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Teacher of the Year uses platform to draw attention to detention of migrant children

Teen migrants wait in line inside the Tornillo detention camp in Tornillo, Texas, last month.
Andres Leighton
The Associated Press
Teen migrants wait in line inside the Tornillo detention camp in Tornillo, Texas, last month.

Mandy Manning is using her position as the 2018 National Teacher of the Year to draw attention to the detention of thousands of migrant children in the United States.

Manning, a Spokane teacher who educates immigrant and refugee children, is planning a teach-in next month in Texas about the impact of detaining kids.

Manning founded the group Teachers Against Child Detention, and is organizing the teach-in for Feb. 17 in El Paso. It aims to educate the public about the impacts of incarcerating kids.

The New York Times reports that more than 10,000 migrant children are being held in detention facilities across the country. Manning says some teachers may shy away from talking about this because they think it's political, but she says it shouldn't be viewed that way.

“This is about children, and our focus as educators is children and ensuring that we are helping all children reach the potential that they all have,” Manning said. “And so this is a human rights issue.” 

The teach-in will be streamed live on Facebook. Manning says she hopes to have at least one teacher from each state participate.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.