SAN DIEGO (CBSLA) — California's high school sports governing body has taken away this year's championship title from Coronado High School after members of its team were caught on video, throwing tortillas at their mostly Latino rivals.
Besides vacating Coronado's title, the CIF State Executive Director also put the school on probation through 2024 and barred the team from hosting postseason contests at the section, regional, or state level for the next two years. CIF is also requiring all Coronado High School administrators, athletic directors, coaches, and student-athletes to complete a sportsmanship workshop that will include a component of racial/cultural sensitivity training.
"While consequences are warranted for such an egregious action as throwing tortillas at a predominantly Latino team and the sanctions below are being levied on the athletic program at Coronado High School, we must all be aware that behavior does not normally change with sanctions alone," the CIF said in a statement. "The path towards real change comes with the development of empathy for those who are on the receiving end of this type of degrading and demeaning behavior, no matter the proferred intent of that behavior."
The incident happened on June 19, after Coronado beat Orange Glen High School, 60-57 in overtime, taking the 2021 Southern California Boys Basketball Division 4-A Regional Championship title. During a tense exchange between the coaches, tortillas were seen flying at the predominantly Latino Orange Glen team from the Coronado side.
Coronado High's basketball coach, JD Laaperi was fired, even though his players told the district's school board he was not involved and had been unaware of what was going to happen. A Coronado resident and alumnus of the school, Luke Serna, told several publications that he had brought the tortillas to pass out if the team should win, and he had not had any racial motivation.
CIF is also instructing administrators at both schools to work cooperatively to provide their respective student-athletes with restorative justice opportunities, and arrange student-athletes and coaches to work with community-based nonprofits on service projects.
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