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14 Idaho Elementary Teacher and School Staff Suspended for Dressing as Mexicans and Border Wall

14 Idaho Elementary Teacher and School Staff Suspended for Dressing as Mexicans and Border Wall

Fourteen employees at an Idaho elementary school were suspended after dressing up as Mexicans and the border wall for Halloween, The Idaho Statesman reports.

Middleton School District Superintendent Josh Middleton announced that the 14 employees were placed on paid administrative leave while the school board investigates the matter.

“This type of behavior has no place in education and certainly is not tolerated here at Middleton School District. This situation is being taken very seriously. We are in full support of our superintendent and administrative staff as a full investigation is being conducted, and are awaiting the results of the investigation,” the school board said in a statement. “This is an unfortunate incident of very poor judgment. Yet it is not indicative of the Middleton School District or our teachers as a whole.”

On Friday, teachers and staff members were photographed in costumes portraying a border wall that said “Make America Great Again.” The photos were posted on the school district's Facebook page, which has since been taken down.

According to the report, nearly 10 percent of Middleton is Latino, including nearly 13 percent of the school.

School district condemns: Superintendent Josh Middleton posted a video response to the incident but the video has since been removed because the entire page appears to have 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.”

ACLU, immigration groups warn of danger to students: “The intent or misjudgments of the individuals involved does not undo the trauma experienced by students, families and communities,” they said in a letter to the school district. “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.”

Watchdog group warns such incidents may violate the law: The Idaho Human Rights Commission said in a press release that the Idaho Human Rights Act of 1969 and federal law was created to protect people from discrimination like this incident.

“Simply because conduct takes place as a so-called joke does not excuse otherwise unlawful conduct,” the commission said. “All employers and schools must act responsibly to avoid sanctioning displays and other conduct that could give rise to this type of discrimination not only because they have a legal responsibility to do [so] but also because it is the right thing to do.”