As if Virginia's Robert E. Lee High School weren't problematic enough in its name alone, the school is under fire after its principal and secretary dressed up as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in a prison jumpsuit for Halloween — and then posted the photo on the school's website.
Principal Mark Rowicki wore the Trump costume, which included a Trump button, a "Make America Great Again" hat and a suit, local television station WTVR reported Wednesday. Secretary Stephanie Corbett dressed in the orange prison jumpsuit, with a "Hillary Clinton" nametag and a chain around her waist.
A photo of Rowicki and Corbett posing together was posted on the school's website in an album of Halloween costumes. It has since been removed.
It didn't take long before concerned parents were calling out the costumes — and not just for portraying Clinton in prison garb. One parent, Emberly Lynn Martin, who also graduated from the school, posted the photo on her Facebook page along with a message, according to WTVR.
"I don't care who you are or are not voting for," Martin reportedly wrote. "You are professionals, who work with children. Some more impressionable than others. The fact that any school official would think it's OK to dress like this leaves me appalled and floored... What message are you sending to any of them when their high school principal dresses up like a man who wants to deport them, says things like, 'She's a nasty woman,' or 'Grab 'em by the p*ssy?'"
Similar comments were posted on the school's Facebook page. "Completely inappropriate choice of costume," one commenter wrote. "Secretary Clinton was never charged with a crime so dressing her up as a criminal indicates extreme partisanship and bias that should not be displayed by government employees."
On Thursday, Staunton school superintendent Linda Reviea released a statement on the high school's website:
"It is a longstanding tradition of Staunton City Schools — and of many school divisions across the United States — to allow students and staff to engage in festive activities and dress in costume for Halloween. That said, the particular costumes worn by two employees at R.E. Lee High School were in poor judgment, especially so given the current political climate and the extraordinarily strong sentiments for the 2016 presidential candidates. I became aware of the situation on Tuesday night (Nov. 1) and instructed our staff to remove the images in question from Lee High School's website the following day (Nov. 2). We are handling the situation as a personnel matter and addressing the issue with relevant staff."
But the non-apology apology may not quell the ire of the school's community. As of Thursday, many commenters on the high school's Facebook page were still calling for Rowicki and Corbett to be removed from their positions.