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Mother of Greendale High School student accused of using racial slur speaks out, protests continue

GREENDALE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Protests continued Monday outside Greendale High School over what some students say is an unhealthy racial climate.

Leading the marchers was Chanese Knox, a senior who says another girl called her the N-word last month. Knox says she was then suspended for defending herself.

Tamara Gonzalez is the mother of the other girl, Jessa. She says Knox was the aggressor in the situation and her daughter never used a racial slur.

Ally Gonzalez, Jessa’s older sister, says Knox and her friends have bullied Jessa all school year, even following her home once.

Ally says she called police and the girls were ticketed and fined. Tamara says Chanese, who was not included in that group, then approached Jessa in school as retaliation for her friends’ tickets.

Both girls received equal one-day suspensions.

“She never said [the N-word],” Tamara said. "It breaks my heart to see my daughter. I know she's not an angel, but she's been backed into a corner."

Knox and her friends say the school isn’t doing enough to protect them from racist students.

“Who's going to keep us safe?” Knox said. “Who's going to have our back? We're supposed to go to you for help. We’re supposed to go to you to fix this situation."

At the Greendale school board meeting Monday night, Knox, her friends and her mother, Diannia Merriett, spoke, demanding more from the board.

Superintendent Dr. Gary Kiltz read a prepared statement that referenced the district’s diversity council that promotes a sense of belonging for every student.

Kiltz said, in part, "I see this as a great opportunity for our students, parents and community to engage in healthy conversation about race."

Tamara says she’s pulling Jessa out of Greendale.

"Our family's getting targeted for being a bad family or racist,” Tamara said. “I have a multicultural family. We are far from racist."

The school is not releasing video of the incident between Chanese and Jessa.

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