Parents Rally Around San Marcos High Principal Following Demotion

San Marcos High School’s Principal Ed Behrens has been demoted and many of his supporters feel it’s related to the threatening social media video involving students.

A group of parents, students, and community members are rallying around Behrens by objecting to this decision allegedly made by Santa Barbara Unified School District Superintendent Cary Matsuoka. 

The “SMHS Supporters of Ed” have distributed a statement announcing they were informed that Behrens was demoted this past Wednesday and was offered a position as a teacher with a “dramatic pay cut or resignation effective at the completion of the current school year.”

The rest of the statement reads as follows:

“This decision by Superintendent Matsuoka comes on the heels of a social media threat made to the school on January 19, 2018. A groundswell of dismayed and outraged supporters of San Marcos High’s leadership is growing in defense of Mr. Behrens. Mr. Behrens has been in his role as Principal for the past 6 years, and previously served at San Marcos as Assistant Principal for 14 years.

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.”

In January, parents became aware of a social media video depicting a male student with an antique gun and musket detailing how to attack female students. Further online discussions with other male students involved a list of nearly 16 other female students presumed to be targets of an attack. 

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department issued search warrants of the alleged students involved and determined this was not a credible threat, but parents still voiced the lack of transparency and immediacy from the school’s administration by handling this.

On February 5, Matusoka held a community event informing parents of the details and better ways to handle situations like this in the future.

The Santa Barbara Unified School District responded with the following 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.”


Past Articles


[*Editor’s Note: The current article is updated with a statement from the Santa Barbara Unified School District. An earlier version of this article stated there was a formal announcement from Superintendent Matsuoka. The SBUSD has confirmed no official announcement has been made].

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

What do you think?


0 Comments deleted by Administrator

Leave a Review or Comment


  1. I believe the term “scapegoat” explains this situation and the principal has been picked to erroneously take the blame. Meanwhile, congratulations to the San Marcos girls water polo team for winning the CIF recently, and to their coach who had his City College women’s water polo team win the State Championship this year. Obviously, a great coach!

  2. Most of the information about what actions have been taken is confidential, as those involved are minors, perhaps you could enlighten us about the factual details of the inaction?
    Are you upset that you don’t think action was taken? Action was taken immediately. The Sheriff and Santa Barbara Unified School District leadership were notified immediately the day school administrators were made aware of the incident.
    If you’re upset that you don’t know what action is currently being taken, then your issue is with the legal system not with how individuals handled and are continuing to handle the situation.

  3. I count only two comments on this article that are critical of Ed, the rest seem to indicate support.
    As for your personal opinions and anecdotes about Ed, it’s easy to say those things without any basis in fact. Perhaps you could state more plainly what you are alluding to with your comments about girls sports teams. Ed is a friendly and outgoing leader at San Marcos and is supportive of all of his coaches and student athletes. Perhaps that’s the reason San Marcos has so many great coaches and the sports teams that are both League and CIF Champions, and also academic champions.
    I have worked with Ed for several years and I can tell you that in my day to day interactions I have never heard him refer to a student as “Bro”. In my tenure I’ve only ever seen Ed treat students in a respectful and professional way.

  4. You are the “boss”, the voters who elect the current SBUSD school board who hire and fire the current SBUSD Superintendent Matsuoka. Do you know their names? You voted for them. But they are all run around by the school district’s legal counsel. Do you know who that is? In practical terms SBUSD is run by the teachers unions because they campaign to ensure their patronizing friends always get elected to the SBUSD school board.

  5. Funny, I only see outrage by a few. If there was that much support, it would show on these pages. It always does. The way I see it, the silent majority is speaking loudly. Probably pointless to say, but I am not an Ed Behrens fan. Addressing my son as “Bro” when passing in the hall, is not the type of person I want setting the standard. And all you girls softball families, there is a reason he is so nice to you and it isn’t because your all such great families to be around even though many of your are. I’m guessing the same is true for the girls volleyball, water polo and golf team families as well. I’ve had many dealings with him throughout my kids tenure. I’ve seen how he operates and it isn’t what I would expect of a school administrator, let alone the Principal.

Two Weeks Left to Register for Disaster Assistance

Rainfall Totals