Tri-State Travel has fired the bus driver that refused to let a soccer player inside the bus last Thursday night according to Andrew Hillard, Tri-State’s president.
Hillard said he will personally apologize to the team.
Last Thursday night the Rock Island High School boys soccer team had a game scheduled out of town and Tri-State Travel was the bus company contracted to charter the team to their game. The driver refused to let team member Gabriel Albarran inside the bus and made racist comments toward Albarran because he was wearing the Mexican flag on his shoulders.
“He told me 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.
The rest of the team got off the bus in support of their teammate.
Rudy Almanza, one of the coaches, saw the players leaving the bus and went to speak with the driver about the incident and said the driver repeated to him what Albarran said had happened.
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.” Lawrence said.
Albarran was very thankful that his teammates were very supportive of him.
“These soccer players are my family and I’m glad they have my back,” he said.
Albarran did not let this incident dampen his spirit of celebrating Mexican Independence Day and on Friday he was at Mercado on Fifth in Moline to celebrate this holiday with a flag across his back.