Last night, LAUSD made the unprecedented move of replacing all 150 staff members at Miramonte Elementary after 2 long-time teachers were charged with abusing students.
How can that possibly be a good idea? There were kids on the news last night sobbing that their teachers won’t be there on Thursday.
How will that help the children feel safe when the school is replaced by strangers? When the teachers they did know and were able to trust are gone.
This seems like a ridiculous ploy by the Los Angeles Unified School District to appear like it’s doing something. Where was it when students made claims against one of the teachers, Mark Berndt, as long as a decade ago. Berndt is being charged with lewd acts against a child for allegedly blindfolding students and taking pictures of them while spoon feeding them his semen.
Children reported to a counselor back in 1990 that they saw Berndt touching himself behind his desk during class, according to the LA Times. When the students went to a counselor at the school they were told not to make up stories. According to news reports, one of the victims’ lawyers said there were reports of abuse by Berndt going back to 1994. Berndt reportedly posted questionable pictures on his bulletin board in the classroom for kids to take home.
Like it isn’t bad enough that something was going on for years, but when school officials and police determined that it was really happening, they didn’t tell the parents. The parents learned that their children had been questioned by police months later. These parents were denied the right to take their child to the doctor to make sure they weren’t hurt. They were denied the right to talk to their child about what did or did not happen to them. I can’t even imagine what I would do if I found out someone knew one of my children was being tortured (blindfolded and gagged is torture) and didn’t tell me.
A lot of sick and very messed up things went down in that classroom and those kids needed counseling. Not just the kids that it happened to, but also the kids who may have witnessed it.
There are so many things wrong with this story. Take for instance the other teacher at the school who is charged with fondling two 7-year-old girls and the fact that the information is just coming out now. I’m afraid of what more will come out in that story.
The saddest part of all of this is the total disregard for the children. The kids have to live with television cameras, frightened parents, and now every adult at their school gone. They will have to go to school with new teachers and staff and then adjust again when the teachers and staff come back at some point.
The district sent them to a school that isn’t currently being used while temporary staff will come in teach students. So the district has to pay temporary staff plus the staff that was removed. How is this going to solve anything? I know that 1/4 of parents were keeping their children home and school was canceled today and tomorrow. But replacing the staff doesn’t make any sense.
It also doesn’t make sense to me why there is an elementary school with 1,500 students? It’s one of the largest in the nation, according to the LA Times. How can you have a decent learning environment where kids are safe with that many kids?
It’s so sad and disheartening. When all of the news reports came out about the abuse of children by a former Penn State coach, I thought that there was no way that could happen in California. There’s no way that someone could hurt children here and get away with it for so long.
Tragically, that’s not the case.