After Wearing Racist Halloween Costumes, Idaho Teachers Are Rewarded With Paid Leave

In the United States, Halloween comes with beloved annual traditions, like pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating. But sure enough, it seems there’s a new trend: Adults dressing in racially or culturally insensitive costumes. This year, however, a group of teachers in Idaho decided to set the bar especially high.

At least 14 teachers in Middleton, Idaho, are on paid administrative leave after the Middleton School District’s official Facebook page posted pictures of them dressed as either stereotypical Mexicans — donning ponchos, maracas, fake mustaches and sombreros, one of which had “Mexican” written on it — or as part of a six-person “border wall,” featuring the “Make America Great Again” slogan on the front.

Middleton School District via Facebook

Middleton School District via Facebook

Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long before students and parents in the community saw these photographs and expressed their outrage over this blatantly racist display. In response, the images were quickly pulled from the page and an emergency school board meeting was called, after which 14 staff members were placed on paid leave.

The school board also announced plans to have staff undergo cultural sensitivity training, provide counseling for students and parents — and, oddly, to have a greater police presence on campus.

In a statement about the scandal, Superintendent Josh Middleton says, “Do I think there was a malicious intent in this poor decision? No, I don’t. Was there a poor judgment involved? Absolutely.”

This tepid response highlights the prevalent and accepted mentality that exists within the administration and faculty at Middleton School District. It’s difficult to believe that at least 14 adults living in the United States right now are unaware of the politically and racially charged nature of their costume choices, or that they were merely expressing “poor judgment.”

If Superintendent Middleton’s reaction and the school board’s decision to reward those involved with paid vacation wasn’t enough to show this incident as more than the actions of a few thoughtless teachers, the costumes were made as part of an after-school “team building exercise.” This activity tasked divided groups of district staff to create costumes exemplifying a given country or culture’s stereotypes as a competition.

Yes, that’s correct  — not only were the racist Mexican costumes made at the behest of an administrator, but there are also other groups of Middleton School District faculty who dressed in presumably insensitive costumes as part of the contest. It just so happened that the team asked to portray Mexico won the contest and had their photographs posted online.

Children — regardless of race, gender, sexuality, nationality or legal status — deserve to get an education without facing bigoted hostility from their teachers. When educators cannot or will not do this, then they have no right to be working with children at all.

Take Action!

Right now 14 members of the Middleton School District faculty staff who participated in this blatant act of racism are on suspension — and being paid for it. Given Superintendent Josh Middleton’s dismissive attitude toward this scandal, it seems likely that he expects to have these individuals back to work once the heat dies down. And that’s completely unacceptable.

Add your name to this Care2 petition to tell Middleton teachers, as well as anyone who thought this “team building exercise” was a good idea, that they have no right to work in a place of education in today’s America.

Concerned about an issue? Want to raise awareness about an injustice? Join your fellow Care2 users by learning how to make your own petition and make your voice heard today!

 

Photo Credit: Middleton School District/Facebook

57 comments

Karen Swenson
Karen Swenson4 days ago

@Ann B -- Why should it only be Hitler? You mentioned black face. White supremacists hung, tortured, harassed, murdered, thousands of blacks. Whole families, with little children came to watch while white men giggled and joked and white women giggled , as flies fed on the blood dripping from the blacks noses. The lynching victims were then dismembered into pieces of human trophies for the mob members. The Governor was sent pieces of liver and hearts. Knuckles were displayed at certain stores. Read your History. Our ignorant President calls Mexicans Rapists and murderers, while hiring them to build his garish buildings, only then refusing to pay them. Total BS alright!

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Ann B
Ann B5 days ago

This is gotten totally out of hand..even black face---this was theater in the 20s 30s.....and the word racist should only be HITLER--they did NOTHING WRONG...i will NOT sign that petition total BS

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Peggy B
Peggy B7 days ago

I would see nothing wrong with someone dressing up as another race or culture if it was to celebrate that culture, but to stereotype or make fun of them is just wrong. If a Halloween party dress up theme was horror and monsters I would see nothing wrong with a Hitler costume.

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Peggy B
Peggy B7 days ago

Shelley w … I think the problem here is mainly that they are teachers and as a parent I would have been upset that they were sending a political message to my child. Kids think teachers are always right. How dare they inflict their political message and bigotry on children. Bigotry is learned not innate at birth. To me, this has nothing to do with political correctness, which, by the way, I think has gotten out of hand.

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Karen S
Karen Swenson7 days ago

@Mary B--you are so right! There are already people on here who say "dressing up as a unicorn will be inappropriate, or you won't be able to leave your house without offending someone. Aren't they the snowflakes now.?? Who is it that screams to the rooftops over the simple phrase--"Happy Holidays," or some right wing Nut claiming Witches bless Halloween candy before it is sold to children ((Pat Robertson)) Talk about "Snowflakes!" Who is it claiming the Purple Teletubby was GAY? Who is it forbidding children to read Harry Potter because of Witch-craft? Insisting we say American Fries instead of French Fries! I don't have the time, or room, to list all the imaginary, snowflakery idiocy attached, like barnacles, to the Republicans and the Fundamentalist Right!! However, they see nothing wrong in this contentious, murderous time, shoving the Wall and Mexican immigrants, who were called Rapists and criminals by our President, in everyone's faces while we have loaded to the gills, the Mental Militia heading for the border, hoping for a kill. UNBELIEVABLE!

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Mary B
Mary B7 days ago

MILLIE SITE PROBLEMS "It takes one to know one" is an accurate statement, not an insult.It means the person had experience they learned from. Hate, and anger are part of the human emotional spectrum that moves on a sliding scale. Unless you get stuck and it becomes your default setting. When one looks at the disregard for all life,and the environment that trumps actions show , anger and hate are totally appropriate if you have any sense.

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Mary B
Mary B7 days ago

What is WRONG here is that the people who think they are creating Unity by not being offended because it's just costumes and on Halloween anything goes, are inadvertently creating acceptance for blatant racist stereotyping of Mexicans. Then blaming the left for getting in your face about it. It is obvious that this is about an issue that is currently very HOT BUTTON and inappropriate ? And too many of you are not discerning enough to get that.

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Karen Swenson
Karen Swenson8 days ago

@Millie--Only a Child thinks people who disagree with them, automatically hates them. According to Pew Research spanning 37 Nations, just 22% have confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to International affairs. That is except Russia (hmm) and Vietnam. Obama's rating was at 67% expressing confidence to direct America's role in the world. The Public Image of the US has dropped Internationally under the Administration of Trump and many now see China as a rising power. Internationally they see Trump as Arrogant, Intolerant and even dangerous. I do not hate you Milli--according to you, a person should Pity the fool for their Ignorance, and I do.

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MilliSiteProbs M

Karen Swenson
And we knew exactly what your response would say before you posted it! I would think, from your last post, you seriously need help to overcome your hate for everything and everyone you do not agree with. FYI, I do not hate anyone, not even you for all your, hmmm would that be, hateful or hate-filled remarks?
And yes I quoted comments and will continue to do so, the two loves of your life are by no means as honest and trustworthy as you think they are, further they cannot walk on water although it appears they think they can. They do love to be in the spotlights, stand on their pulpits and tell everyone what THEY WANT them to do. FYI one does not hate the fools that think that way, only pity them (and their loyal followers) ignorance. The point is at least half of the world population does not have a very good opinion of either the last Pres of the US or current PM of Canada. Get over it. And this has zip to do with the article above.

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HEIKKI R
HEIKKI R8 days ago

thank you

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