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San Dieguito school district Superintendent speaks out

Dr. James-Ward’s attorney says if she is indeed fired, they believe it is retaliation against her and they will file a lawsuit.

SAN DIEGO — Embattled San Dieguito Union High School District's superintendent Dr. Cheryl James Ward and her attorney believe if she is fired, it is retaliation and they will be filing a lawsuit.

Dr. James-Ward spoke to CBS 8’s Keristen Holmes to talk about the controversy surrounding her comments that lead to her being put on administrative leave. 

CBS 8 first asked Dr. James-Ward what the last few weeks have been like.

“Sheer hell. Just sheer hell. Like, what the heck just happened. How did this happen? My intentions were never meant to harm, to hurt," said James-Ward.

James-Ward says her comments in a diversity equity and inclusion meeting were taken out of context. She says a clip from that meeting and an online tweet were sent to her as the community outrage began to build. 

WATCH: Full interview with Dr. James-Ward

“The video clip discussed just that one piece about why Asian kids do well in school and my responses to that. But with that was a tweet by Dr. Frank Xu that said, ‘Dr. Ward is woke and she believes that Asian kids do well in school because their families are rich and don't work.’ I didn't say that. I didn't say that at all. But those two pieces together sent a message to the community and for me they were intentionally sent together to get the reaction that they got," said James-Ward.

Despite the fallout, she still believes in the mission of diversity, equity and inclusion training. 

"I believe diversity, equity and inclusion should continue. We need to learn about each other. But not in a way that we are condemned and crucified and publicly lynched. Our school leaders need to be given the grace to engage in this conversation in a real way that makes a difference for kids. And I know that they are concerned and worried because of what has happened to me - but I still say do what's right," said James-Ward.

She says she's concerned that this controversy overshadows the work that needs to be done in San Dieguito schools. 

"What's going to happen to this country if we are lynched, publicly lynched for having a real conversation?," said James-Ward.

James-Ward shares this message to San Dieguito Union High School District parents, students and the community. "I love my kids, I love my parents, I love my teachers, I am there to support you. And to my administrators, stay strong," said James-Ward.

Dr. James-Ward’s attorney says if she is indeed fired, they believe it is retaliation against her after she filed a claim asking for an investigation into the district’s board and they will file a lawsuit.

WATCH RELATED: Students, parents, faculty split on Dr. Ward continuing as San Dieguito superintendent