The LA school sex scandal has the local community reeling as not one, but two long-time teachers are being accused of acting inappropriately with students. As a result of the massive investigation the school and police are conducting, Superintendent John Deasy decided it was best for everyone if the entire faculty at Miramonte Elementary School were removed for the duration. Some parents support the move, while others are criticizing it.
The school is in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in Los Angeles, and many families are not fluent in English. Nonetheless, the families whose children attend the school have made their displeasure known. According to CBC News 25 percent of students were absent on Monday, and a group of parents protested in front of the school, demanding action against "lewd teacher acts."
The two teachers accused of these acts are facing some very serious charges. Sixty-one-year-old Mark Berndt, a teacher with the school for 32 years, stands accused of performing not one, not two, but 23 lewd acts against children ranging in age from 6 to 10. One of the acts Berndt is accused of is disgusting: a "tasting game" where he allegedly blindfolded students and had them taste his semen to try to guess what it was. If this is true, Berndt should be sent away for a long, long time, and forced into mandatory therapy. It is an act of malicious and sadistic pleasure and the school district appears to be taking the accusations very seriously.
Those aren't the only acts Berndt is accused of performing. Since 1990, students and parents have complained about the teacher taking weird bondage type photos of children, and one former student recalled how he often moved his hand beneath his desk, and kept a jar of Vaseline in his desk. The former student told reporters she and a classmate had complained to a school counselor, but that their accusations were brushed off as the work of overactive imaginations.
One has to wonder how Berndt got away with this type of behavior, and how many complaints were lodged against him by students and parents before anyone took them seriously.
The second man under investigation is Martin Springer, 49. He has also been with the school for many years, since 1986. He faces charges of fondling two of his students in the classroom. He's taught second grade for his entire career.
What's worse; a man feeding his bodily fluids to innocent children in some sort of sick game, or a man who steals two little girls' innocence by treating them like sex objects? The answer is they're both equally malicious acts of power, and the parents of all the children in the school are doing the right thing in demanding justice.
The Hispanic communities across the nation have generally been silent about injustices done to them, but they have the same rights as anyone else, and they have the right not to have their children treated with anything less than love and respect. It's a little late in coming, but Superintendent Deasy seems to be willing to work with concerned parents. He has also canceled school for Tuesday and Wednesday to allow a cooling off period and to meet with families regarding the sex scandal.