After 'Reprehensible' Act at High School Game, a Firing

Head basketball coach at Calif. school is out of a job over tortilla incident
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 23, 2021 1:04 PM CDT
High School Coach Fired After 'Reprehensible' Tortilla Incident
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/TuelekZa)

A San Diego-area school district voted Tuesday night to fire the head basketball coach after tortillas were hurled at a team from a mostly Latino high school, per the AP. The school board for the Coronado Unified School District voted 5-0 in a closed session to release JD Laaperi of Coronado High School and also discussed but didn't take action on student discipline, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. There'd been a squabble between coaching staff from both schools after the mostly white Coronado team beat visiting Orange Glen High School of Escondido 60-57 in overtime Saturday in a division championship game. Witnesses allege Laaperi shouted expletives at an Orange Glen coach, saying, "Get your kids and get the [expletive] out of here," the Union-Tribune notes. Video shared on social media then showed at least two Coronado students throwing tortillas into the air toward the other team.

Coronado Unified School District Superintendent Karl Mueller issued a public message of apology Sunday that called the act "reprehensible," and in a weekend tweet, Laaperi said a community member brought tortillas to the game and that the incident was "unacceptable and racist." Wayne McKinney, captain of the Coronado basketball team, says players and coaches have received hate messages and death threats over the incident. On Tuesday, he called the tortilla-throwing unsportsmanlike but not an act of bigotry. "It was not based on race or class," McKinney said. In a community letter Tuesday, Escondido Union High School District Superintendent Anne Staffieri said the district wants to bring together both teams "to face one another, to confront, discuss, and grow stronger through honest discussions and sincere apologies." Both school districts, Coronado police, and the California Interscholastic Federation are investigating.

(More California stories.)

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