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Dozens rally to support Coronado High basketball team

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Posted at 11:24 PM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-08 18:10:52-04

CORONADO, Calif. (KGTV) - Dozens of people rallied outside the Coronado Unified School District headquarters Wednesday to show their support for the Coronado High School basketball team.

The rally comes after the school district board announced it would appeal the CIF's decision to strip the team of their championship following a tortilla throwing incident on June 19. The CIF also imposed sanctions on Coronado High School's athletics program.

People at the rally say the district's decision to appeal the CIF ruling is a start.


Supporters of the school also want a full investigation into the tortilla throwing incident. Several people at the rally told ABC 10News they want the board to walk back and apologize for any previous comments they made, which said the act was racially motivated.

They say the board should stay neutral until the investigation is completed.

At a Wednesday news conference, Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey called on the district's board to apologize for releasing a statement condemning the Coronado High School basketball team as being "fueled by racism, colorism, and classism.”

Bailey described the actions as a "rush to judgment" by the CIF and school district which falsely characterized the team and the community.

"There's a big difference between unsportsmanlike conduct, unsportsmanlike conduct that is racially insensitive and a racially motivated act," Bailey said. "These are the same student-athletes that nominated two players on their team -- who are players that just happened to be Black and happened to be half-Black and half-Hispanic -- to represent them as their team captains."

In a statement to ABC 10News, the district said:

"On Tuesday morning, the CUSD Governing Board took unanimous action to appeal the sanctions imposed on CHS last week by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) based on the incident of June 19, 2020. As my original statement to CIF explained, it remains my view that the behaviors of the boys on the court during the game do not warrant vacating the championship. We are submitting our intent to appeal to CIF immediately.

The incidents that took place after the game are a different story - they had to be addressed and are worthy of our examination.

Our focus remains on creating a safe, respectful, supportive learning environment for all. We have heard voices that share passion and pride in their communities, and we all want a positive experience for our children and each other. This unfortunate incident and its aftermath have been difficult for everyone affected. No one wanted this occurrence. At times, our school community has seen themselves described in an unkind way or blamed and that hurts. As someone who is dedicated to Coronado and our school district, I am sorry that we are going through this and understand the desire to counter that narrative. I also understand that each person has a viewpoint and that it is tempting when we are hurt or angry to look for simple causes, with hindsight or to want to place blame. Despite differences of opinion or perspectives, we are all looking to understand what happened, learn and to find a productive and positive way forward together.

In reaction to the outcomes, some people have asserted that CUSD responded hastily in our course of action. I would like to reiterate what we knew within minutes of the conclusion of the game and how it guided our response:

• An altercation took place after the game
• Adult behavior instigated the altercation
• Some of the adults responsible were affiliated with CUSD
• Tortillas were thrown at our guests by our students during the altercation
• This act was immediately interpreted by some in attendance as an act of aggression and racism
• This act hurt some of those in attendance in ways that others may never experience or imagine
• Because we hurt someone, we should not attempt to make excuses, deflect, or rationalize
• We needed to immediately recognize the hurt, apologize, and take responsibility
• We needed to use this experience to listen, reflect and learn as a school community

Afterward, attempting to identify or explain intent is important but it does not change the impact of the act on others in the moment due to their interpretation and feelings. Looking at the overall incident, assertions like 'It wasn’t meant that way' or 'They started it' do not remove our responsibility to take accountability and act when we have caused offense. We need to listen in order to understand our role.

People are entitled to their own opinions and perceptions. As seen by the strong reactions, the feelings related to this incident do not live in a vacuum. Cross-cultural understanding and awareness are part of our local and national discourse. No perspectives shared or felt can be fairly presented as absolutes in human experiences.

We cannot change the fact that this happened, and we cannot strive to create a narrative to justify it. We agree that we all want the best for our communities and our children and for everyone to feel welcome and safe. Our responsibility as an educational institution is to consider the perspectives of all and to create and model constructive dialogue and actions so that our students are prepared. We want to work together to prevent something similar from ever happening again so that none of us is part of this type of experience in the future.

There are students who are watching how we respond and what we say in order to learn how to navigate the world. What we do next is the essential question and I ask everyone who cares about the future of our community to shift their focus from hindsight and criticism to how we can move forward together, even better than before."

Bailey described the school board's statement, which was released the day after the game, as premature before any investigation was completed.

Under the CIF sanctions, Coronado High School has been placed on probation through the end of the 2024 school year, the Islanders boys' basketball team will not host postseason contests at the section, regional or state levels through the 2023 school year and all other teams in the Coronado High School athletic program will not host postseason contests at the section, regional or state levels until all Coronado administrators, athletic director, coaches and players complete a sportsmanship workshop which includes a component of racial/cultural sensitivity training and completion of game management training for all Coronado High School administrators and athletic directors.

City News Service contributed to this report