"Last night, a parent contacted me expressing concern over staff costumes worn here on Halloween", he said. After the announcement, the board went into an executive session which was not open to the public.
The school district has yet to identify the perpetrators, and there is no indication yet if the employees will face disciplinary action or be terminated.
On Friday, photos of Middleton Heights Elementary staff donning Halloween costumes that portrayed a border wall that says "Make America Great Again" and stereotyped Mexicans emerged on social media.
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But the district later removed the photos, and the school district's superintendent issued a statement apologizing for the photo, calling the costumes "clearly insensitive and inappropriate". "No, I don't", the superintendent said in a video post on Facebook.
The photos are now circulating across Facebook and Twitter with parents and Treasure Valley residents. He stressed that the school districts embraces all students. "We have a responsibility to teach and reach all students".
One of the photos that circulated on social media Friday morning.
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Teachers at an elementary school in Idaho sparked outrage after a politically-charged group Halloween costume was widely shared online. No, I don't. Was there a poor judgement involved? "The impact on these students does not stay only with them but has lasting effects beyond the school or classroom".
The Middleton School District is investigating the incident, and it's possible the agency that enforces the state's anti-discrimination laws will do its own investigation into the matter, a spokesman for the Idaho Human Rights Commission told the Statesman Friday. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, almost 10 percent of Middleton's population are Hispanic, and the school district offers a migrant education program.
While the costumes would be troubling under any circumstances, the kerfuffle comes at a particularly incendiary time as, ahead of the midterm elections, President Trump has suggested trying to use an executive order to overrule protection of birthright citizenships as protected by the 14th Amendment and has ratcheted up anti-immigration fear-mongering over a caravan of migrants heading for the USA border.
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Superintendent Middleton also announced on Saturday that additional measures would be taken in the coming days, including increased safety, additional staff training as well as an ongoing investigation.