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When blackface isn't enough: teachers dress up as Mexicans and the border wall

Jaimie-lee Prince
Nov 06, 2018
12:55 A.M.

Halloween photos of Idaho elementary school teachers have gone viral for all the wrong reasons. Over 14 teachers have been put on administrative leave.

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The Middleton School District was faced with an appalling situation. According to the Huffington Post, several staff members chose an offensive group costume for Halloween last week.

A few of the teachers dressed up as Mexicans, complete with the word "MEXICAN" spelled out on one sombrero. They wore ponchos, fake mustaches, and held maracas. But there was more.

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Source: Twitter/ Heidi Heilig

Source: Twitter/ Heidi Heilig

Other staff members wore brown, square costumes that together made up Trump's border wall. On their wall was written, "Make American Great Again."

Someone posted the photo to Middleton School District's Facebook page on Thursday. It was deleted soon after. Of course, it was replicated and spread throughout social media before that happened.

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The caption on the post read:

"It was a great day to be a Heights Hawk! We celebrated our RESPECT character winners, single and double marathon runners."

Source: Twitter/ Heidi Heilig

Source: Twitter/ Heidi Heilig

Dr. Josh Middleton, the Middleton School District's superintendent, said the incident is being investigated. He took to Facebook Live to address the situation:

“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 added:

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

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The school district's board of trustees also released a statement which read:

“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. We are in full support of our superintendent and administrative staff as a full investigation is being conducted, and are awaiting the results of the investigation."

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The statement continued:

"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.”

Elizabeth Almanza, a member of the immigrant advocacy group "Protecting our Dreams and Empowering Resilience (PODER) wrote:

“These photos are extremely disheartening. 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.”

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A similar incident occurred earlier when an Iowa elementary school teacher wore blackface.

On October 19, Megan Luloff dressed up as a character from the 2014 movie "Napoleon Dynamite." She claimed she had no knowledge of the history behind blackface.

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Luloff, 32, smeared her face, neck, arms, and legs in a black paint for a party at an American Legion Hall in Walcott. The photos of the party went viral.

Linda Hayes, vice president of the district's school board, called Luloff's actions as "out of line with regard to professionalism." She called the costume "offensive and appalling."

Luloff also mentioned the fact that she has an albino child and understands how "sensitive feelings about appearances can be." The situation is still being investigated.

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