Greendale High School junior Chanese Knox claims a white student called her 'n****r' in the hallway and says when she verbally defended herself, she was suspended, CBS 58 reports.
Other Black students at the school told CBS this type of racism is common within the school's walls in Greendale, Wisconsin. To combat racism on campus, Knox led several students in a protest Wednesday.
Yasminah Powell, a senior at the school, said she took part in the protest out of concern for her little brother.
“You have people that will just say 'n****r' freely in the hallways and not realize the magnitude the word has,” Powell said.
Another senior, Symone McLain, said the school's environment can make it difficult to concentrate on classes. “I shouldn’t have to be afraid to come to school because I feel like I’m going to get angry because somebody’s saying something racist,” said McLain.
Knox's mother, Diannia Merriett, said it's been hard to get her daughter to engage in school since the suspension. The teen acknowledged, “It’s a struggle every morning,” and said her grades have gotten worse following her return to school.
Merriett has demanded the district give her daughter an apology and revoke her suspension and asked, “How could you suspend the victim of a racial slur?”
School district officials are standing by the decision.
"Greendale Schools is committed to the safety and well-being of all students," superintendent Dr. Gary Kiltz said in a statement. "Threats, hate speech and harassment have no place in our school community. ... School administration continues to offer to work with the student and her mother to ensure she feels safe at school. We take these concerns very seriously and will continue to investigate the matters raised."
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