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Entire School Staff Removed from Sexual Abuse Scandalized School in California

Entire School Staff Removed from Sexual Abuse Scandalized School in California


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?

Related from Care2:

Another California Teacher Accused of Sexual Abuse

California Teachers Charged with Heinous Sexual Abuse Crimes Against Students

Teacher Naps, Student Gets Suspended

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Photo credit: Photo by Marlith used under a Creative Commons license.

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6:24PM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

i dont believe firing the entire staff was wise. an investigation? sure, absolutely. this seems very extreme

3:44AM PST on Mar 6, 2012

I don't think they should have removed the entire school staff. But, I do believe there needs to be an in depth investigation. I would start with the principal. Why didn't he do something when the first report came in, and why did he ignore it?

8:58AM PST on Feb 21, 2012

I think they are right to remove the full staff. The children are in danger and I know I wouldn't want my child to go back until everyone had been investigated, men and women :-(

7:24PM PST on Feb 10, 2012

I agree with Joel H.

4:46PM PST on Feb 10, 2012

People are simply simple minded, speaking in cliches and platitudes displaying a lack of knowledge, reasoning ability and a paucity of intellectual rigor. "Where there is smoke there is usually fire". A universal excuse for acting without due process, acting with insufficient evidence and being more concerned about appearance than substance.

And for the record most surgeons do not operate to cure infections. They treat any infection prior to almost any surgery. People with active infections are generally not good surgical candidates and certainly do not recover well. Perhaps you are referring to draining an abscess.

This nation's almost total lack of respect for any life may have some bearing on this problem but the vague insinuation that this is just the logical sequelae of a pro-choice position is simply ignorant beyond my ability to comment.

The "sick" ones are not everywhere though they are often in places where people don't seem to expect them though it is not a difficult mystery to anticipate where they might be. What's more I don't know that "sick" is a useful description of what amounts to self-indulgent, duplicitous, narcissistic behaviour which bears a surprising resemblance of similar behaviours directed at other populations by large numbers of people. Those other populations may indeed be a position to better defend themselves than children but the perpetrators bear a striking resemblance to each other. Read my comments made previously if you care w

3:05PM PST on Feb 10, 2012

Usually, where there's smoke, there's also fire. I don't believe that these people needed to lose their jobs, but in order to get rid of an infection, surgery is sometimes necessary. There is a very strong case that the Principal did not have a healthy supervisory role and working, trustful relationship with the teachers, or this situation would not have been allowed to continue this long. It's unfortunate that the students were victimized by the sick teachers among them. The fact that we, as a nation, don't have respect for all life, allows situations as this to occur. The sick ones are EVERYWHERE, by the way!

2:39PM PST on Feb 10, 2012

Having worked in schools I can understand why they removed everyone. Often times, everyone in the school knows who the bad teachers are and what they are doing but they have tenure and usually are connected in some way with the higher ups and never get called on whatever they are doing. Even the Superintendents are not willing to take a stand and the situation continues until some brave person stands up and makes a scene in a public forum. I'm so glad someone did just that! Those poor kids didn't have anyone to trust!

10:28AM PST on Feb 10, 2012

Typical stupid "punishment". This is why so many people won't come forward to tell the truth. What is the reasoning to punish everyone when two are the problem?

3:24PM PST on Feb 9, 2012

Removing all of them wasn't necessary. But I'm glad all teachers are being checked. hopefully it doesn't take time away from student's learning

10:45AM PST on Feb 9, 2012

Just a note to clarify - the whole staff were not fired, they have been transferred to other schools. There are many reasons why the school board might have made this decision. One is that they were fearful of reprisals against the teachers. It is a tragic situation for the children and the teachers.

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