SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Coronado Unified School District's board voted unanimously to appeal the California Interscholastic Federation's ruling that stripped Coronado High of its high school boys basketball championship over tortillas being thrown after the team's win against Orange Glen High.
In a statement on Tuesday, the school board said it "voted unanimously, to initiate litigation regarding CIF sanctions imposed on the District on June 30, 2021."
That ruling by the CIF vacated the 2021 Southern California Boys Basketball Division 4-A Regional Championship win and placed the school on probation through the 2023-2024 school year.
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CIF officials also issued several sanctions against the school, including:
- The 2021 Southern California Boys Basketball Division 4-A Regional Championship is vacated.
- Coronado High School is on probation for the 2021-2022, 2022-2023, and 2023-2024 school years.
- The Coronado High School boys basketball team will not host postseason contests at the Section, Regional, or State levels for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years.
- All other teams in the Coronado High School athletic program will not host postseason contests at the Section, Regional, or State levels until numbers 5 and 6 below have been completed.
- Completion of a sportsmanship workshop (to include a component of racial/cultural sensitivity training such as the NFHS Implicit Bias Course) for all Coronado High School administrators, athletic director(s), coaches, and student-athletes.
- Completion of game management training for all Coronado High School administrators and athletic director(s).
- The administration at Coronado High School is strongly encouraged to engage with the administration at Orange Glen High School to begin the process of developing a positive relationship between the two school communities. Examples may include the following:
- The administrators at the two schools work cooperatively to provide the student athletes at both schools with a restorative justice opportunity.
- The administrators at the two schools work with a community-based non-profit organization to conduct community service projects with their student-athletes and coaches.
Coronado Unified School District said after the ruling that it had hired an outside investigator to thoroughly review the incident on June 19 at Coronado High.
Following that game, tortillas were thrown at players from Orange Glen High, a predominantly Hispanic school, from the Coronado side of the court. Backlash over the game prompted an emergency school board meeting, after which the board voted to oust Coronado High basketball coach JD Laaperi, who was seen exchanging words with the Orange Glen staff after the win.
A community member, identified as Luke Serna, said he brought the tortillas to the game and did not intend for it to be taken as racially insensitive.
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"Yes, I handed out the tortillas myself before the game. I indicated that they were strictly for use if the team won. I never said anything about flinging them at the other team to either the bench players or the cheerleaders," a text to ABC 10News from Serna read.
The CIF said in its ruling, "in this instance, there is no doubt the act of throwing tortillas at a predominately Latino team is unacceptable and warrants sanctions."