The entire staff of a Los Angeles elementary school will be replaced after two teachers were arrested for sexual abuse, authorities say. More than 120 staff at Miramonte Elementary School will be removed and interviewed. No other staff are currently under suspicion.
Mark Berndt and Martin Springer were arrested last week on separate allegations of child sexual abuse...
Existing staff (120 people) will continued to be paid and school officials say many will eventually return to work...Superintendent John Deasy said new staff members would go through a "rigorous screening process." "I cannot have another student tell me he is afraid," he said.
Both the alleged abusers, Mark Berndt and Martin Springer, were long-term employees.
Teaching union United Teachers Los Angeles said in a statement that they had met with teachers at Miramonte. "We support a thorough, vigorous and fair investigation of all allegations," the statement said. "It's everyone's responsibility to ensure that any and all allegations are thoughtfully and carefully investigated."
However, some parents at the school told the Los Angeles Times they were alarmed that students had reportedly complained about Mr Berndt over the past two decades. "My trust level is at zero," said Cassini Quarles, a Miramonte parent at Miramonte said...
Mark Berndt, 61, is accused of committing lewd acts with 23 children under the age of 10, between 2005 and 2010.
Police said a photo developer raised the alarm after being handed about 40 pictures of blindfolded children. In some of the photos, the accused had his arm around the children or was covering their mouth with his hand. Some had their mouths taped shut.
Tests on a spoon and container found in the accused's classroom tested positive for semen, the sheriff's department said.
Martin Springer, 49, was arrested on Friday on suspicion of fondling two female students.
Both teachers were long-serving classroom instructors
Mr Berndt, a third-grade teacher, had taught for more than 30 years. He is being held on $2.3m (£1.5m) bail.
A teacher at Miramonte since the beginning of his career in 1986, Mr Springer taught second-grade. He is being held on $2m bail.