Controversial border wall costumes prompts Idaho school investigation, staff members placed on leave

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MIDDLETON, Idaho — Idaho school district officials are apologizing after several teachers and staffers at an elementary school just west of Boise donned offensive Halloween costumes, one group in caricatured outfits depicting Mexican people and another group dressed as a border wall emblazoned with “Make America Great Again.”

The Middleton School District Administration is investigating after learning of the costumes, which were worn during class. Photos were posted to the district’s Facebook page Thursday night. The photos were later removed, though not before some had captured screenshots .

Superintendent Josh Middleton said in a Facebook live video Friday morning that he was alerted to the issue by a parent who called to express concern. He apologized on behalf of the district and said he was deeply troubled that employees made the decision to wear what he called “clearly insensitive and inappropriate” costumes.

“On behalf of the Middleton School District, I share sincerest apologies for these insensitive actions and offending our families and patrons,” he said. “Again, we are better than this.”

Middleton also said he didn’t think the staffers donned the costumes maliciously, but reiterated that it was “poor judgment.”

One of the photos showed a group of adults wearing brightly colored ponchos, sombreros and fake mustaches while holding maracas. Another photo showed adults holding a cardboard cutout of a wall, wearing various Americana symbols including one person in an eagle costume and another dressed like the statue of liberty.

As of Saturday, according to KTVB, the fourteen staff members involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave.

Middleton reportedly made the announcement at a special school board meeting.  After the announcement, the board went into an executive session which was not open to the public.

Board Chairman Tim Winkle told KTVB at this meeting that the costumes were part of a team building activity after school hours.

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