SKOKIE, Ill. — Students and staff said a protest over wearing masks in schools took an ugly turn at Niles West High School.

Racial slurs were allegedly directed towards a group of Black students during a recent mask protest.

At Niles West, students demonstrated Friday and spoke out against alleged racially inflammatory words spewed out during a recent anti mask protest.

Several dozen students walked out in protest of what they claim is racial discrimination at school.

During a recent mask protest at Niles West students said several Black students were called out of their names.

A letter from the school principal stated, in part,

During the walkout, students in the hallway heard the n-word directed toward them. This is not the first time it has happened. In fact, students and adults hear the n-word regularly in school, along with other racial slurs and derogatory comments about religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation and other identity groups at school and on social media

Leaders from Skokie Schools Equity Collaborative are standing in solidarity with the student and community demonstrators.

Maggie Vandermeer is the group’s co-founder.

“We’re here to send the message that the community supports our Black and Brown students in District 219 and we recognize this incident was not isolated,” she said.