School staff placed on leave after “inappropriate” Halloween costumes

“Middleton School District Superintendent Josh Middleton announced Saturday morning at a special school board meeting that employees involved in controversial Halloween photos circulating on social media have been placed on administrative leave,” as the Idaho Statesman is reporting.

“After Superintendent Middleton’s announcement, the board went into executive session. He also announced that a member of the district’s crisis team would be taking over day-to-day principal duties at Middleton Heights for the time being.

“On Friday, photos of Middleton Heights Elementary staff donning Halloween costumes that portrayed a border wall that says ‘Make America Great Again’ and stereotyped Mexicans emerged on social media. The photos, which were posted on the school district’s Facebook page, went viral.

“Following an uproar online, Superintendent Middleton posted a video response on Facebook on Friday morning. As of this writing the video, as well as the entire district Facebook page, has been taken down.

“’We are better than this,’ he said in the video. ‘We embrace all students. We have a responsibility to teach and reach all students — period.’

“Several advocacy groups and nonprofits, including the ACLU of Idaho and Immigrant Justice Idaho, denounced the photos in a letter to Superintendent Middleton on Friday afternoon, per previous Statesman reporting.

“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.’

“According to data from the U.S census, Middleton has a Latino population of 9.5 percent, while Middleton Heights Elementary is 12.9 percent Hispanic/Latino, according to Idaho Ed Trends.

“The pictures and subsequent backlash come as the Nov. 6 midterm elections approach, where immigration is a theme. President Donald Trump has said, ‘I don’t want them in this country,’ in regards to a caravan of migrants coming up through Mexico toward the U.S. border, saying the goal of the caravan is to ‘invade.’

“Superintendent Middleton also announced on Saturday that additional measures would be taken in the coming days, including increased safety, additional staff training as well as an ongoing investigation.”

The rest of the article is here.

(Photo: Idaho Statesman)

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

3 thoughts on “School staff placed on leave after “inappropriate” Halloween costumes”

  1. Here are some comments from Facebook:

    Tiare Rath — It’s quite stunning to see behaviors and values that are normalized and go unchallenged in some communities.

    Sue Williams Clark — Sadly they probably won’t be fired because of tenure.

    Nell Esterhazy Scannon — Racist idiots. Great values to teach children.

    Jamie Lavalle-Marchetti — No matter what you believe politically…this just in very poor taste and not nice.

  2. This is just another example of how ordinary people have become stupidly politicized. I have friends who are teachers (one of whom was honored as a national middle school science teacher of the year and met George Bush at the Whitehouse) who told me that they couldn’t be in the teachers’ lunch area and break room because of the nasty and vile and stupid statements other teachers would say about President Obama, often just repeating right wing talk show hosts. Confronting such individuals with facts only served to increase their disassociation and anger which was now directed at you.

    Madison Avenue has had a lot of time since Edward Bernays (Freud’s nephew) wrote “Propaganda” in 1928 and gave birth to the PR industry, to hone its skills and techniques of persuasion or, if you will, brainwashing, in this case. Combine this with the rumor and fake news blogs like Breitbart, Drudge, Daily Caller, and the many localized blogs that pass the drivel on; and the Russian bots on Facebook, Twitter, etc. that got (and still do) into millions of specifically targeted homes with specifically designed messages aimed at the many individuals who, for whatever reasons, are highly susceptible to certain buzzwords and phrases (“liberty” being near the top of the list), and the result is the highly divided society that we have today. Divide and conquer! So the question is just who is doing the conquering? Who benefits the most from all of this division and hatred? In other words, who is making all the money? It certainly is not a bunch of poor people who sacrificed everything they had and left their crime ridden countries seeking the promise that is, or was if you are a Republican, America, and are traveling north by the thousands in the Great caravan. The invaders didn’t have to invade. They have been here all the time, hanging out on Wall Street.

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