Man who brought tortillas used to taunt Latino high school in SoCal says there was no racial intent

The man who claims he supplied the tortillas that were flung at a predominantly Latino team after a championship high school basketball game in San Diego County earlier this month is defending his decision.

The tortillas were thrown at players from Orange Glen High after they lost a hard-fought game to a team from mostly white Coronado High School on June 19, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Video shared on social media then showed at least two Coronado students throwing tortillas into the air toward the other team.

Local affiliate KGTV identified the man who brought the tortillas as Luke Serna, a Coronado alumnus who said his intentions were not racist. He added that throwing tortillas was a tradition at UC Santa Barbara, which he also attended.

Coronado High School basketball coach fired after tortillas thrown at opposing team
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A San Diego-area school district voted to fire the head basketball coach after tortillas were hurled at a team from a mostly Latino high school.



That may be so in some situations.

Tortilla throwing is somewhat of a tradition along the Rose Parade route on New Year's Eve and at other events. But in this context, it has been widely perceived as racist taunting.

A San Diego-area school district voted Tuesday night to fire the head basketball coach at Coronado.

The Coronado Unified School Board voted 5-0 in a closed session to release JD Laaperi and discussed but didn't take action on student discipline, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

There had been a squabble between coaching staff from both schools after the game.

Witnesses alleged that Laaperi shouted expletives at an Orange Glen coach, saying, "Get your kids and get the (expletive) out of here," the Union-Tribune said.

Both school districts, along with Coronado police and the California Interscholastic Federation, are conducting investigations into the incident.

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