School teachers who dressed up as 'Mexicans' and border wall for Halloween draw flak on social media
The incident came to light after a picture of nearly a dozen staff members from Middleton School District in Idaho, wearing the costume was posted on their Facebook page.
If there weren't enough people dressing up in offensive costumes this Halloween, with even television personalities like Megyn Kelly defending blackface, a group of elementary school teachers from Idaho took it a notch up and dressed up as Mexicans and President Donald Trump’s US-Mexico border wall for the holiday. The incident came to light after a picture of nearly a dozen staff members from Middleton School District in Middleton, Idaho, wearing the costumes was posted on the school district's Facebook page on Thursday evening. The picture showed the border wall with 'Make America Great Again' written on it, while other staffers wore sombreros, ponchos and held maracas. One of the staff even wrote "MEXICAN" in red letters on top of her sombrero.
The picture, posted on Middleton School District’s Facebook, also had a caption, saying: "It was a great day to be a Heights Hawk! We celebrated our RESPECT character winners, single and double marathon runners," according to HuffPost.
Shortly after the picture was posted, many users pointed out how offensive the costumes were and circulated the screenshots of the image across social media. The school district eventually deleted the image.
Another day, another racist costume. This is from Middletown School District in Idaho. Please call (208) 585-3027 to say— unholy heidi (@heidiheilig) November 2, 2018
1) racism is unacceptable
2) they are creating and promoting a hostile learning environment to children
3) what is their plan to make it right? pic.twitter.com/DqUwvP3ROL
The offensive Halloween costumes were denounced by the Idaho DACA Students Facebook group on Friday morning. While Elizabeth Almanza, a member of immigrant advocacy group PODER (Protecting our Dreams and Empowering Resilience) of Idaho, said that she found the incident very "disheartening."
"These photos are extremely disheartening,” Almanza wrote on Facebook. “All children should have the right to a learning environment that celebrates all backgrounds. 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.”
Idaho’s Middleton school district apologized after elementary school teachers dressed as a border wall and Mexican stereotypes for Halloween. The superintendent said the costumes were "clearly insensitive and inappropriate" but denied any "malicious" intent. pic.twitter.com/DwDDRuxoqE— AJ+ (@ajplus) November 2, 2018
Middleton School District’s superintendent, Dr. Josh Middleton, eventually issued a statement on the controversy and said that he was not aware of the incident and was made aware of it when a parent directly contacted him. Middleton, in a Facebook Live video, offered his "sincerest and deepest apologies" for the incident.
“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 said, adding: “Do I think there was a malicious intent in this poor decision? No, I don’t. Was there a poor judgment involved? Absolutely," Middleton said.
“We are better than this. We embrace all students,” Middleton continued. “We have a responsibility to teach and reach all students, period," he added.