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District discusses appointing new principal for San Marcos High School

Posted at 1:35 AM, Mar 14, 2019

The Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education is scheduled to meet Thursday morning to discuss appointing a new principal for San Marcos High School.

It comes almost a year after the former principal was demoted.

The 35-member panel includes teachers, staff, district officials, parents, and community members.

The district says the panel completed a performance-based interview process for the position, and the special meeting was scheduled in order to secure the top candidate.

In May of 2018, the district’s board of education appointed Dr. Richard Rundhaug as the interim principal for the school for the 2018-2019 school year.

It came shortly after the former San Marcos High school principal, Ed Behrens, filed a lawsuit against the school district, alleging a violation of his constitutional rights and unlawful retaliation.

Ed Behrens
Ed Behrens, former San Marcos High School principal


The lawsuit stemmed from his demotion earlier in the year. He was demoted to becoming a teacher in March of 2018 following a January incident at the school in which a threat was made toward female students online.

Some parents had criticized the response by district and school administrators to the video and comments that appeared online featuring a male student describing how to kill female students.

At the time the lawsuit was filed, attorneys representing Behrens wrote that the case is about “the malicious and retaliatory demotion of a respected and successful high school principal,” writing that Behrens’ reputation has been harmed.

Behrens had served as the principal for six years and the assistant principal for 14 years.