News of the sexual abuse scandal from Miramonte Elementary School in California has been horrifying, but at least I can now report that the school is taking the charges against two of its teachers, Mark Berndt and Martin Springer, very seriously.
As a full investigation of each teacher’s allegations takes place, the entire staff of the Los Angeles elementary school is being removed from the school. More than 120 staff members, including 90 teachers, are being replaced to take over the day-to-day functioning of the school. A psychiatric social worker will also be placed in every classroom to help with the transition.
According to the Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy, the investigation will include interviewing all Miramonte school staff as well as current and former students.
“We intend to interview every adult, every adult who works at that school, whether they are a teacher or administrator, or whether they are an after-school playground worker or a custodian or a secretary,” said Deasy to parents in regards to the investigation. “I mean every single solitary adult who works at Miramonte.”
Many of the teachers have taken the news of their departure hard and parents seem to be divided over the decision to remove the school’s staff. To be honest, I’m a bit conflicted over the decision myself.
While I’m in favor of a full investigation of the sexual abuse allegations against Berndt and Springer, I’m not sure the removal of the entire school staff is the best solution. Of course it’s of utmost importance to remove any other teachers who might be engaging in such an inappropriate behavior and yes it’s very important to get the full story from those who worked with Berndt and Springer, but what about those teachers and staff who were dedicated and trustworthy employees and did their very best for their students?† What about the students who had relationships and relied on the support of these teachers?
It takes a village to raise a child and a school is a perfect example of that. There are so many people who impact a child’s life in their school community. Removing all of these people at such a vulnerable time could make the aftermath of the sexual abuse scandal harder for students to cope with. At the same time, these children and this community deserve justice and the full cooperation of the school staff who knew the accused teachers best.
What do you think? Should the entire school staff have been removed from the school?
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Photo credit: Photo by Marlith used under a Creative Commons license.