On Thursday September 16 Gabriel Albarran, a Rock Island High School student and member of the Soccer team was not allowed to board the team bus because he was wearing the Mexican flag across his back.
“He told me (the bus driver) that this flag is not allowed on the bus, this is America,” Albarran told Hola America. “He told me to go back to my country.” He added.
Rudy Almanza one of the coaches saw something happening and the players went to speak with the driver and said the driver repeated what Albarran said had happened.
The team decided not to ride the bus seeing how their team member was discriminated against.
Juanita Zertuche president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council 5285 in Moline gave us this statement “As an organization we totally disapprove of the way the student was treated. It is discrimination” Zertuche said “we hope the superintendent gets to the bottom of this” she added.
Friday the school principal Jeff Whitaker, superintendent Dr. Reginald Lawrence and coach Almanza addressed the team members and their families at a meeting at the school’s stadium.
“What happened is not acceptable. It does not represent the values of the school and the values of the district.” said principal Whitaker.
“You have my support, the support of the superintendent and the support of the coaching staff” He continued.
Superintendent Lawrence also addressed the students “I commend you on the way you handled it yesterday. You handled it like adults. We’ll be working through the steps to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”
“We won’t condone it.” He said
Tri-state travel is the bus company that the driver works for.
We contacted the company for a statement. At the time of this publication they still have not responded.
We will keep you updated as this story develops.