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Chicago school apologizes after students seen kneeling during Spanish song at dance

Marist High School said an investigation found that kneeling was not isolated to one song, but it acknowledged students "were hurt by these actions."

A Catholic high school in Chicago apologized after a video circulated of students kneeling during a Spanish-language song played at the school's homecoming dance.

Marist High School, in Chicago’s Mount Greenwood neighborhood, said Tuesday it was aware of a post circulating on social media regarding the dance and was “fully investigating” the events.

The school then issued a follow-up statement saying, "We acknowledge and apologize for the hurt this incident has caused our students, staff, alumni, and the many others who have expressed their feelings related to the video posted on social media."

After speaking to the dance's DJ as part of its investigation, the school said it appeared students knelt as a way to indicate they wanted a song changed, which happened during other songs as well. Witnesses also said the students danced to other Spanish-language songs, according to the school.

“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 school 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.”

Student Elizabeth Pacheco posted a video two days ago of a large group of students kneeling during “Payaso de Rodeo” by Caballo Dorado to her Instagram account.

“If you love our food, ethnic fashion, and energy so much... why do you resent us,” Pacheco wrote on Instagram. “How would you like it if we kneeled to your country music?”

Pachecho told the Chicago Sun-Times that the students were also heard disparaging Mexicans when the song came on, calling the incident disrespectful.

“I’m trying to understand their point of view,” Pacheco said. “But when it’s something that’s so wrong that just targets you and your community, it’s really upsetting. I kind of can’t see them the same anymore.”