Finally, there is some good news in Coronado’s Tortillagate saga. Last Thursday, the Board cured and corrected their Brown Act violation and reissued their apology letter, this time without throwing our basketball players under the bus.
You will recall that less than 24 hours after the championship game, the Coronado School Board met in secret, quickly approving the wording of an apology letter, stating, “On June 19, 2021, following a championship basketball game, members of the Coronado community hurled tortillas at students from Orange Glen High School, a majority Latino school district. The Trustees of the Coronado Unified School District acknowledge these acts to be egregious, demeaning and disrespectful. We fully condemn the racism, classism, and colorism which fueled the actions of the perpetrators ...”
In so doing, the Board confessed to a crime no one committed and no one investigated. And with the California Interscholastic Federation sanctioning our entire athletic program, everyone is paying for it.
Soon after the incident, we learned that a 40-year-old adult snuck the tortillas into the game. Without permission from the coaches, the athletic director, the high school principal, or the parents, this troublemaker handed tortillas out to the kids, saying it’s a fun way to celebrate, just like confetti only easier to pick up, everybody does it.
Superintendent Mueller had already issued an apology to Orange Glen the morning after the game, without this inflammatory language. Then, without any investigation, the School Board met in secret and issued their own apology, labeling innocent kids as “perpetrators” whose actions were “fueled” by “racism, classism, and colorism.”
In the two months since the game, Mayor Richard Bailey and hundreds of Coronado residents have demanded that the School Board retract their defamatory charges against our basketball players. In the end, it took the threat of a Brown Act lawsuit to persuade the School Board to do the right thing. Last Thursday, by a vote of 3 – 2, they replaced their original apology with one that simply states:
“On behalf of the CUSD School Board, we extend a full and formal apology to the Orange Glen High School athletes, known as the Patriots, as well as their peers, parents, teachers, and staff. The CUSD Governing Board supports the statement by Superintendent Mueller.”
Sometimes we have to feel the heat before we can see the light.
Now it’s time for the School Board to do the next right thing: Apologize to Coronado’s children and community for their rush to judgment.