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Arroyo Seco principal pleads no contest to DUI charge

Rhondi Durand admits ‘mistake,’ says she’s grateful for second chance

Posted: August 16, 2013 5:35 p.m.
Updated: August 16, 2013 5:35 p.m.
 

The principal at a local junior high school who last month pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of alcohol vows to turn her life around for her school, her family, her church and her community.

Rhondi Durand, principal at Arroyo Seco Junior High School, was arrested May 29 by Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s deputies on suspicion she was driving under the influence.

“I made a mistake,” Durand told The Signal this week. “I am extremely ashamed of that. But I have chosen to flip this thing around for my kids, my church, my community — that I can do.

“This is my problem and I’m dealing with it,” she said. “This, too, shall pass and I will be a better person, better principal, friend, mother and wife.”

On July 17, Durand was charged with one count of misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and a misdemeanor count of driving while having .08 percent or higher blood alcohol, said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.

On July 29, she was arraigned and pleaded no contest to driving under the influence and admitted the allegation of having a blood alcohol level over .20 percent, she said. The legal limit in California is .08 percent.

Durand was sentenced to 36 months of summary probation, ordered to pay a $550 fine and to complete a nine-month alcohol program, Robison said.

Officials at the William S. Hart Union School District stand behind the 57-year-old principal and Canyon Country resident, issuing a formal statement Thursday:

“Rest assured that the superintendent takes the behavior of staff seriously and is very aware that our administrators and staff are role models for our students,” district spokeswoman Gail Pinsker said.

“We want our families and community to know that the superintendent and governing board support Mrs. Durand’s return as principal and looks forward to another great year for Arroyo Seco students and families,” Pinsker said.

“We have thoroughly reviewed this case and, as it’s a personnel issue, are unable to comment in more detail.”
Durand said she very grateful.

“The whole situation makes me appreciate my job every morning,” she said. “I love my school.

“I have the greatest job in the whole world. I get to hang out with great kids and amazing teachers and staff,” she said. “I am so privileged to work here.”

jholt@signalscv.com
661-287-5527
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt

 

 

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