Parents organize against rumored demotion of San Marcos HS princ - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Parents organize against rumored demotion of San Marcos HS principal

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A group of concerned San Marcos High School families is rallying together to support Principal Ed Behrens. 

An online petition states that San Marcos High School Principal Ed Behrens will be demoted by the end of the school year, offered a teaching position and a pay cut. The petition has more than 2,200 signatures opposing his demotion.

Parents have started an SMHS Supporters of Ed Behrens Facebook Group. They believe the demotion stems from reaction to a social media threat investigation in January.

The Santa Barbara Unified School District said in a statement: 
"The staff recommendation concerning the San Marcos High School Principal is a personnel item that limits our ability to comment. However, it can be stated that high school principals, like all other school district administrators, do not acquire tenure in their positions and are subject to release or reassignment every year. The District reviews all administrator assignments, taking into account a number of different factors including performance evaluations, with a view towards making decisions to retain or release administrators from their current position based upon the best interests of students."

Behrens has served as the school's principal for six years and previously as assistant principal for 14 years.
Since January, some San Marcos parents have been critical of the district's response to a social media threat featuring a male student describing how to kill female students.

The district apologized to parents for the office's missed opportunities to inform parents right away.

Now, a San Marcos parent group says the school district is embarrassed and using the principal as a scapegoat:
"Supporters of Mr. Behrens believe that he has been made the scapegoat for the embarrassment brought upon the school district when concerned parents raised important questions regarding the district's lack of a well-defined threat management and communication plan to handle cyber threats. The concerned San Marcos community is seeking a dialogue with the superintendent and the Santa Barbara School District School Board to assess options to retain Mr. Behrens as the principal at San Marcos High School."

Chris Gallo, an organizer of the SMHS Supporters of Ed Behrens Facebook Group, issued information and statistics from the California Department of Education during Behrens' time as principal.

Parents say the school district's board of trustees is expected to decide Behrens' fate at its Tuesday, March 13 meeting. That meeting starts at 5 p.m. with public comment first on the closed session agenda items.

The Santa Barbara Unified School District says the meeting location may change from Santa Barbara Junior High's Marjorie Luke Theater (725 E. Cota Street) due to space confinement issues. 

Principal Ed Behrens had not responded to a request for comment by time of publication. 

Related links: 
Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education agenda
Letter from San Marcos HS Community to school board 

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