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Conditions of principal's employment released after no contest p - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Conditions of principal's employment released after no contest plea to DUI

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(Credit: Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District) (Credit: Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District)

The superintendent of the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District released a statement Wednesday outlining the disciplinary actions it's taking on the principal's DUI case.

Officials say Mark Swanitz pleaded no contest to a DUI charge following a crash he got into in Solvang back in October 2017. 

"Last fall, Mr. Swanitz made a very negatively impactful decision to drink and drive," the statement read. "It is an indefensible and inexcusable decision. Educational leaders in particular should be held to a very high standard and model good behavior at all times, whether on or off the job.  The SYVUHSD Board of Education knows Mr. Swanitz' actions are in no way acceptable and this incident sends exactly the opposite message we want to convey as a school district regarding drinking and driving."

According to the district's letter, the principal agreed to do the following: 

  • Work with People Helping People to establish an appropriate community service audience (drug and alcohol related) for forty hours of community service work. 
  • Ten days of net pay donated to the SYVUHS PTSA's Sober Grad Committee.
  • Meet with all senior students prior to Prom 2018 and share this incident with them as a cautionary advice against drinking and driving.
  • Participate in district-approved alcohol rehabilitation program to be paid for by Mr. Swanitz totaling twenty (20) hours.
  • Work with CHP to schedule Every 15 Minutes for the earliest possible date and work with them to include Mr. Swanitz' story in the opening assembly.
  • Employee will remain open to using his experience as a teachable moment in other situations as they arise.

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office released their terms of the no contest plea later Wednesday afternoon. Those are:

  • Obey all laws
  • Do not use intoxicating liquor of any kind in excess
  • Do not consume any alcohol for a period of 1 year
  • Do no frequent places where the chief item of sale is alcohol. Stay out of bars and liquor stores
  • Submit to take bodily fluid for intoxication upon official demand
  • Do not drive without a valid license and insurance
  • Pay a fine of $1,690

The 60 days in jail were suspended upon successful completion of probation. 

The district attorney's office also provided this statement:

"Mr. Swanitz, as it every defendant who is convicted of this crime, was advised that being under the influence of alcohol impairs a person's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle and it is extremely dangerous to human life. As such, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's office is committed to enforcing California's DUI laws."

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