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The regional championship for a California high school was canceled Wednesday after a tortilla throwing incident after the game on Sept.
Coronado High School vacated its regional boys’ championship in Division 4-A and was suspended after competing against Orange Glen High School by Escondido for “discriminatory and racially insensitive behavior,” according to a statement from the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF ).
“In this case, there is no doubt that throwing tortillas at a mostly Latino team is unacceptable and warrants sanctions,” the CIF said.
MAN WHO SAYS HE’S HALF-MEXICAN ADMITTED TO BRING TORTILLAS TO BASKETBALL GAME NO “RACING”
The school is on probation until 2024 and was not allowed to host any post-season competitions at the section, regional or state level until 2023, the statement said. All Coronado High School administrators, sports directors, coaches and student athletes must complete an athleticism workshop that includes training in racial and cultural sensitivity. According to the CIF, game management training must also be completed for all school administrators and sports directors.
Last week, in a closed session, the Coronado Unified School Board unanimously voted to dismiss Coronado head coach JD Laaperi over the incident. Witnesses apparently said Laaperi cursed an Orange Glen coach after the game and said, “That’s why you’re not talking (expletive). Get your kids and get the (expletive) out of here,” the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Shortly thereafter, at least two Coronado players hurled tortillas at the Orange Glen team, according to videos posted on social media.
Luke Serna, the southern California man who brought in the tortillas thrown after the game, told FOX 5 San Diego last week that he was half-Mexican and that there was no “racial intent” to throw them in the air.
“Those who have made this issue a racially charged issue should feel utterly ashamed,” he said. “The people who fell for this plot to slander Coach Laaperi are not worth taking part in the discussion of this event as their intent is to spark the flames of racism where there was none.”
Serna said the tortillas were brought to the June championship game to mimic a tradition made at various sporting events at UC Santa Barbara, a school he allegedly attended, the broadcaster reported. Serna said he brought the tortillas for the cheerleaders to throw if they win the game. Coronado won in overtime 60-57.
According to UC Santa Barbara Alumni pageThrowing tortillas after the gauchos scored their first point in basketball games was a tradition in the 1990s.
CALIFORNIA HS BASKETBALL COACH FIRED AFTER TORTILLAS THROWN AT OPPOSING TEAM
Several community groups had called for punishment for the incident in June.
Francine Maxwell, president of the NAACP division in San Diego, said of those who tossed tortillas be committed “Racist acts that do not represent San Diego or the America we all love and want to cherish.”
Other parishioners argued that tortilla tossing was not meant to be racist.
In its statement, the CIF “strongly” encouraged Coronado to become involved with Orange Glen and to build a “positive relationship between the two school communities”. Schools were also encouraged to participate in a restorative justice exercise and community service projects.
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“While the ramifications for such an egregious act as throwing tortillas at a mostly Latino team are warranted and the penalties listed below are imposed on Coronado High School’s sports program, we must all be aware that behavior is usually not alone changes through sanctions. ” added the CIF. “The path to real change comes with developing empathy for those who receive these types of demeaning and degrading behaviors, regardless of the intended intent of that behavior.”
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report