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Teachers who wore racist costumes to school skate by on paid leave

The superintendent said he didn't find malicious intent behind their racist stereotypes and "border wall" costume.

A Facebook screen shot of the teachers' costumes. Other teachers dressed in "Mexican" clothing and false mustaches.
A Facebook screen shot of the teachers' costumes. Other teachers dressed in "Mexican" clothing and false mustaches.

White teachers at an Idaho school came to class dressed in sombreros and serapes, or as segments of a “border wall” that said “Make America Great Again,” but are facing only paid leave — not firing or unpaid suspension — after the school superintendent decided their intentions weren’t malignant enough.

“Do I think there was a malicious intent with this decision? No, I don’t,” said Superintendent Josh Middleton. “Was there poor judgment involved? Absolutely. And we now have to own those decisions.”

Superintendent Middleton apologized to families served by the school, saying “we embrace all students.”

A dozen advocacy groups, including the ACLU of Idaho, disagree, and have written a letter to Middleton. “We believe the school and classrooms have now become hostile environments that are not conducive to the education of the students,” the letter states.

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Middleton is 9.5 percent Latino, and 12.9 percent of Middleton Heights Elementary students are Hispanic/Latino, according to the Idaho Statesman.