I didn’t think the story I wrote last week about sexual abuse charges against two California teachers could get much worse.
The crimes the teachers were charged with were shocking, to say the least. While one teacher would play the “lollipop game” with his second-grade student which entailed blindfolding her while she gave him oral sex, another teacher would feed his semen to students in what he called the “tasting game.”
Well, I was wrong.
At Miramonte Elementary School where Mark Berndt, the teacher accused of playing the “tasting game” with his students was working, another teacher has since been accused of sexual abuse. Martin Bernard Springer, 49, a second-grade teacher, has been accused of allegedly fondly two young girls in his classroom. Springer has been removed from the school as an investigation is underway.
What’s even more horrifying than yet another teacher being removed from the school for sexual abuse is news that various reports against Berndt were ignored over the years.
In fact one parent reports having showed inappropriate pictures of Berndt with his daughter and another young girl in 2008, but the principal took no immediate action. In addition, two former students of Berndt’s told a school counselor they believed he had been masturbating behind his desk while in class during the 1990-92 school year, but were told not to make up stories.
Imagine if both these reports had been taken more seriously? How were these reports not taken more seriously?
It’s horrifying to think that reports of inappropriate behavior – especially of this magnitude – would not be taken seriously by school administrators. Children deserve a safe and nurturing place to learn and grow. That means investigating alleged wrongdoing seriously and swiftly.
What do you think? Could Berndt’s most recent crimes have been avoided?
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Photo credit: Photo by Marlith used under a Creative Commons license.