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Elementary school teachers in Idaho face scrutiny after dressing up as a border wall

Posted: 11:37 AM, Nov 02, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-03 01:02:55Z
Teachers draw ire after dressing as border wall
Teachers draw ire after dressing as border wall

MIDDLETON, Idaho — Costumes worn on Halloween by Middleton Heights Elementary School staff members have created an uproar in the Idaho school district.

Seven Middleton teachers dressed up as a border wall with the statement “Make America Great Again” emblazoned across it, echoing President Donald’s Trump well-known political slogan.

They also dressed in what some are calling racist attire -– sombreros and ponchos, playing maracas.

The photos were originally posted on the school district’s Facebook page, but have since been removed.

In a video posted to Facebook, Middleton School District Superintendent Josh Middleton said he is “deeply troubled by the decision by a staff member to wear those costumes that are clearly insensitive and inappropriate."

In the video, Middleton said he had been contacted by a parent “expressing concern" over the staff’s costumes.

“We are better than this. We embrace all students. We have a responsibility to teach all students," Middleton said. "Do I think there was a malicious intent in this poor decision? No, I don’t. Was there poor judgment involved? Absolutely."

He also offered his “sincerest and deepest and humblest apologies to our families, to our patrons. Again, we are so much better than this.”

The superintendent said the costumes were part of a curriculum unit on character, respect and kindness. 

"These are quality teachers and I think it was a bad unit or a unit that's gone bad as a result. I don't think anything malicious, no malicious intent, but this day and time, very insensitive and inappropriate."

As of Friday morning, the teachers in the pictures were still working at the school. 

"They are not only sending a very distasteful display, but it's racist. I mean, this is racist. I mean how do they feel when the students come into class and see that those pictures?" said Humberto Fuentes, president of the Hispanic Cultural Center of Idaho. 

Middleton's top administrator said the staff could face consequences from a verbal warning to termination, but at this point the district is on a fact finding mission before making any decisions.