Calling the staffers “a huge part of our children’s lives,” an online petition is urging Middleton School District officials to retain 14 employees at the center of a controversy over Halloween costumes.
On Saturday, district officials placed the 14 employees on administrative leave, after photos surfaced of the employees in school, dressed in racially charged and stereotypical costumes.
The online petition launched Saturday.
“We believe (the issue has) been blown out of proportion, as this was a team building exercise done after school with no students present or involved,” the petition reads, in part. “We fully believe in our staff at Middleton Heights and don’t feel that this should cost the men and women involved their jobs and cause further stress to our children.”
This is at least the second online petition triggered by the Middleton controversy. On Friday, a petition surfaced urging “a proactive approach” to the photos — one depicting staffers dressed as a wall emblazoned with the political slogan “Make America Great Again,” and a second depicting staffers dressed donning sombreros and fake mustaches.
“The gross display of dehumanization of Latinx children and the outrageous harm caused by trusted adults that they learn from and look up to cannot be ignored and swept under the rug with a simple apology,” this petition reads, in part.
As of midmorning Monday, the petition supporting the staffers had received 11,582 signatures.
The “No Racism in Middleton School District” petition had received 9,704 signatures.
According to 2017 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, Middleton has a population of fewer than 7,500 residents. The district’s enrollment sits at slightly more than 4,000 students.