Colorado school officials are investigating allegations a Spanish teacher allowed his students to hit a pinata with Donald Trump's face on it. The incident was "incredibly disrespectful," said the local superintendent.
Videos of the event were posted on Snapchat, apparently showing the pinata tied to a tree on the campus of Roosevelt High School in Colorado. According to local TV channel CBS4, a Spanish language teacher allowed his students to hit the brightly colored object as part of Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
The custom of creating an easily breakable container, filling it with candy, and smashing it open at parties is most commonly associated with Mexico and Mexican immigrants living in the US. It has grown in popularity across the US in recent years.
Lesley Hollywood, one of the parents of a Roosevelt High student, said a pinata was the wrong way to be "teaching our children politics."
"It is disturbing that this would be happening in a school setting," she told Denver's CBS4. "Why divide people? Why do this?"
Hollywood also said that she did not vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 election. However, she was worried because political discourse in the US was "already so strained and so angry."
"I wouldn't have cared if it was Obama's face on that pinata, or if it had been Hillary Clinton's face," Hollywood added. "It doesn't matter."
According to Hollywood's online post on the incident, some students say that an image of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto was attached to the other side of the pinata.
The authorities placed the teacher on paid leave pending investigation, but did not release his name.
"This was an incredibly disrespectful act that does not reflect the values of Roosevelt High School or the school district," Superintendent Martin Foster said on Facebook.
US President Donald Trump has antagonized the US Latino population with his hostile rhetoric towards Mexican immigrants. Pinatas and masks representing Trump were widely used for last year's Cinco de Mayo and Halloween celebrations, before his election win in November.