Idaho School Staff Suspended After Going To Halloween Party As Trump’s Wall and Mexican Stereotypes

downloadWe have another Halloween costume controversy.  Just yesterday we discussed the order of the College of Charleston for students to take mandatory diversity training for dressing as Mexicans and border police. Now fourteen staff at an Idaho primary school have been put on administrative leave for dressing up as a border wall and Mexicans. Superintendent Josh Middleton  has declared the costumes to be “insensitive” and “inappropriate” costumes.  The costume competition was billed as featuring “the most stereotypical outfits.”

Seven staff from the Middleton Heights Elementary School dressed as characters like the Statue of Liberty and an American eagle while holding a cardboard wall with “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” on it. Others wore sombreros and fake mustaches.

I recently wrote about the growing controversy over Halloween costumes on campuses and beyond over allegations of cultural appropriation.  Various colleges have cracked down on costumes deemed inappropriate or insulting or culturally appropriating. There is little consideration of the free speech concerns over such regulations or the differing views of cultural appropriations theories.  However, this was not a case of staffs dressing inappropriately in their private lives.  This was part of an after-school “team-building activity” among the teachers.

middleton 2The offensive combination is obvious, though the case again raises the question of a clear standard.  Would it have been permissible to go simply as the Wall ?  The concern is that teachers and students have to comply with an ill-defined standard, particularly when some costumes could have free speech elements of expression.

84 thoughts on “Idaho School Staff Suspended After Going To Halloween Party As Trump’s Wall and Mexican Stereotypes”

  1. “However, this was not a case of staffs dressing inappropriately in their private lives. This was part of an after-school “team-building activity” among the teachers.”

    Middleton Heights Elementary is a public school. The school district is considered a part of the local government. Therefore anyone who works for the school district considered an employee of a local government. Public schools are funded by local and state taxes and are run by elected officials.

    The First Amendment applies to ALL levels of government from the federal to local governments. Students and teachers do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate” (Tinker v. Des Moines).

    What makes this decision more remarkable was the stated purpose of the team building exercise for which these teachers donned costumes. From the Nov 3, 2018 edition of the Idaho Press: “The groups photographed were selected as winners of a contest of who could dress most accurately portraying a country based on stereotypes.” The teachers were ENCOURAGED to depict stereotypes then suspended for doing so.

    This has all the appearances of a knee-jerk reaction from a school board unwilling to face any public political criticism to support its teachers.

  2. Freedom of speech, thought, belief, religion, socialization, assembly, publication, press and every other conceivable right and freedom per the 9th Amendment as long as they are approved by the communist party which is supervising the invasion and conquest of America including the simultaneous dilution into extinction of Americans.


    Make America Mexican Again!

    When did the United States of America become the United States of the World?

    Is that not treason?

  3. Perhaps we should simply cancel Halloween until the current generation passes away.

    1. Unfortunately, it seems as though stories like this are an every day occurrence. If it weren’t Halloween it would be some other event triggering people to be offended.

  4. I see that mocking the students who are from families that came from Mexico is hilarious to bigoted Anglos but I can’t help but think of the reaction of those students when they see teachers mocking their culture. Are these teachers to be trusted? I think not.

    1. bettykath – the theme was stereotypes. I am Irish and German. I would not have been offended if they have arrived as leprechauns or in lederhosen. Or even if they had dressed as the SS and IRA.

    2. bettykath:
      The premise of your statement that assumes offense even when none was demonstrated and is entirely patronizing. How do you know how anyone would react to these costumes? Do the “Mexicans” need you to speak for them? Why do you get to wear the mantle of defender of Mexican sensibilities?

    3. if you had ever been mocked by mexicans then you might have a sense that what goes around comes around. i had the displeasure of a lot of negative experiences of “cultural diversity” with them and I think they deserve a lot worse than funtime mockery

      the thing about a lot of pathetic white liberals, is they have spent precious little time in the places from which they would presume to import their cheap foreign labor, and they are foolish enough to think that the dysfunction of those places won’t come right along with the people who “built” them in the first place

      personally, I don’t believe all men or nations are equal. not at all. I don’t like mexicans but I do like chinese. if we could swap out one or two or say ten mexican migrants for one chinese migrant, America would be a far better place. instead, the goof jeff sessions is aggressively busy at DOJ throwing out thousands of chinese people with mild paperwork problems, even while they continue to ignore the ten million or so illegals most of whom are from mexico. Sad!

  5. This was part of an after-school “team-building activity” among the teachers.

    Congratulations Superintendent, you’ve got yourself a team that should be growing with lawyers.

    1. OLLY – if these teachers belong to the union, they have already lawyered up.

        1. OLLY – and, according to the party directions, they were to dress as a stereotype. They followed directions. The college students went with the caravan look while the teachers went with the stereotype look. I thought both were winners. BTW, I loved the fence, too.

            1. OLLY – I do not know who is responsible for the criminalistic directions. 😉

  6. Everything the Superintendent is complaining about, unless it is the wall, can be bought in Nogales, Sonora. The stereotype is Mexico’s fault. BTW, didn’t he see A Fist Full of Dollars? Geez, these sups need to get out more and get a sense of humor.

    1. Paul C. …… Nogales, Az. is my brother’s favorite birding spot. He says it’s the best, but I always worry about him there because of some of the dangerous illegals in that area!

      1. Cindy Bragg – there are no birds in Nogales, however there are plenty of bordellos. I would have a heart-to-heart with your brother. 😉

          1. Paul …Portal Ariz is one of the top birding spots in SE Ariz……..according to the internet. Does it sound familiar?

            1. Cindy Bragg – Portal is a major birding location, but it is a wide spot in the road. 😉

              1. Paul…..thank you for the info……and I will have to ask my brother about the “birds” in Nogales! LOL 🐥🦆🐣

                1. Cindy Bragg – In your brother’s defense, I think there is a birding site just north of Nogales, AZ. However, I would have that “talk” with him. 😉 Ask him if he has ever been birding at the Riparian in Gilbert, AZ? Lots o’ birds there, changing during the seasons.

                  1. Paul. I’ll bet he has been there. He is retired and went from being a busy attorney to avid birder. He is addicted to it. My sister in law is not that into it, so he has a group of friends who are avid too and they go all over the country. Even went to South Africa. A great film my brother told us to watch several yrs ago is called The Big Year (or perfect year?)…a true story….it was a good book too. Great little movie.
                    Anyway he absolutely loves Arizona…….esp Southern Arizona. I am only familiar with Sedona, Flaggstaff..Grand C.
                    My brother in law has family in Gilbert, Chandler.

  7. The occupation ‘school administrator’ seems to attract the worst sort of buffoon.

    1. After teaching in several school districts in 3 states, and noting the exception of Fairfax Co. Va., I can honestly say I never worked with a school administrator who would have survived actually teaching in a classroom. They were useless (as well as 75% of the school principals), and quite frankly, hindrances, to education. And that was 45 years ago.
      (Sorry if I have offended any administrators who might be reading this blog….but that was my experience)

      1. Don’t be sorry. I don’t believe the education industry is unique regarding hiring incompetent managers/leaders to their respective positions. The Peter Principle applies in every industry or profession; politics, military, education, construction, etc. My concern is how we’ve allowed these people to be immunized from accountability.

        1. Olly….thank you. And indeed they have been immunized from accountability. Oh well, it’s just children. And we know how the left feels about kids……..well, legal ones.

      2. HEY CINDY! My Dad was a school administrator … and were he alive today would agree with you wholeheartedly. He came from private business and got a job teaching in the vocational program. That taught him about the educational system and the worthless bon vivants who frequent the top echelons. When got the chance he moved upward and vowed never to be like those office hermits who never venture out into the classrooms but write reports and recommendations like they lived there.

        1. vocational education, a socially beneficiary and very useful concept that was discredited by the equalitarians who today pretend that every kid can be a scholar.

        2. Ideally, superintendents would concern themselves with the appointment of principals, budgetry, facilities planning, the motor pool, the corps of itinerant employees, the review of letters of dismissal (of administrators and teaching department heads, not teachers), and audit and control. The disciplinary manual would be enacted by the school board consequent to consultations with principals. The principals would be the last word in disciplinary matters; dissatisfied parents could appeal for mediation or arbitration to be conducted by those in the employ of organs of the state government.

          Ideally, the principal, his provost, and the dean of students would be drawn from the ranks of teachers (though possessed of supplementary training) and would retain a residual teaching schedule. Again, teachers, not coaches. The residual schedule would be 1 class a term at the secondary level and occasional workshops at the primary level. One other thing: any principal who holds assemblies more than about 4x a year should be hunted down.

          Ideally, the local sheriff’s department would have an education division which would employ three sorts: security guards for ordinary schools, jail guards for schools operated by the sheriff’s department itself, and remedial teachers for those schools. The ultimate weapon a principal would have would be to remand a student to the sheriff, who would transport and house the student during the day in return for a capitation set by the county government and drawn from the school district treasury. Such youths would be on lockdown most of the day, but have some time in classes of six students for remedial instruction.

          1. juve jails do have teacher staffs usually

            that’s a well written suggestion and I agree

            you must have some experience teaching… maybe teaching spastics to dance? lol

            1. Mr Kurtz – AZ requires that juveniles be educated until they are 16 or graduate high school. So, when they go to jail, they go to school. 😉

        3. mespo………well if he’s your dad, I’m sure he was a cut above the rest!Thank you for that story.
          You notice I singled-out Fairfax Co. as being the good one. It was an exceptional school district. I wanted to box them all up and bring them back to Texas with me. And oh my god they paid their teachers like they were royalty!
          When hubby became a brand spanking new Assistant Atty General for Tejas, he was getting paid what I was paid in Fairfax as a young teacher with no post-grad degree! That’s how superb Fairfax was. I believe Prof Turley’s kids are in that school district, he said one time.

      3. Cindy Bragg – In Arizona administrators are required to teach for at least 5 years. However, some of them must have been horrible in the classroom.

    1. Yeah, keep in mind the racist, hate mongering, Republicans and Trump. Good call IB. These were Democrats against racism. Get your victims straight. Trump and the Republicans are stereotyping hispanics. The administration is attempting to maintain a neutral staff that has to deal with both the racist element as well as the progressive liberal one. This is another example of a no win collision between absolute freedom of expression and the backward and imperfect state of affairs in America. Dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t.

      1. i had a friend who used to work in the Cook County prosecutor’s office. From a steadfastly Democratic family. In fact his was a patronage slot, since he was a white guy, and to get a job there as a white guy you had to have a patron. and oh he had a very powerful patron. For our purposes, names don’t matter, of course. Anyhow he was a smart guy and a good lawyer nonetheless.

        one day we were eating not far from the water tower and I says howzit goin, a couple years into the new job?

        He says fine, you start out in juve, then T $ M, then on to general felony pros. its busy.

        He said, Kurtz, I know you are racist, ( denied) (lolz) but guess what?

        He said Mexicans are off the charts in sex crime investigations– worse than all other demographics. I said, hmm, fascinating. Every other group, including, ah, them? Yes he said worse than them too

        That was about 20 years ago. I wonder if it’s any better?

        Given that there’s nearly a million mexicans in Chicago, seems unlikely

  8. Non-news to shovel red meat to the ball-baggers of the day glo bozo. Waste of bandwidth. any time spent pontificating on such nonsense is time one will never get back. Pro tip: there’s real problems to worry about–this ain’t one of ’em.

  9. Pretty soon the left will demand everyone wear Mao jackets, shaved faces, no eye wear and everyone will have to shave their heads (including woman) this way you won’t be insensitive to anyone.

  10. I’ll venture to say this superintendent is a difficult man to work for. Petty and arbitrary.

    1. Tends to be the disposition of people in administrative positions who aren’t very capable. Peter Principle in action.

  11. I find it funny, not offensive.

    Some people need to grow a hide, having no skin at all.

  12. Here is a popup announcement from the school’s website:

    “November 3, 2018

    Middleton School District Parents and Community:

    I want to bring you up to date on events within the district during this difficult time for our Middleton School District students, staff, and community.

    Our school board held a special Board meeting this morning at 10 am. The purpose of this meeting was to update them on the events involving Halloween day costumes and a photo posting from Heights Elementary. No action could be taken at this Board meeting besides a statement concerning these events given to the public at the end of the meeting. Here is the statement from our school board.


    November 3, 2018

    The Middleton School District Board of Trustees statement in regards to the photo that was recently circulated.

    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 to assure appropriate disciplinary action is taken. We care about each of our students, their education, and their safety. 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. We have caring staff members who go the extra mile for our students on a daily basis. We are committed to learning and improving our district from this incident and to continue with our daily mission of Every Child Learning every day, and will do everything we can to insure their success.

    Middleton School Board


    As always, I really appreciate our school boards dedication to our students, staff, while representing you in all areas of our mission.

    Important Plan for ALL our MSD staff

    The events of this week we take very seriously. As hard as these events are for ALL involved, we must learn from this and be better as an entire staff for our students, parents, and the community we represent. Effective immediately those involved have been put on administrative leave and we need to please respect their privacy during this time. We are still in an investigative stage of these events. We will ensure our students have the appropriate staffing during this time. Below is our immediate plan for our MSD staff starting today.

    – All staff involved in the incident are on administrative leave.

    – To ensure safety for all, there will be daily presence of security at Heights Elementary.

    – To support the social-emotional well-being, for students, staff and parents, the District Crisis Team will be present at Heights Elementary.

    – This Wednesday, November 7, there will be an all staff meeting for the purpose of cultural sensitivity training. Training will continue throughout this school year and at the start of each school year moving forward.

    – Effective Monday, November 5th, extra administrative presence will be Heights Elementary.

    – The District will adjust and provide resources and information as the week(s) progress and take immediate action as needed.

    Middleton is under a microscope, and I view this as an opportunity to learn and grow from this incident, and even more create enhanced learning environments where Every Child Learning Every Day is wrapped in Every Child Shown Kindness, Respect and Love Everyday.


    Dr. M
    Middleton School District 134

    All Students Learning
    Outstanding Instruction
    Each and Every Day”

    Emphasis mine:

    Seems by what I highlighted the result of the investigation was already decided by the school. “On to the punishment” it seems.

    Regardless of what people believe these are public employees and they do have employment rights. The statement by the school to me seems the school shot itself in the foot if they plan to sanction these teachers without regard to their employment rights.

      1. They’re sending in the “District Crisis Team”?!?
        I wonder if any of these candidates from the debate that The Daily Mail reported on are members of the crisis team.😏

      2. Take away the suits, polish and the silver tongues and they are all the same.

        1. Darren,
          I discovered this site about 4 years ago researching the Roseen v.Idaho case; I think you wrote the column about Darien Roseen’s unusual “Welcome to Idaho” experience.
          I haven’t slammed Idaho in a while😄, so I’ll post another link about their “hospitality” to people from the “wrong” states.

          1. Tom……I remember reading that on this blog! Had forgotten that was Idaho.

            1. That’s the one, Darren.
              Since my own “Welcome to Idaho” experience, I bypass the state.
              It can add 125-150 on a trip, but the more direct route is not worth it to me if they’re going to jerk around out-of-state drivers.

    1. “– To ensure safety for all, there will be daily presence of security at Heights Elementary.

      – To support the social-emotional well-being, for students, staff and parents, the District Crisis Team will be present at Heights Elementary.”

      Truly, we have entered the realm of madness now. I hope this starts some major blowback, and the board and administrator get KO’d. It makes a very timely opportunity to make an important precedent.

  13. Who ran the contest? Same one’s that didn’t mention the first place prize was getting fired?

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