Part of Halloween’s allure is that once a year, everyone gets to live out their hidden fantasies, act silly, and get free candy. But for a group of elementary school teachers in Idaho, those fantasies apparently include mocking Mexicans and dressing up as Donald Trump’s nonexistent border wall.
As you might imagine, the stunt didn’t go over well, and the superintendent of Middleton School District has since apologized. But that doesn’t negate the fact that no one in this group of teachers from Heights Elementary School had a second thought about the message their behavior would send to their students—and the world, for that matter.
Welcome to Donald Trump’s America, where racism has become so overt and blatant that so-called teachers openly appear to celebrate it.
Middleton School District, near Boise, posted pictures of the teachers in their ridiculous costumes on Facebook. One photo shows the staff dressed in their best approximation of what they likely think Mexicans look like, probably gleaned from too many margaritas at some crappy Mexican restaurant chain. The teachers look ridiculous in their oversized sombreros and fake mustaches.
Another photo shows six people dressed as various patriotic characters, including the Statue of Liberty, and holding pieces of a cardboard border wall with the words “Make America Great Again” written across the front.
The pictures have since been deleted from the school district’s Facebook page, and Superintendent Josh Middleton called the costumes “clearly insensitive and inappropriate,” according to CNN.
“We are better than this, we embrace all students [and] have a responsibility to teach and reach all students,” he said.
School district officials will now investigate the matter, which Middleton thinks was a case of bad judgment rather than malicious intent, CNN said.
The Idaho Education Association, however, recommended diversity and cultural competency training.
“The events that took place at Heights Elementary School in Middleton on Halloween are disturbing and inappropriate. The teachers involved, as well as school administrative personnel, and the Middleton School District showed extremely poor judgment,” the association said in a statement on Facebook.
It added: “The IEA and the Middleton Education Association stand ready, willing, and able to assist the district in providing diversity and cultural competency training for Middleton School District employees. As troubling as the situation is, it does provide us with an opportunity for education and growth so that people can be made more aware of how hurtful these kinds of insensitive behaviors can be.”
Local immigrant rights advocate Beth Almanza called the school’s Halloween fiasco “heartbreaking.”
“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?” she wrote on Facebook. “This is NOT funny. This is heartbreaking. Students deserve better.”