In what can only be described as evidence of having the worst judgment possible, staff members of an elementary school dressed up as President Donald Trump’s “border wall” as a group Halloween costume.
Some staff members of Middleton Heights Elementary School in Middleton, Idaho, dressed up in costumes depicting Mexican stereotypes, including wearing sombreros, carrying maracas, and wearing brightly colored ponchos.
Others were the literal border wall itself. The border costume appears to be made out of large pieces of cardboard, colored to look like bricks. In case they were worried about ambiguity, they actually added letters reading: “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” in red, white, and blue.
The kicker? This didn’t go viral because the pictures appeared on social media after a private party. This went viral because the staff wore this costume in the school they teach in. Seemingly, in front of their students. And the pictures that quickly caused outrage? They weren’t leaked or sneakily captured by a concerned parent.
The two pictures in question went up on the school district’s Facebook page. They were removed quickly, but the damage was already done.
On Friday, the superintendent of Middleton School District, Josh J. Middleton, issued an apology and claimed the school was investigating how this possibly happened.
“Do I think there was a malicious intent in this poor decision? No, I don’t,” he said. “Was there a poor judgment involved? Absolutely.”
“We are better than this,” he continued. “We embrace all students. We have a responsibility to teach and reach all students — period.”
This video—in fact, the entire Facebook page—have been taken down.
Why was the staff dressed up to begin with? As told by the New York Times, two parents that visited the school on Halloween said faculty had a costume competition where teachers dressed up to represent various countries.
Apparently, people made the costumes during a team building activity for teachers and staff.
Why anyone thought cultural stereotypes and a literal border wall were good ideas is beyond comprehension. It’s insensitive, offensive, and disrespectful no matter what the demographics of the school are. But, sadly, the actual demographics of this school do make a bad situation even worse.
Almost 13 percent of the school’ s population is Hispanic, according to data from Idaho Ed Trends.
As of yet, the staff in the pictures have not been publicly identified. After a special school board meeting on Saturday morning, Middleton announced that 14 employees have been placed on paid administrative leave.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.