Things That Matter

These Idaho Teachers Are On Paid Administrative Leave Because Of Their Costumes

Fourteen Idaho elementary school teachers and staff members were put on administrative leave after they dressed up as Mexican stereotypes and the U.S. border wall for Halloween.

The since deleted photos posted to Middleton School District’s Facebook page show Middleton Heights Elementary employees wearing sombreros and ponchos while holding mustaches and maracas. The other group of teachers held pieces of a cardboard brick wall with President Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” The images quickly spread online and were met with immediate backlash with people calling the images racist.

In since deleted photos, a group of elementary school employees in Idaho dressed as Mexicans and the border wall.

Middleton School District superintendent Josh Middleton made the decision to put the employees on paid administrative leave Saturday at a special school board meeting. According to the Associated Press, Board Chairman Tim Winkle said the costumes were part of a team building activity that took place during after-school hours. The school board released a statement shortly after the meeting:

“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,” the statement said. “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.”

A member of the district’s crisis team will be taking over day-to-day principal duties at Middleton Heights for the time being.

The Idaho Education Association posted on Facebook about the offensive costumes and the lack of judgement on behalf of the school.

“The events that took place at Heights Elementary School in Middleton on Halloween are disturbing and inappropriate,” the post read. “The teachers involved, as well as school administrative personnel, and the Middleton School District showed extremely poor judgment.”

Superintendent Middleton learned about the photos after an upset parent contacted him last Thursday. The district immediately launched an investigation into the photos. In a now deleted Facebook live post, Middleton apologized and said that he wanted to “express my sincerest and deepest apologies” for the offensive costumes.

“We are better than this. We embrace all students,” Middleton said in the video. “We have a responsibility to teach and reach all students, period.”

While some are offended by the images some don’t see it that way. Thousands have already signed a petition backing the Idaho teachers.

At least 12,000 signatures have been signed to an online petition in support of the Idaho school administrators that have been suspended. Jacquelyn Meeker, who started the petition, wrote that the situation was “blown out of proportion, as this was a team building exercise done after school with no students present or involved.”

A separate petition, that has drawn almost 10,000 signatures, is titled “No racism in Middleton School District” and describes the costumes as disturbing, bigoted and racist. The petition demands that there should be a change in the culture at the school and it should start with a curriculum that provides awareness of “systemic racism.” According to data from the U.S census, Middleton, Idaho has a Latino population of 9.5 percent, while Middleton Heights Elementary is only 12.9 percent Hispanic/Latino, according to Idaho Ed Trends.

Rights groups are calling for a change in culture in the school district noting the effect these images will have on students going forward.

Twelve advocacy rights organizations, including the Idaho American Civil Liberties Union, sent a letter to the district expressing concern about the costumes and the effect they may have on students.

“Regardless of the intent of a teacher’s actions in the classroom, we must focus on and give weight to the impact of such actions on the students who rely on teachers and other school officials for guidance and support throughout their educational experience,” the ACLU of Idaho said in a statement.

The images come at a divisive time in the country as rhetoric from the President concerning immigrants has been a hot topic. J.J. Saldaña, who oversees education efforts for the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs, said the reaction among Latinos in the community has been one of disappointment.

“Over the past two years we’ve seen students getting bullied and hearing things like ‘We’re going to build a wall’ or ‘Your parents are going to be deported,’” Saldaña said. “We need more than just an apology from the school district. These teachers should be leading by example not dividing.”


READ: Here Are 13 Moments Of People Attacking Latinos That Set Social Media On Fire

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A 70-Year-Old Mexican-American Woman Was Attacked Because Her Assailant Thought She Was Asian

Things That Matter

A 70-Year-Old Mexican-American Woman Was Attacked Because Her Assailant Thought She Was Asian

Photo via @the_asian_dawn/Instagram

In another incident that highlights the anti-Asian sentiment that is on the rise in recent months, a 70-year-old California woman was attacked in Eagle Rock, earlier this month. According to news reports, a young woman attacked her while she was exiting the bus to pick up groceries.

The elderly woman, who goes by Becky, is Mexican-American. But her attacker yelled an anti-Asian slur at her before physically assaulting her.

According to AAPI news site Asian Dawn, Becky’s attacker was a 23-year-old woman who was also riding the bus with her. The woman did nothing to provoke the attack. The young woman ended up dragging the older woman from the back of the bus to the front of the bus. Becky ended up in the hospital with a broken nose, a concussion, two severely swollen eyes, and chunks of her hair torn from her head.

According to Becky’s son, who only goes by Pete, while the family are Mexican-American, people often mistake their family for being of Asian descent. According to Pete, no one intervened to stop the young woman from attacking his mother.

“Nobody would help. Not even the bus driver,” the woman’s son told The Eastsider.

Finally, the young woman stopped her attack after a fellow passenger called 911. The police were able to apprehend the young woman after issuing a bulletin for her arrest.

According to Pete, his mother has a long road of recovery ahead of her. Already suffering from lupus and arthritis, her mother is having trouble walking. Her leg is badly bruised from the assault.

The fact that the victim was Mexican-American serves to illustrate how ignorant and hateful these racist attacks are. There is no rhyme or reason to hate.

Many are linking the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the virus originated in Wuhan, China. The violent racists that have been attacking people who appear to be of Asian descent believe that Asian-Americans are somehow personally responsible for the pandemic.

If you to support the #StopAsianHate cause, donate to organizations like gofundme.com/AAPI or the Asian American Legal defense fund here.

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Here’s How You Can Help Daunte Wright’s Family After He Was Killed By Police

Things That Matter

Here’s How You Can Help Daunte Wright’s Family After He Was Killed By Police

Police have taken another Black man’s life, this time it’s 20-year-old Daunte Wright. Protests have broken out in cities across the country as the nation reacts to the killing of yet another young Black man.

But as the nation reacts to the murder, Wright’s family – his mother and child – need all the support they can get right now and thankfully there are many ways that we can all be better allies while helping support the family that Wright leaves behind.

Daunte Wright is the third high-profile police murder in Minneapolis.

Daunte Wright was driving to his older brother’s house with his girlfriend on Sunday afternoon, when police pulled him over for expired tags. Police said they found an existing warrant for Wright’s arrest and attempted to handcuff him.

Bodycam footage revealed Officer Kim Potter shot Wright when she claimed to be reaching for her taser. He died on the scene, just 10 miles from where former police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for the death of George Floyd.

According to CNN, Daunte’s death is at least the third high-profile death of a Black man at the hands of police in Minnesota in the last five years. And Daunte Wright’s death comes less than a year after the police killing of George Floyd, which sparked protests around the world.

Daunte Wright leaves behind a family still struggling with such an immense loss.

Daunte’s mother, Katie Wright, spoke out about the fear he experienced before his death. Daunte called her after the police pulled him over, at the suggestion of his older brother. “I know my son was scared. He’s afraid of the police, and I just seen and heard the fear in his voice. But I don’t know why, and it should have never escalated the way it did,” Katie told Good Morning America on April 13.

According to Katie, Daunte believed he was getting pulled over for his hanging air fresheners, then she heard “scuffling” and an officer told him to hang up the phone. “I tried to call back three, four times and the girl that was with him answered the phone and she said that they shot him and he was lying in the driver’s seat unresponsive.”

If you’d like to help support Daunte’s family and demand justice, below are a few resources and action items:

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