Los Angeles News

Miramonte Elementary School gets fresh start

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The first day of the new school year arrived Tuesday at Miramonte Elementary, where parents, students and staff are still working to overcome a traumatic scandal.

In January, third grade teacher Mark Berndt was arrested for allegedly taking lewd photos of some of his students while feeding them cookies laced with his semen.

A week later, second grade teacher Martin Bernard Springer was arrested for allegedly fondling two students.

The Los Angeles Unified School District reacted by removing all 76 teachers from the school. But on Tuesday, 43 of them returned to Miramonte.

Andrea Shaffer is a sixth grade teacher at Miramonte, and like all of the staff, she was reassigned to an empty high school as the district investigated her colleagues.

"There's no reason to waste my time thinking of something else," Shaffer said. "It was not a nice situation however, we survived it and so, I'm really glad to be back."

Some parents Tuesday said they were happy the teachers had returned. Marta Juarez said she feels that the innocent teachers at Miramonte were treated unfairly and she's glad that most have returned.

But parent Iris Urbina, who is part of the group Mothers of Miramonte, said the school will never be the same, that parents will never trust anyone.

As for the 33 teachers who did not return, many of them were reassigned because enrollment at Miramonte is down.

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sex crimes, school, arrest, lausd, sexual assault, los angeles news, robert holguin
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