CORONADO, Calif. (AP) — A San Diego-area school district fired the head basketball
coach Tuesday night after tortillas were thrown at a team from a predominantly Latino high school
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Coronado Unified School Board voted 5-0 in closed session to release JD Laaperi of Coronado High School and discussed but did not act on student discipline.
After visiting Orange Glen High School of Escondido beat visiting Coronado 60-57 in overtime Saturday in a division championship game, there was a squabble between the coaching staffs of both schools
The Union-Tribune reported that witnesses claimed Laaperi yelled expletives at an Orange Glen coach, saying, “Get your kids and get the (expletive) out of here.”
The video then showed at least two Coronado students throwing tortillas into the air in the direction of the opposing team.
Coronado Unified School District Superintendent Karl Mueller apologized publicly for the "reprehensible" act on Sunday.
Laaperi said in a tweet Saturday that a community member brought tortillas to the game, calling the incident "unacceptable and racist
“I do not condone this behavior, and Coronado High School does not condone it either, and is already taking appropriate action,” he tweeted.
The incident is being investigated by both school districts, Coronado police
, and the California
According to the Union-Tribune, Wayne McKinney, captain of the Coronado basketball team, players and coaches received hate messages and death
threats following the incident.
He described the tortilla-throwing as unsportsmanlike but not an act of bigotry on Tuesday.
“It wasn’t based on race or class; it was simply a great game between two teams,” McKinney said, adding that “I think many people
are making Saturday out to be something it wasn’t.”
“Even if they weren't meant to be racist, we can't ignore that our guests, these children
who worked so hard for a championship, felt attacked because they were Hispanic,” Coronado school trustee Whitney Antrim said during the meeting.
Escondido Union High School District Superintendent Anne Staffieri said in a community letter Tuesday that following its investigation
, the district wants to bring students from both teams together “to face one another, to confront, discuss, and grow stronger through honest discussions and sincere apologies.”