Tortillas were thrown at a mostly Latino California high school basketball team on Saturday night.
According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, the incident led the Coronado Unified School Board to fire head basketball coach JD Laaperi on Tuesday night. The firing started with Saturday’s basketball game between Coronado and Orange Glen.
Following Coronado’s 60-57 overtime win, Laaperi allegedly told an Orange Glen coach, “That’s why you don’t talk (expletive). Get your kids the (expletive) out of here.” A scuffle ensued, and at least two Coronado students threw tortillas at the Orange Glen team in what many deemed a racist incident.
Laaperi tweeted over the weekend that, “Unfortunately a community member brought tortillas and distributed them which was unacceptable and racist in nature. I do not condone this behavior. Coronado High School does not condone this behavior and is already taking appropriate action.”
The Union-Tribune reported that the tortilla throwers were Coronado players, while the Coronado Unified School District, Escondido Union High School District, Coronado police and the California Interscholastic Federation are investigating the incident.
“The individuals who participated in these actions do not reflect our school district values,” Coronado superintendent Karl Mueller said in a statement. “I want to make it clear that there is no place for such conduct in Coronado Unified School District.
“It is our hope to create opportunities to dialogue with the Orange Glen community in an attempt to repair. We are hopeful that this experience can be used as a teachable moment to educate our students on the impact of words and actions, and to reflect and learn from it to move forward to increased awareness and respect to match our high expectations.”
While some deny the incident was racist, Coronado School Board president Lee Pontes said, “No matter the intent of the tosser, the ethnic implications are unavoidable; they’re undeniable.”