Two Teton High School students dressed as Adolf Hitler and the other as a Jewish person on Halloween last week.
Principal Sam Zogg said English teacher Marilyn Reiley stopped the students as they entered her class after they donned the costumes at lunch last Thursday. He said the teacher made the students take off the costumes and explained that dressing like that was wrong.
Zogg said the student wearing the Hitler custom had a hat and mustache, but did not know if the student was wearing a Nazi symbol. The student dressed as a Jewish person was wearing a star, but Zogg did not know if it was the Star of David. The student dressed as Hitler was pulling the student dressed as a Jewish person around with a leash or rope-like item, Zogg said.
Zogg was not at the school when the incident occurred and said he was told about it after school last Thursday. There was no school on Friday so Zogg said he took time Monday to talk with the two students, whom he described as young and not seniors. He said the students’ parents were told about the incident.
He said he went through the “Harassment Protocol” for the high school, which could include punishment. Zogg would not elaborate any further on any possible repercussions for the students but encouraged them to go and see the high school play, which was written by Holocaust survivor.
“We don’t make fun of people in history,” said Zogg. “They thought it was a joke and we talked about how it was not a joke. I applaud Ms. Reiley and whoever else has talked to them about this.”
Zogg said this wasn’t the only incident of students dressing inappropriately for Halloween. One student dressed as a prostitute, another as Jesus and some were wearing masks that covered their faces, which Zogg said was unsafe because students are not identifiable.
“There is no simple fix to this,” Zogg said. “We are trying to address this as a staff. These were two kids and not the whole student body. We have to look at the whole issue to prevent even two kids from doing this again.”
He said he plans to discuss this issue Friday with staff at a faculty meeting and questioned whether it is worth allowing students to dress up for Halloween.
“Hopefully this is something we can help curb,” Zogg said. “These kids are part of our community and we all need to help educate them.”
A call to Reiley and Teton School Board Chair Chris Issacson on Monday was not immediately returned.