Are American government schools beyond repair?
Southern California -- this just in
Schools chief announces entire Miramonte staff to be replaced
February 6, 2012 | 6:56
Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy told parents Monday evening
that the district is replacing the entire staff of Miramonte Elementary
School in the wake of the arrests last week of two teachers on lewd
The unprecedented move is intended to build
confidence among the many families who have lost faith in their
neighborhood elementary school. More than a quarter of students did not
show up for classes Monday.
Officials stressed that no one else
on the Miramonte staff is under suspicion of wrongdoing but that the
chain of events has placed a cloud over the campus that can be lifted
only with a drastic response.
One of the largest elementary schools in the nation, Miramonte has
about 1,500 students and a teaching and administrative staff of about
The displacement could be temporary: Many, maybe all, of
the current staff will be returned to the school eventually, officials
said. In the interim, their places will be filled by qualified teachers
and other workers already on a placement or rehiring list. There are
plenty of available candidates: Over the last several years, thousands
of instructors and other non-teaching staff were laid off because of
budget cuts; the vast majority are considered fully qualified employees
who lost work simply because they lacked sufficient seniority.
displaced staff will continue to be paid and also will receive
counseling for a series of events that also traumatized the Miramonte
staff, officials said.
FULL COVERAGE: Mark Berndt
restaffing is the latest development at Miramonte, which is south of
downtown in unincorporated Florence-Firestone. A week ago, prosecutors
charged a longtime teacher with 23 counts of lewd acts with a child.
Mark Berndt, 61, allegedly spoon-fed his semen to blindfolded students
and also took pictures of the acts. He has resigned from the district.
last week, sheriff's deputies arrested his colleague, Martin Bernard
Springer, 49, on suspicion of fondling two 7-year-olds in his class
within the last three years.
Teachers union officials said in a statement that they have met with instructors at the school.
"We support a thorough, vigorous and fair investigation of all
allegations. It’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure that any and all
allegations are thoughtfully and carefully investigated," the statement
Parents packed the meeting Monday evening at a nearby high school.
The district had closed the meeting to the media even though parents
demanded that reporters and cameras be allowed in. The district refused.
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