CUSD Superintendent Says CIF Basketball Championship Should Not Be Canceled

What follows letter was sent to CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti by Coronado Unified School District Superintendent Karl Mueller.

June 25, 2021

– Publicity –

Mr. Nocetti,

As proof of the passion and commitment of our communities, there was an ongoing dialogue around the events of Saturday, June 19. We each have our own perspectives that can make it appealing to think in absolute terms – however, we recognize the complexity of different experiences, and that people can view this incident from their own perspective. I would like to share an update and summary from CUSD as well as clarify that CUSD’s role is to respond to an incident that has occurred in our district gymnasium and subsequent results. The CUSD does not have an “agenda” and does not try to get everyone to see the world the same or decide on a “truth”. Our common goal is to learn, fix and move forward rather than continuous attempts to blame, hijack or further polarize our communities.

– Publicity –

Superintendent CUSD Karl Mueller

We recognize that different perspectives and experiences can exist simultaneously. The aim is to present information that has been systematically shared by those present and available images as we currently know them. A full and thorough investigation is carried out by a third party group to ensure objectivity.

Based on multiple testimonies, audio-video coverage and personal statements from those involved, the following is our understanding of the sequence of events involving the CIF State Regional Championship game between Coronado High School (CHS) and Orange Glen High School (OGHS) June 19.

  • The whole game was tough and that energy was felt on the pitch, on the sidelines and in the stands. Numerous statements refer to the actions of those representing the two schools as contributing in some way to a “powder keg” atmosphere. There are allegations of inappropriate language from both CHS and OGHS fans, coaches and players, which vary depending on who “started it” or who was “worse” in these interactions. The overall feedback is consistent as both groups have engaged in behaviors that are inconsistent with the expectations outlined in the CIF Code of Ethics.
  • A community member with no current affiliation then submitted a public statement that he brought packages of tortillas to the game. He said his intentions were to mimic a college party. During the game, he attempted to hand out tortillas to the students and encouraged them to throw them after the game if the CHS won, as a celebration. No student tossed tortillas at the end of the rule when the CHS team won.
  • First-person accounts and videos show that the two participating students only threw the tortillas away after the adults around the marker table, representing both OGHS and CHS, escalated tensions using profanity. and insults instead of showing good sportsmanship. The coaching staff and their supporters had a responsibility to be a role model of integrity and citizenship – to shake hands, say good play and teach players that what they just played was worthy of respect. and admiration on both sides. To state that, really, the score was only a small part of what happened – two groups of young men playing hard in what many called “the most competitive high school basketball game.” Which no one witnessed. It was during this passionate exchange and interaction that the two boys tossed tortillas. Adults representing the behavior of both teams contributed to this result. It was up to them to bring their teams together, before interacting with each other, and showing them how to win or lose with integrity and remind them to represent themselves and their communities with honor.

The community member said his intention to bring tortillas was not racially motivated, but we understand from the immediate response, as captured on video and in participants’ voices, that the actions were seen and felt to be hurtful and disrespectful. It is undeniable that the incident offended and subjected our guests and the residents of Coronado present to feelings of discrimination. We cannot minimize what happened or the significance of the tortilla interpretation. I support my statement on Sunday morning. When we have offended someone, the honorable thing to do is apologize and make amends. When I replied the next morning, I already had enough information to know that the adults had failed to meet the standards we hold ourselves accountable for, that there had been an altercation, that tortillas had been launched and that the immediate feeling was offense and disrespect and for that I was and am deeply sorry. As also stated by the coach and the school community, these actions do not reflect our district’s values ​​of a safe and respectful environment. I believe that we can use this unfortunate incident as an opportunity to learn and to be more aware and welcoming of all.

CUSD has taken swift and responsive action regarding our role. We spoke out against the behavior hours after the game, apologized to the entire Orange Glen community, held a public board meeting to listen to community voices and publicly stated, as a board of directors united, that the incident was unacceptable and that the actions did not reflect our neighborhood or community values. Additionally, CUSD has taken steps to hold our adults accountable for our district and CIF standards. We coordinate experiences so that students from our two schools come to terms with each other through a lens of understanding. From that point on we will learn about each other’s diverse experiences and the power of our words and actions, whatever our intention. We will be a better and stronger school community through our willingness to reflect and grow in humility.

While we have heard feedback from the community and the media, we remain focused on our priorities which are our commitment to students, the promotion of safe and fair environments, and adherence to our established policies and procedures. The results of our procedures are appropriate based on the facts we have examined and are not influenced by anything other than our commitment to our students and the school community, and our adherence to board policy, our guide to action. disciplinary and California code of education. As we have received local, national and international scrutiny, in these places people are entitled to their opinions, observations, views and there has been inaccurate and unfair information. In the first-person, audio and video accounts we have reviewed to date, we have seen no evidence of antagonization by player actions or behaviors that justify giving up the game. The young men on the pitch played hard, fairly and won the championship.


Karl J. Mueller


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