The Middleton School District Administration has launched an investigation after at least a dozen teachers dressed up as pieces of President Trump’s proposed border wall and as Mexicans in mustaches and sombreros during class on Halloween, reports the Idaho Press.
At least six teachers at Heights Elementary in Idaho were seen dressed up as Trump’s border “wall” with “Make America Great Again” spelled out in red-white-and-blue letters.
Another photo showed at least seven teachers wearing sombreros and mustaches and holding maracas. One woman posing in the picture appears to have written MEXICAN in capital letters across the brim of her sombrero. Another appears to be dressed up as a colorful piñata.
The controversial photos were posted on the Middleton School District’s Facebook page before online backlash forced their removal, reports local station KTVB.
District superintendent Dr. Josh Middleton issued a public apology on Friday, expressing his “sincerest and deepest apologies” for the costumes.
“I was shown those photos and [was] deeply troubled by the decision by our staff members to wear those costumes that are clearly insensitive and inappropriate,” he says in the video apology. “We are better than this. We embrace all students. We have a responsibility to teach and reach all students, period.”
“Do I think there was a malicious intent in this poor decision? No, I don’t,” he said. “Was there a poor judgment involved? Absolutely.”
“Now our work begins in looking into this matter and learning from this and changing, and again, being the school we can be, the school district we know we can be, rather than what was displayed on Thursday,” he said.
Middleton said he did not believe the teachers intended to hurt students’ feelings with their costume choices. About 9.5 percent of Middleton’s population of roughly 7,400 people are Hispanic or Latino, according to 2017 census data.
Elizabeth Almanza, a member of PODER (Protecting our Dreams and Empowering Resilience) of Idaho, a community advocacy group on behalf of undocumented people and immigrants, wants the school district to take further action rather than just acknowledging it on social media, reports The Idaho Press.
“These photos are extremely disheartening. ALL children should have the right to a learning environment that celebrates all backgrounds,” Almanza wrote in a Facebook post. “Imagine how some of the students felt when they walked into their classrooms on Halloween and saw their teachers (people they look up to) dressed like this? This is NOT funny. This is heartbreaking. Students deserve better.”