A Cinco de Mayo celebration featuring a Donald Trump pinata at a Colorado high school sends the wrong message to students.

A Spanish teacher at Roosevelt High School near Greeley has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. The incident happened on May 5 where students were encouraged or allowed to hit a pinata bearing the face of President Donald Trump.

Dr. Martin Foster, the superintendent of Weld RE- 5J made a statement on the school district's website saying, “This was an incredibly disrespectful act that does not reflect the values of Roosevelt High School or the school district.”

I would completely agree with Dr. Foster's statement. This is an incredible display of disrespect, spear-headed by a person whose position comes with an edict to lead our youth in a credible, professional, and respectful manner and not use that position as a means of political expression.

Although the office of the president of the United States should be treated with respect regardless of political and personal differences and opinions, the fact is it doesn't matter whose face is on the pinata. That is the wrong message to be sending our young people. According to a report from CBS 4, a number of parents took exception to the political expression.

This is not a defense of Donald Trump. He doesn't need my help. My objection to this incident has nothing to do with President Trump. My objection has to do with principles and values we should be teaching our kids.

Lesley Hollywood via Snapchat
Lesley Hollywood via Snapchat

I suspect there is a correlation between the Hispanic celebration and the Trump Administration's immigration policy, and the teacher, in this case, is certainly entitled to their personal beliefs and the way he chooses to express himself. But, a public school sanctioned event is not the right place or the right time.

Our kids should be taught about respecting those with whom we disagree; working out our differences through negotiation and productive dialogue. Too many times in life differences of opinions and beliefs are settled via violence, violent expressions, insults, vulgarity, and anger. This is not the way it should be, whether we trying to settle political differences, conflicts with co-workers, disputes with neighbors, or a claim at the customer service desk.

I don't believe the teacher at Roosevelt High School should be fired from his job, but an official reprimand would be more than appropriate. And the students who were involved in this incident - and others across the country who are watching from afar - need to know there is a better way to deal with our differences.

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