‘I feel like it’s taking us three steps back:’ Hispanic leaders respond to Middleton saga

The viral furor of the Middleton Halloween costume story has died down, but Hispanic community leaders say the damage lingers.

“We’re trying to take one step forward and when something like this happens, I feel like it’s taking us three steps back,” Margie Gonzalez, executive director of the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs, told the Idaho Statesman in a Wednesday story.

Gustavo Acosta — a deejay with La Gran D, a Nampa radio station — questioned the Middleton School District’s decision to reinstate staff members only five days after the incident went viral. The employees should have been kept off the job longer, so they could reflect on their actions, Acosta told the Statesman.

The Heights Elementary School employees were placed on administrative leave on Nov. 3, a day after photos of the Halloween costumes created an international uproar. Several employees were pictured depicting a brick wall bearing the slogan “Make America Great Again.” Others were pictured dressed in stereotypical Mexican garb.

The district announced the reinstatements on Nov. 7.

While 13 employees were reinstated, Heights Principal Kim Atkinson remains on leave. On Monday, about 50 people attended a Middleton School Board meeting, the Statesman reported, and many urged trustees to allow Atkinson to return to work.

 

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