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Middleton teachers and staff to return to school this week

The announcement comes as staff members went through sensitivity training on Wednesday.

The schools' superintendent in Middleton says the Middleton Heights Elementary School 13 teachers and aides placed on administrative leave over a costume controversy will be allowed to return to the classroom in the next few days.

This announcement comes after an internal investigation conducted on Monday and Tuesday.

Superintendent Dr. Josh Middleton released a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying in part "Our focus is now one of healing with an opportunity for all of us to grow together as a community. Today we began the re-entry process with training on cultural sensitivity and correspondence with parents, the staff and community."

The teachers and elementary aides who were involved released a statement that said in part, "As educators, we understand our responsibility to our students, our parents, our colleagues, our community, and to our profession. While there was no malice or ill will in our intentions, we recently came up short in our understanding of the awareness of the impact of the choices we made, regardless of our intent."

Thirteen of the 14 Middleton Heights teachers staff members who were placed on administrative leave will be returning to work. The lone exception is the school’s principal.

It's unclear what exact date those staff members will return to work. But Dr. Middleton tells us they would now just like to focus on healing and moving on.

"I want to go back and say there was absolutely no malicious intent, wonderful hearts time to get them back to the classroom, parents want them back, colleagues want them back, I want them back."

Details about any disciplinary action are being kept confidential.

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Staff members were in a special training session Wednesday.

Parents picked up their students from school early Wednesday so staff members could attend that training.

The district says the training covers cultural awareness and conscious and unconscious behavior.

This training stems from photos that went viral - showing some staff members dressed in what some say were "insensitive" and "inappropriate" Halloween costumes.

We're told it was all part of an after-school team building exercise.

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The school district has since placed 14 staff members on administrative leave.

We spoke with Steve Hansen, a grandparent as he was picking up one of the students today.

“I feel sorry for the kids too that it affected, but I think probably most of the kids that are affected is because of what their parents are telling them and what people are telling them around the school,” Hansen said. “And I don't know if it's created or not it's just, I know my kids or grandkids don't seem to be having a problem with what's going on.”

It's unclear exactly how today's training went or how it was conducted.

But we do know that the district says this is just one of a number of other sessions that will continue to happen.

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