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Charter bus company fires driver who refused to let Rock Island High School soccer players on bus with Mexican flag

As the Rock Island High School soccer team was about to board the bus, Gabriel Albarran said...
As the Rock Island High School soccer team was about to board the bus, Gabriel Albarran said the bus driver said, “that flag is not allowed here. This is America. You shouldn’t have that flag,” and told the teenager to go back to his country.(KWQC Montse Ricossa)
Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 12:31 PM CDT
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ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - A charter bus driver who would not allow Rock Island High School soccer players carrying a Mexican flag to get on his bus has been fired after reviewing video of the incident.

Andrew Hillard, president of Tri-State Travel, said a formal apology will be coming this week and the company is donating a bus for the team’s next away game.

He added the company will also host a dinner for the team.

A sophomore on the soccer team, Gabriel Albarran, told TV6 he was wearing a Mexican flag around his shoulders for Mexican Independence Day on Thursday as the soccer team was getting ready to board the bus.

He said the bus driver told him, “That flag is not allowed here. This is America. You shouldn’t have that flag,” and told the teenager to go back to his country.

The bus driver would not allow the students to board the bus who were carrying a Mexican flag, he said.

The rest of the team refused to board again and had to reschedule the game since a new transportation plan could not be reached in time, Albarran said.

Dr. Reginald Lawrence, superintendent of the Rock Island-Milan School District, said, “Our students should not have to experience this sort of bias and racism.”

“What took place was extremely disappointing and unacceptable, however, our RIHS Soccer Team and the Head Coach conducted themselves with respect and dignity,” he said Friday.

Hillard said the company has “zero tolerance for this behavior” and that “it’s time for that driver to move on.”

“We don’t condone racism in any way, nor do we put up with it,” he said.

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