People hold up a banner during a Black Lives Matter protest outside City Hall in New York City, Aug. 1, 2016. Reuters

Parents of two former Marist High School students expelled after a racist message was discovered in their group chat are suing the Chicago school, claiming they are being unfairly blamed for larger racial tensions flaring up in the city, CBS Chicago reported Monday.

The families' lawyers also accused the school of failing to follow protocol by not taking the appropriate disciplinary measures before expelling the female students. The racist comment was revealed by one of 32 participating students in a group chat created for a spiritual retreat. One student screenshot the racist message and responses to it, which went viral on social media and led to the expulsion of five students. The parents of two of the students claim the messages omit the context of the conversation and events that surrounded them.

Marist High School is a private, Catholic school located in a predominantly white, conservative part of Chicago known as Mount Greenwood. Last month, an African-American man from Indianapolis named Joshua Beals was shot dead during a funeral procession after a road rage-related altercation with an off-duty police officer. Beals' family claim that cops failed to identify themselves and that Beals was killed after the scene dispersed, sustaining two shots to the back and three to the front. Authorities claim Beals, who had a concealed carry license, shot first or attempted to shoot at the off-duty officer.

Protests between activist group Black Lives Matter and pro-police group Blues Lives Matter erupted in the neighborhood, with many residents siding with the latter movement as police struggled to restore order. One Twitter user posted a comment claiming that the leadership of the predominantly African-American gang Gangster Disciples had called for violence against whites in Mount Greenwood. In response, one of the Marist students wrote the racist message in the group chat, which received significant social media attention.

Lawyers representing families of two students claimed the girls were being "used as scapegoats" and are suing the school demanding that the girls be reinstated in school or receive $1,000,000 each for invasion of privacy as well as a further $65,000 each for tuition and other fees if the students, both seniors, are prevented from graduating.

Groups of students calling themselves Black Lives Matter Youth staged protests in schools across the city after the message was initially revealed. The activists ultimately met with Marist High School administrators and police, agreeing that both Black Lives Matter Youth students and cops would engage in monthly workshops to improve community relations.