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'We Were Really Disrespected'; Marist Students Protest Offensive Act At Homecoming Dance

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Students at a Chicago high school are protesting after this video went viral.

It showed a group of kids kneeling in the center of the floor at a homecoming dance for Marist High School.

CBS 2's Marie Saavedra reports from Mt. Greenwood, where some students called it a sign of disrespect.

The issue of taking a knee was one thing, but the context of when it happened was another. It was enough that about two dozen students of color staged a protest Tuesday to share their hurt.

A lunchtime walkout at Marist High School. A group of students protesting what they call an offensive move at their high school dance.

"What happened Saturday, I feel like we were really disrespected."

CBS 2 is blurring video, taken by Marist student Elizabeth Pacheco, to protect student privacy. It captures the moment at this weekend's homecoming dance when some classmates, many of them white, took a knee during a song sung in Spanish.

"For them to be kneeling, which represents racial inequality and racial injustice, for them to be doing that for a song that's just not in their language, was so disappointing to see," said student Maia Trevino.

The group is calling for consequences, which Marist staff acknowledge in a statement on its website. It said they're "fully investigating the events and will address them as is appropriate."

"I trust that its going to be dealt with and it's being dealt with."

Maria Muniz is the mother of a freshman, who fears a bad idea at the dance has turned in to something bigger than it should be.

"I'm just concerned that this is going to create a division that is not there," Muniz said.

She said her son hasn't experienced racism in the Marist community.

"I'm speaking about my experience too. I'm not negating the experience that these ladies had," Muniz said.

Still, she believes school staff can and will hold those responsible accountable. But these high schoolers said they do not. So they were back outside as school let out to make sure their feelings are heard.

"What we want is a formal apology for these students and for them to be educated on why this was wrong," Trevino said.

In a statement posted on Twitter on Tuesday night, school officials said students knelt during other songs and were dancing during other Spanish-languages songs. The DJ at the event told school officials that people often kneel or crouch down to signal to the DJ to change the song.

"Although these are the facts, we recognize there are still students at Marist who viewed this video or who were at the Homecoming dance that were hurt by these actions," the statement said. "Marist is a family, and when one of us hurts, we all hurt. The fact that there were students who left the homecoming dance hurt by what they witnessed shows us that there is work to do."

The statement went on to detail some of the policies of inclusion that have been implemented at the school.

Parents tell CBS 2 the school has sent out several emails promising action on this.

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