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Miramonte school to reopen in wake of sex-abuse scandal

Staff members get ready at Miramonte Elementary School as it reopens on Thursday morning with an all-new slate of teachers and administrators

Miramonte Elementary School was set to reopen Thursday after a two-day closure to change out the school's entire staff following a series of allegations of lewd acts by teachers.

The school district's move, announced at a tense meeting Monday, followed the arrest of two Miramonte teachers.

Third-grade teacher Mark Berndt faces 23 felony counts for allegedly blindfolding, gagging and spoon-feeding semen to students. After Berndt's arrest, two families reported that a second-grade teacher, 49-year-old Martin Bernard Springer, had fondled their children in separate incidents within the last three years. He was removed from his classroom Thursday and arrested the next day.

FULL COVERAGE: Teacher sex-abuse investigation

PHOTOS: Sex abuse scandal at Miramonte Elementary

One of Springer's alleged victims has since recanted her claims, a law enforcement source said.

Parents were incensed by the allegations of sex abuse, but some were also upset at the decision to remove the school's entire staff.

Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. John Deasy wrote in a letter announcing his decision: "Some might see this as an extreme measure but this is an extreme circumstance. I need to take action within the scope of what I can control. This is it."

ALSO:

Naked man lowered from downtown radio tower

Girl killed, mother injured by hit-and-run driver in O.C.

Man arrested in 2004 murder of woman whose body was in car trunk

-- Abby Sewell

Photo: Staff members get ready at Miramonte Elementary School as it reopens on Thursday morning with an all-new slate of teachers and administrators. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

 
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