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County Human Relations Commission votes on response to Coronado tortilla throwing

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Posted at 5:19 PM, Jun 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 08:57:24-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) —The San Diego County’s Human Relations Commission (HRC) voted Monday unanimously to write a letter to the CIF, following a controversial tortilla throwing incident that took place after a high school basketball game on June 15th.

Ellen Nash, the chair of the HRC, says it will be a letter of inquiry.

“What are your cultural competency strategies? How do you advise your athletes in regards to appropriate culturally sensitive behavior?” Nash said as examples of what could be included in the letter that is yet to be drafted.

“Then they will respond, then we will follow up with recommendations,” she added.

The HRC is looking to send the letter by the end of the week. They also plan to send one to the county Board of Education as well as other pertinent agencies.

In addition, The HRC also passed a set of recommendations which they will send to county staff. The recommendations ask staff to research local programs that focus on youth human relations programming.

The recommendations also include expanding and supporting the work of the district attorney’s youth advisory board.

Also included, The exploration of the establishment of a countywide youth leadership program to address human relations issues.

They also want staff to identify additional support services as well as other funding options.

Nash says, at the end of the day, the focus is young people.

“With coaching, with support, we can create a whole new paradigm shift and the mindset around young people who will eventually become adults,” Nash said. “If we can address issues now, change hearts and mindsets, then we will create leaders of the future that will take this county and country about promoting positive human relations.”

Prior to Monday's meeting The HRC said in a release that it was "concerned and seriously disturbed following reports of recent hate incidents associated with the recent athletic event." The event took place on June 19 after a basketball game between Orange Glen High School and Coronado High.

After Coronado's victory, video captured tortillas being thrown at players from Orange Glen, a predominantly Hispanic school, during a heated exchange on the court.


The person who reportedly brought the tortillas to the game, Luke Serna, said he didn't intend for the act of throwing tortillas to be racial and was meant to evoke a tradition at UC Santa Barbara, which he also attended. Following the incident, the Coronado Unified School District held an emergency meeting and accepted public input, ultimately deciding to fire Coronado High basketball head coach JD Laaperi.

Responding to calls that Coronado High vacant the title the team won before the heated incident, CUSD Superintendent Karl Mueller said in a letter to the CIF that there's no evidence for the school to forfeit the game.

"In the first-person accounts, audio and video that we have reviewed to date, we have seen no evidence of antagonization by the players actions or behaviors that justify forfeiting the game," Mueller wrote. "The young men on the court played hard, fairly, and earned the championship win ... Numerous statements reference the actions of people representing both schools as contributing to somewhat of a 'powder keg' atmosphere."

The HRC was started in 2020 as a way to promote and support positive relations, respect, and integrity regardless of gender, religion, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, or citizenship status.