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Righetti High administrator resigns amid alleged misconduct investigation

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Posted at 3:43 PM, Feb 17, 2022

An administrator at Righetti High School has resigned following an investigation by the school district into allegations of inappropriate behavior on campus.

Assistant Principal Gene Rickman submitted his resignation on Wednesday, according to a spokesperson with the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District, who added that a report would be made to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Rickman and a walk-on basketball coach were placed on leave on February 1 and an investigation was launched after a report of alleged misconduct between the two staff members.

Parents of members of the school's cheerleading squad said their children witnessed the alleged misconduct while at cheerleading practice after school on January 31. About a dozen parents picketed outside a school board meeting last week, holding signs reading "Parents deserve full disclosure when school staff goes full frontal," "Public sex is not a private matter," and "Our kids deserve better."

School district officials say the walk-on basketball coach who was allegedly involved is also no longer employed with the school district "and has been directed not to enter any District facility."

Rickman had reportedly been employed with the school district since July 2015.

In a statement released on Thursday, the school district said, "We have made arrangements to ensure proper administrative coverage so that student instruction and activities are not disrupted. The District also continues to make mental health and counseling services available for students that need any additional support."

The investigation is reportedly still ongoing.

SMJUHSD says Assistant Principal Jose Pereyra and Interim Assistant Principal Elizabeth Cortez will be taking over some of Rickman’s duties along with Interim Assistant Principal Greg Baldwin, who came to Righetti from Pioneer Valley.