COLFAX (CBS13) – The Placer County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an alleged hate crime after a local high school coach found his vehicle vandalized with the “n-word” written on the rear window.
Bear River High School boys basketball coach Ralph Lewis has just finished coaching his team to a 67-64 win at Colfax High School when he walked out of the gym and found the racist word written on his window.
Lewis told CBS13 in an email exchange that the incident is a call for more education.
“We are all human beings,” Lewis wrote. “Learning about the cultural differences is more than just a holiday (MLK) or a month (Black history). I am ok. If I let fear and hate control who I am, would never have accomplished the things I’ve done or meet the terrific people that shape my life.”
Parents at Colfax High School shared outrage over the incident and uncertainty over who in the community would commit the heinous crime.
“I was very disturbed and saddened by that,” Colfax High School parent Michelle Liden said.
“I was sickened honestly,” Colfax High Schol parent Phil Metheny said.
“I was shocked,” Colfax High School parent Nicole Rogers said. “I hope that they come forward and I hope that they’re not affiliated with Colfax, Colfax High School, the town of Colfax. That’s what my hope is.”
In an email to parents, Colfax High Principal Paul Lundberg condemned the act.
“The coach happens to be African-American and a long time contributor in our community working with youth for many years,” Lundberg wrote.
The Placer Union High School District also released a statement, writing that whoever was responsible for the vandalism needs to be held accountable.
“This incident not only deeply saddens those of us working every day to educate and support our students and community but is unfortunately a reflection of the ignorance and divisiveness that still exists in our society,” Lundberg added.
“We should be so far beyond that, you know,” Rogers said.
Coach Lewis and his Bear River team will be back on the court for the first time since the incident Wednesday. They have a home game at Bear River High School.