Orange Glen supporters rally for accountability after tortillas thrown at basketball team

Local

ESCONDIDO, Calif. – Supporters and students of Orange Glen High School rallied before a Escondido Union High School District meeting Tuesday, calling for accountability after a racist incident over the weekend.

“Once you start crossing certain boundaries and lines then you take away basketball, now it’s something different,” said Lizardo Reynoso, assistant coach of the Orange Glen High School basketball team.

Emotions are still swirling after Coronado High School and OGHS faced off in a CIF regional championship basketball game Saturday. That game ended in a buzzer-beating shot, Coronado taking the win and soon after cameras catching tortillas being thrown at Orange Glen, a predominantly Latino team.

“You don’t randomly have tortillas in your back pocket. That’s premeditated,” former OGHS student Maya Feiga said.

Although the incident happened in Coronado, people still called on the Escondido Union High School District to denounce the racist actions and call for accountability.

“We wanted to have a platform for Escondido, the affected community, to come and speak their words, express their disgust, so that we can shower them with love,” said Tazheen Nizam, director of the San Diego Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Since the incident, the Coronado Unified School District, Coronado police, and CIF have all launched independent investigations. Also on Tuesday, trustees of the Coronado Unified board unanimously voted to remove the school’s head basketball coach, JD Laaperi.

Escondido Union High leaders noted Tuesday evening they also are looking deeper into the matter.

“Those that did wrong must be held accountable and this is top of mind for us,” Superintendent Anne Staffieri said. “The healing that we all hope for can only take place after proper accountability occurs.”

The Escondido Union High School District will hold a special board meeting Thursday to vote on a resolution to formally denounce racism and commit to the equity and safety of all students.

The meeting is set for 5:45 p.m. at district headquarters.

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