MIDDLETON, Idaho - KHQ News reports that the superintendent of the Middleton School District posted an apology on Facebook Friday morning after at least a dozen staff members dressed up as pieces of a border wall and Mexican stereotypes for Halloween.
"We are better than this. We embrace all students," Dr. Josh Middleton said in a Facebook live video Friday morning. "We have a responsibility to teach and reach all students, period."
The photos posted to the district's Facebook page showed staff members dressed as the "wall" with "Make America Great Again" spelled out across the wall. Other staff members wore brightly-colored ponchos with sombreros and maracas.
"Do I think there was a malicious intent in this poor decision? Um, no, I don't. Was there a poor judgment involved? Absolutely," Middleton said.
The photos were taken down from the Facebook page, but once screenshots began to circulate, the backlash began.
"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," Middleton said. "Now our work begins in looking into this matter and learning from this and changing, and again, being the school we can be, the school district we know we can be, rather than what was displayed on Thursday."
The teachers' outfits were condemned on social media as racist by Mexican-American and pro-immigrant groups.
The Huffington Post quotes Elizabeth Almanza, a member of Idaho immigrant advocacy group PODER: "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."