Fourteen teachers at Middleton Elementary School in Idaho were placed on paid administrative leave after depicting Mexican people behind a border wall or wearing stereotypical outfits. Photo courtesy of Middleton School District
Nov. 3 (UPI) — Fourteen elementary school teachers in Idaho have been placed on paid administrative leave after depicting Mexican people behind a border wall or wearing stereotypical outfits for Halloween.
During a special school board meeting Saturday, Middleton School District Superintendent Josh Middleton announced the suspension. Middleton is 33 miles west of Boise.

Photos were posted on the Middleton School District’s Facebook page. The district apologized and they were deleted but screenshots began to circulate online.

Six teachers at Middleton Heights Elementary posed behind large cardboard pieces painted to look like bricks, with President Donald Trump‘s “Make America Great Again” spelled out in red-white-and-blue letters. In another photo, teachers donned brightly colored ponchos and sombreros, or mariachi garb. MEXICAN was written in capital letters across the brim of one woman’s sombrero.

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“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 in a video posted to the same Friday morning. The page is currently not availanble to the public.

On Thursday night he said he learned about the photos after an upset parent contacted him.

The teachers have not been identified, and it’s unclear whether they will be terminated or disciplined in another way.

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“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.”

Twelve percent of the school’s 563 students are a minority with the majority Hispanic, according to Public Schools Review.

Beth Almanza posted on Facebook: “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.

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Middleton Police said Friday they have increased patrols around the school “to ensure safety, security, and hope for a peaceful resolution.”

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