On Tuesday, the Coronado Unified School District (CUSD) board voted unanimously to appeal the decision by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) related to last month’s tortilla-throwing incident at a high school basketball title game.
Board members decided not to accept the penalty and filed an appeal last Tuesday following the CIF’s decision to place the team on probation through the 2023-24 school year and vacate their 2020-21 regional championship.
According to reports, the board members believe that the adults who “made bad decisions” should be penalized and not young high school players. They also asked to wait for more investigations to be completed before sanctions are taken.
The board’s Tuesday vote was in response to what the CIF decided on June 30.
“While consequences are warranted for such an egregious action as throwing tortillas at a predominantly Latino team and the sanctions below are being levied on the athletic program at Coronado High School, we must all be aware that behavior does not normally change with sanctions alone,” the CIF said in a statement.
The CIF ruling also prohibits Coronado from hosting any basketball postseason contests “at the Section, Regional, or State levels for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years.” There are also additional sanctions against the entire athletic program unless certain racial/cultural sensitivity workshops are completed.
The CIF also asked Coronado High School to contact Orange Glen to improve relations between the two institutions and suggest workshops with a component of racial and cultural sensitivity.
Former Coronado High School student Luke Serna admitted to bringing the tortillas to the game and claimed that they were intended as a celebration and not a racist attack.
I realize the tortilla throwing has been perceived as racially insensitive. I do not condone racially insensitive behavior, and that was not my intent. I apologize to all who were hurt by this and hope it can be a teaching moment for us all to become more conscious.
— Luke Serna (@onehndbkhnd) June 24, 2021
On June 22, the board fired the school’s basketball coach, JD Laaperi, who allegedly had a confrontation with members of Orange Glen High School, which is a predominantly Latino school.
Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey recently said the following about the incident: “Oftentimes the truth is nuanced. This is certainly unsportsmanlike conduct, this certainly has some racial insensitivities there, but that doesn’t necessarily mean this was a racist act.”
According to some reports, this is not the first time racism has been discussed in Coronado. Last year in the midst of racial justice protests, some parents were against talking about these issues after the superintendent, Karl Mueller, promised to prioritize these discussions.
Juanita Ramos Ardila is a Colombian journalist who has written for El Tiempo and ColPrensa. An M.A. Journalism candidate at CUNY’s Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, Juanita is also Latino Rebels’ 2021 Summer Correspondent. Twitter: @JuanitaRamosA.