Teachers stir up controversy

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Teachers stir up controversy

Teachers make a pose that angers many.

Teachers make a pose that angers many.

Jerry Manter

Teachers make a pose that angers many.

Jerry Manter

Jerry Manter

Teachers make a pose that angers many.

Elsa Munster, News Assistant

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As soon as news spread that Donald Trump ordered tear gas use on immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border this month, a reoccurring conversation resurfaced. With the president making “Build a wall” a common phrase, the U.S. has become a country where immigration is surrounded by controversy.

Closer to Lewiston, on Nov. 3, teachers from Middleton Elementary School in Idaho appeared in a viral, controversial Facebook post.

The post showed two pictures, one with 14 teachers in Halloween costumes portraying Mexican stereotypes. The other showed teachers in costume as a wall that said “Make America Great Again.”
Middleton has a population of 7,439 with nearly 10 percent Hispanics, according to the 2017 U.S. Census.

Emmett Doughtery, LHS government teacher, said of the teachers that he didn’t think it was smart for people to perpetuate stereotypes that could hurt others.

Because of the negative attention the post received worldwide, the teachers were placed on paid administrative leave.

“This type of behavior has no place in education and certainly is not tolerated here at Middleton School District,” Superintendent Josh Middleton said in a public statement. “This situation is being taken very seriously. […] A full investigation is being conducted.”

After the post started to gain attention, Jacquelyn Meeker started a petition to help the teachers been suspended from the elementary school. She said the situation was blown out of proportion, and that they don’t agree with the photos but instead believe that it shouldn’t cost people their jobs or cause stress to Middleton children. By Nov. 4, this petition had more than 7,150 signatures. It wasn’t immediately clear where they came from since the school only serves about 600 students, according to Idaho Ed Trends.

Another petition titled “No Racism in Middleton School District” called for proactive training and awareness of issues of race, ethnicity and nationality. This petition had over 7,800 signatures by the following Sunday.

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