Halloween at Middleton Heights Elementary School, located in an Idaho town with a population of roughly 7,500 people, definitely did not go as well as 14 teachers may have thought before their costumes grabbed a high level of attention from area residents, parents, school officials, the ACLU, and national media.

Everyone wants to have that one costume that people talk about and remember for a long time to come. A costume that is memorable is not necessarily one that also garners negative attention, polarizing views, and insults others. For the teachers at Middleton Heights Elementary who participated in dressing up as the border wall, things have not panned out as well as they may have wanted.

Teachers put on leave for dressing as wall with MAGA

The teachers were put on paid administrative leave on November 3, the outcome of a “special school board meeting,” USA Today reported. The costume was not the only flaw in their plan. Nor was it the lone issue the result of presenting a cardboard replica of the wall with the catch-phrase “Make America Great Again” (MAGA).

The two previously cited attributes of their costume were problematic.

The worst of their costume reveal, however, was that some of the teachers thought it was okay to represent themselves as caricatures stereotyping Mexicans. For props, they wore “ponchos and sombreros, or mariachi garb,” according to USA Today. What were they possibly thinking in a school district with a student body comprised of the very demographic that the teachers appeared to mock?

Teachers are often role models

Within the education system, students encounter some rather serious issues, such as bullying and intolerance. When teachers, who are often seen by students as role models, think it is appropriate to dress-up and mock others, it sends a message that insensitivity and intolerance are acceptable.

Social media cannot be erased like a chalkboard

Images of the teachers in their costumes were presented on the school district’s Facebook page. Though the page has since been removed, social media is not a chalkboard. Once the images have been seen, taking them down does not erase the harm done – or totally obliterate circulation.

Just ask any school resource officer what he or she seeks to instill in students about the internet, including social media.

Once a person posts something, it may take on a life of its own as a result of others making and circulating screen captures and sharing on social networking platforms.

Halloween costume disaster

The effect of the so-called costumes has been divisive. The controversy has not died down since it surfaced. If anything, it has broadened the chasm between those who find it offensive, hurtful, and insulting and those who think the teachers’ Halloween costume disaster is being taken too seriously because the intent was not racially motivated. Excuse me. Try telling the same thing to people when others show up for work, at social events, or in public wearing black face paint. The costuming elevated a hot-button issue.

No one in group of 14 adults halted the plan before going into classrooms

There is something seriously wrong. Not one of the 14 teachers put the brakes on the plan. It was not by accident that the group went to their classrooms in costume in front of students of various backgrounds. In all other respects, the individual teachers may be outstanding but the total lack of awareness about how their dress might affect their students is significant.

Today, November 6, “school will be dismissed early,” CBS reported. There will be “staff training.” The ideal time for training is before teachers are hired and entrusted to stand before their students, who observe and take note of even unwritten, unspoken messages adults in authority impress.

Dress-up turns to increased police patrols and petition

As a result of the teachers’ costume, police have had to increase patrols around schools in the district to ensure safety and keep the peace, news agencies reported. The teachers dress-up time was not worth the grief it created. Approximately 15,000 people have reportedly signed a petition supporting the teachers. Isn’t that something? There are only an estimated 7,500 people in the town where Halloween will be remembered – for the wrong reason.

People across country reacting

The New York Times broached the controversy head-on, giving readers an opportunity to weigh in on the topic. The question presented invites people to share their reactions to the costumes.

A woman, seemingly named Sophia, noted, “In an educational society, the children are supposed to feel welcome and not discriminated against and this might just change the students [sic] feelings. Another person, from Baltimore, MD, wrote, “Dressing in Mexican stereotypes is incredibly offensive no matter who you are. Also, Halloween is not the time to share political opinions.”

Teachers took away from education

Bottom-line: The teachers misappropriated one day of the year when children play dress-up and, yes, even as characters.

Students are the innocent ones in a debacle teachers created, taking away from their purpose of even being on campus: Education.

Many schools have dress codes, which are enforced for students. Maybe the school district needs to take note, and implement a dress code for teachers to prevent them from stealing the thunder in the future from what should have be a fun-filled day for students.

Be sure to follow Blasting News for updates and for the latest information. In recent news, as well, four death row inmates in Tennessee filed a federal lawsuit on November 2.

The condemned men have asked the state to implement tthe firing squad as an option for capital punishment. The four men filed their suit the day after Edmund Zagorski was executed by the electric chair in Tennessee.