Every year there is a slew of reportedly offensive Halloween costumes that come out of the woodworks, whether these be conceivably racially insensitive, just outright shocking, or culturally inappropriate. One such unnecessary costume came from 14 staff members at a school in Idaho, who banded together to dress as Mexicans and the wall that U.S. President Donald Trump keeps promising.
Per a previous report by the Inquisitr, members of the public made sure their outrage was heard when photos of the costume, worn to the elementary school on Halloween, were posted to social media. As the Washington Post reports, preliminary action has now been taken against those staff members while the investigation continues.
While Josh Middleton, the superintendent of Middleton Heights Elementary School, has issued a formal public apology, the 14 staff members have been placed on administrative leave for the time being.
“I want to say we are better than this. We embrace all students. We have a responsibility to teach and reach all students. Period. Do I think that there was a malicious intent in this poor decision? No, I don’t. Was there a poor judgment involved? Absolutely. And we now have to own those decisions,” Middleton said on Friday.
Staff dressed up as “Mexicans” and others as a “wall” on which it said “Make America Great Again” at an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL in Idaho.— Leah McElrath (@leahmcelrath) November 2, 2018
Superintendent said there was not “malicious intent.”
h/t @aurabogado https://t.co/gDhfOecu7K pic.twitter.com/SyGQ2a9Lfg
On Saturday morning, the board launched an investigation into their actions and issued a statement about the teachers’ actions.
“This type of behavior has no place in education and certainly is not tolerated here at Middleton School District. This situation is being taken very seriously. This is an unfortunate incident of very poor judgment. Yet it is not indicative of the Middleton School District or our teachers as a whole.”
Middleton was alerted to the teachers’ costumes by a concerned parent of one of the students.
“I was shown those photos and deeply troubled by the decision by our staff members to wear those costumes that are clearly insensitive and inappropriate,” he explained. “Right now our time is going to be devoted to investigating those events and those poor decisions that were made.”
The images of the costumes were originally posted to the Facebook wall of the Middleton School District, sparking outrage on social media. Twelve advocacy organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union’s chapter in the state, wrote a letter to the school district which “expressed concern about the costumes.”
“Regardless of the intent of a teacher’s actions in the classroom, we must focus on and give weight to the impact of such actions on the students who rely on teachers and other school officials for guidance and support throughout their educational experience,” the ACLU of Idaho said.
The Idaho Human Rights Commission also had a few words to add to the saga on Friday night, criticizing the teachers for creating a “hostile environment to exist against persons because of their race, sex and national origin,” adding that the fact the teachers thought it was just a joke should not excuse their actions.
The staff members involved have not been publicly named by the school.