Los Angeles Elementary School Tries to Fix Things After Two Teachers are Arrested
Last week, two teachers at Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles were arrested on charges of child sexual abuse and it was announced that classes would cancelled until Thursday, February 9, 2012. On Monday, February 6, 2012, the Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy announced that when the school reopens its doors on Thursday, there will be an entirely new group of teachers and faculty members ready to welcome the students back to class. The current teachers and faculty members are being relocated to a school that is currently under construction. While there, they will be interviewed about their knowledge about the child molestation cases by school officials, and if it proves to be necessary, by the police.
“We have to investigate this,” said Deasy. “And we don’t want to constantly disrupt education while we do that.”
Deasy also said that he felt personally responsible to do two things: comfort the children who were abused and regain the parents’ trust. In an effort to accomplish these goals, he is also assigning psychiatric school workers to each class.
The two teachers who were arrested are Mark Berndt, who has been charged with 23 counts of lewd acts against a child, and Martin Springer, who has been accused of inappropriate touching two 7-year-olds. The men were arrested on Tuesday and Friday of last week. A school janitor at a different elementary school in the Los Angeles Unified School District was arrested a few days later; he was accused of molesting a student as well.
Many of the parents feel that the school should be doing more to protect their children. This past Monday, many parents kept their children home from school and staged a protest against the school. Parents of three students have already filed claims against the school for monetary damages.
“We are trying to give the principal a message that we want answers, because they’ve been giving us the runaround,” said Josye Corona, a mother who fears her son might have been abused. “One time, my son disappeared on campus for two hours, and they didn’t know where he was. They never gave me an answer. So what do I think now?”
Deasy said that some of the parents had demanded that the school’s staff be fired, which is why he relocated them and hired a new staff. However, there were still several hundred parents who were standing outside a recent school meeting and were chanting, “We want justice.”
Via The NY Times
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