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Coach’s car vandalized with hate speech at Colfax game

Boys Varsity Basketball Coach Ralph Lewis’s car sits in the parking lot after being vandalized on February 7, during a game at Colfax High School. Photo by Zach Fink.

The car of Boys Varsity Basketball Coach Ralph Lewis was vandalized with a derogatory and racial slur at Friday night’s quadruple-header game, taking place on the campus of Bear River’s long-time rival, Colfax High School.

Coach Lewis declined to comment on the incident that took place. 

In his weekly email to Bruin parents and staff, Bear River Principal Chris Roberts recounted the situation.

“Friday night, after the game with Colfax, our very own Coach Ralph Lewis came out to his car to find it vandalized and a racist term written in big letters on the back window of his car,” said Principal Roberts.

In an email that was shared by parents on social media, Colfax High School Principal Paul Lundberg shared about the situation. 

“Last night should have been a celebration of a great rivalry, of cheering student sections, of the community coming together,” said Principal Lundberg. “However, the evening ended with the Bear River Boys Varsity Basketball coach finding his car vandalized with a derogatory, racist term written on his rear window. The coach happens to be African-American and a long time contributor in our community working with youth for many years.”

Principal Lundberg went on to share his feelings about the incident and how it reflected on our community. 

“This incident not only deeply saddens those of us working everyday to educate and support our students and  community, but is unfortunately a reflection of the ignorance and divisiveness that still exists in our society,” he said. 

He encouraged students or parents with information to come forward.

“We will diligently investigate this incident and continue to fight racism, discrimination, and intolerance at Colfax High School,” said Principal Lundberg. “Please help us in any way you can. Discuss these issues at home, support and engage in our community, to eliminate the conditions that foster this behavior, and contact us if you have any information that may lead to the culprit of this atrocity.”

In his email, Principal Roberts also encouraged students to come forward with any information they may have to help the investigation. 

“Bruins, we need your help,” said Principal Roberts. “This senseless act has left Coach Lewis and our community shaken and the perpetrator needs to be caught! Unfortunately, Colfax doesn’t have any cameras at their school which means we’ll need someone to step up and do the right thing to bring this individual to justice. If you have any information please email [Vice Principal Cathy] Peterson or Mr. Roberts.”

The Current reached out to Principal Lundberg about the reason behind the lack of cameras in their school’s parking lot, but did not hear back by the date of publication.

Nevada Joint Union High School District Superintendent Brett McFadden sent out a message to staff and board members in response to the situation.

“[Our district] values diversity, and strives to promote equity and tolerance in all we do,” he said. “We are cognizant of our role and responsibility in ensuring the safety and well-being of all students, staff, and families… We are shocked by this horrific event. But we know that this cowardly act in no way reflects on the vast majority of our district’s community, nor that of Colfax High School or [Placer Union High School District] PUHSD’s communities. As such, we remain resolute in our core values and commitment to fight against intolerance and hate.”

Varsity Basketball Player and Senior Caleb Lowry, along with his teammates, was upset by the way his coach was treated.

“It’s just a really messed up thing to do, the fact that that’s something he has to deal with in 2020,” he said.

“I feel like that’s never right to do, to treat someone like that, it’s just horrible, and it shouldn’t really happen to anyone,” said Junior Varsity Basketball Player and Junior Warren Davis. 

Varsity Basketball Player and Sophomore Matthew Grimes also had something to say about what happened to Coach Lewis.

“I feel like it’s not right, but Ralph is a very tough guy and he doesn’t let it get to him,” he said. 

— Sonora Slater contributed to this report.

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Coach’s car vandalized with hate speech at Colfax game