School Staff Slammed For Dressing Up As Mexicans And ‘MAGA’ Wall For Halloween
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A school in Idaho, United States, has issued an apology after photos surfaced of staff dressing up as Mexicans with a 'Make America Great Again' wall for Halloween.
Staff at Middle Heights Elementary School were photographed wearing clothes depicting a culturally insensitive Mexican stereotype - including ponchos, sombreros and moustaches - while another snap showed people holding up a brick wall bearing Trump's 2016 campaign slogan in red, white and blue letters.
The photos, which were shared on Facebook but have since been deleted, soon went viral, prompting several Idaho-based advocacy groups and nonprofit groups to send a letter to the district's superintendent.
"The intent or misjudgments of the individuals involved does not undo the trauma experienced by students, families and communities," the letter said.
"The impact on these students does not stay only with them but has lasting effects beyond the school or classroom. We believe the school and classrooms have now become hostile environments that are not conducive to the education of the students."
In a Facebook video, Superintendent Josh Middleton offered his 'sincerest and deepest apologies' to families of the district, referring to his staff's actions as 'insensitive and inappropriate'.
He also said he was 'deeply troubled' by the controversial costumes.
"Do I think there was a malicious intent in this poor decision? No, I don't," Middleton said.
"Was there a poor judgment involved? Absolutely."
He added: "We are better than this, we embrace all students. We have a responsibility to teach and reach all students - period."
However, others don't agree with what Middle has said.
Elizabeth Almanza, a spokesperson and organizer for Idaho DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] Students, told BuzzFeed that one parent had been 'very upset' with what happened, and also said that she didn't think Middleton's comments were 'true'.
"The costume of the wall... it must have them taken several days to make, so they had a lot of time to think about it," she said.
The organisation has since set up a petition urging the district to transform the school environment/culture, 'repair harm' and to be proactive about race and nationality.
"With the disturbing images of teachers from the Middleton School District donning bigoted messages and racist stereotypes being highlighted on the districts social media pages we invite the Middleton School District to reconnect with why they became educators in the first place," the petition description explains.
It currently has over 7,500 signatures, with a goal of 10,000.