EpgzKKX— Randi Weingarten (@rweingarten) August 14, 2019
AFT said the group handed out bags of books, stuffed animals and blankets to migrant children held at the center.
Weingarten and AFT have been vocal about the Trump administration’s detention of migrant children, saying they should instead be in classrooms. Weingarten was quoted by PJ Media saying illegal immigration makes America’s public school system “stronger” by bringing more diversity.
4 News Now has reached out to Manning for further comment on the situation.
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