White high school students in Chicago kneeled to protest a Spanish-language song at their homecoming dance on Saturday, and allegedly made racist comments about Mexican students.
Elizabeth Pacheco, 16, posted video of the incident on Instagram that had been viewed more than 197,000 times by Tuesday afternoon.
Patch.com reports that students at Marist High School, a Roman Catholic school, kneeled in protest when the DJ played the Spanish-language version of Billy Ray Cyrus' hit "Achy Breaky Heart."
"People immediately started booing and kneeling, and everyone knows from the national anthem that kneeling means protesting — they were against the song," Pacheco told Patch, adding that the protesting students also disrupted others who continued dancing. "They started saying really disrespectful things about Mexicans and that's when I started to record."
Pacheco also said no staff members intervened to stop the students from protesting or making racist remarks.
"That's what made me so upset, they were right by the DJ when it was happening, but they didn't do anything," Pacheco said. "I felt really belittled, and as a minority, there's only 16 percent of us at our school. I felt really disrespected."
On Monday, sophomores at the school reportedly responded to the incident by kneeling during a homeroom period "to show how we are against racism and add [to] address the problem that happened," the Chicago Tribune reports.
Pacheco and her friend, Maia Trevino, also 16, told the Tribune that a similar incident occurred in September, when the school's predominantly Mexican kitchen staff played Spanish-language music to kick off National Hispanic Heritage Month.
"(Trevino) said some white students booed, and one mockingly used what she described as a stereotypical Mexican accent," the Tribune reports. "Though Pacheco and Trevino weren't yet students at Marist, they also recalled an incident in which two white students were expelled in 2016 over racist text messages that were shared on social media."
Marist officials issued a statement saying they are investigating the homecoming incident and will address it "as appropriate."
"Marist's mission is to make Jesus known and loved. We respect and foster diversity, equity, and inclusion for all and want every student to succeed by feeling valued, seen, and connected," the statement read.