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Chanese Knox, a junior at Greendale High School in Wisconsin said that she was the victim of racial taunts. According to Knox, in September a student called her “nigger.” She took up for herself and began arguing with the student. The school intervened. The police were called—and Knox was suspended.

“How could you suspend the victim of a racial slur?” Diannia Merriett, Knox’s mother asked news station CBS 58.

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On Wednesday, Knox and others protested the racial climate at the school where they say students are comfortable being openly racist.

“This was a very traumatic experience for [Chanese] to be in a place where she thought she was supposed to be safe,” Merriett said.

Merriett added that her daughter never hit the girl who called her a nigger, yet she was still suspended for sticking up for herself.

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Knox told the news station that since the suspension, her grades have suffered.

“It’s a struggle every morning,” Knox said.

Merriett noted that she’s met with school officials since the incident but has been unhappy with the response.

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In a statement, Superintendent Dr. Gary Kiltz said:

Greendale Schools is committed to the safety and well-being of all students. District administration takes every student, family and staff concern seriously and investigates all matters brought to our attention. Threats, hate speech and harassment have no place in our school community. In accordance with Federal student privacy laws, we are not able to provide specifics regarding the incident and student consequences referenced. We can tell you that the students involved in this situation have been counseled and appropriate school actions have been taken in accordance with District practice. 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.

Other protesters told the news station they, too, have been called “nigger” in school.

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“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,” Symone McLain, a senior, told CBS 58.

Merriett told the news station that “she wants an apology from the district and to have her daughter’s suspension overturned.”