Officials React to Coaches' Controversial Costumes

School and union officials are having different reactions to two San Diego-area high school coaches who dressed in blackface costumes.

Parent Sally Smith provided the above photo to NBC 7. She identified the men in blackface as Brian Basteyns and Howard Seeley. They appeared to be dressing as the Jamaican bobsled team.

According a statement from the teachers’ union president, what teachers do in their own time doesn’t impact they work they do in the classroom.

Here is his full statement:

What teachers do in their personal lives is personal, and there is no connection here to the work that they are doing in the classrooms. Unfortunately, I understand how this may be perceived and this issue is being addressed by the District. This is a personnel matter and we cannot comment any further. SDEA is working with the members to secure a resolution with which they are satisfied.

Bill Freeman
President, San Diego Education Association

However, in an interview Tuesday, San Diego Unified school board member John Lee Evans said he hadn’t seen the picture, but had heard about “inappropriate activities” by staff members.

“If there is inappropriate behavior, that needs to be dealt with by the superintendent and her staff,” Evans said. “We take these situations very seriously because we hold our employees to a very high standard.”

Serra High School principal Mike Jimenez said he had no comment.

Basteyns is head coach for the Serra High varsity football team and a physical education teacher, according to the school’s website.

Seely is listed as an assistant football coach.

NBC 7 has attempted to reach Basteyns by phone, but our calls have not been returned.

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