The entire staff of the Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles is being replaced this week while police and school officials investigate allegations that a third grade teacher blindfolded 23 children and fed them his own semen and a second teacher fondled two 7-year-old students.
Los Angeles School District Superintendent John Deasy told parents that the school’s 88 teachers and 40 support staff would be put on paid leave and replaced because the investigation would be too disruptive if conducted while they were working. Miramonte Elementary will be shut down until Thursday, when the new teachers and staff will begin work. In addition, every classroom will have a social worker on hand to help students, mostly Latino kids with Spanish-speaking parents, and teachers cope with the swirl of crazy surrounding their school.
In the meantime, teacher Mark Berndt, 61, is being held on $23 million bail on charges he carried out lewd acts on 23 boys and girls, ages six and 10, between 2008 and 2010, at Miramonte Elementary School, where he taught for more than 30 years. He was fired in January 2011 when school officials learned police were investigating him for child abuse. Police were tipped off by a CVS photo technician who reported seeing pictures of children blindfolded with clear tape over their mouths. According to The Associated Press, further investigation revealed the shocking allegations:
Authorities say that after locking his classroom door, Berndt would tell the children they were playing a game in which they were blindfolded and their mouths taped shut. Other times he would have them take part in a “taste test” in which authorities say he would feed them his sperm after he’d placed it on a cookie or spoon. They say he also put a large cockroach on the faces of some children.
Berndt faces life in prison if convicted. Teacher Martin Springer, 49, is being held on $2 million bail on suspicion of fondling two girls in his classroom.
My God—I can’t even begin to fathom the rage the parents of these babies must feel, knowing that this lunatic was running amok in their children’s school. My heart alternately aches for them and hardens with outrage over this. I mean, I’m the mother of a 4th grader—a child who, at age nine, can’t even watch the news because in her young mind, every bad thing that happens in the world feels like it’s happening right down the street. The idea that something so cruel, so inhuman could happen right there at her school desk is unfathomable; it’s the one place outside our little safe family cocoon where she is supposed to be safe.
And then you read something like this.
I swear, stories like the one at that Los Angeles school and the monster teachers who are accused of such heinous acts make me want to lock the doors, grab my babies, run them down to the basement and never let them leave the house. I mean, if you can’t trust a third grade teacher, who can you trust? My prayer is that each of the children of Miramonte Elementary School receives peace and every last one of their parents gets justice.
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if this doesn’t make you want to home-school your children, I don’t know what will. God protect us all.
This made me physically ill.
I hope they put him under the jail and when the inmates finish with him he rots in hell.
God spare those children and their families for what they have been through and are about to go through.
I agree with Donna…the idea of homeschooling becomes more appealing every day! This story breaks my heart. I live in Los Angeles County and the LA Unified School District is such a let down. Our daughter just turned one, so we have a while, but when she’s school-aged we have no plans to place her in LAUSD.
This makes me want to have my daughter homeschooled and never to be let outside… people protect our kids against these type of monsters!!
My mom is a teacher in LAUSD and a daggone good one…I just wanted to start with that. A mjority of her students come from bad areas and gang territory. The teachers are often on lock down in middle school for weapons and lewd acts by the STUDENTS. She walked into a stairwell last year and two boys were receiving oral sex from a girl and when the parents came up the attitude was not shock but is there anything else.
I do not condone what this man has done. I was molested a little girl and know fully the posibile outcomes of all actions. The sad part is that he had these kids fearing to tell parents because he used his authority, clearly if this was going on so long and the only one to report it was a CVS worker. My heart goes out to all families involved. he should definitely get life and burn for what he’s done.
With so many changes in the LA school district, the sad part is, the kids will continue to be hurt by the actions of heartless “teachers”
I read this, and I immediately felt a wave of agony. It never ceases to amaze me who callously these sick people can commit such heinous crimes. What’s even more painful is that it doesn’t seem that one child was able to come forward…they were that terrified and shattered. This will further convince me to keep my children handcuffed to me at all times.
What THIS TEACHER did is sick and disgusting.
I am sitting here in shock!!!! That’s really all I can say.