Staffer at L.A. school rocked by sex abuse scandal 'heartbroken'
As teachers and staff at a Los Angeles school rocked by a sex abuse scandal packed and left for temporary reassignment, a crowd braved the cold rain Tuesday, children bawling as their teachers left and parents chanting that district officials needed to change course.
Some employees, all of whom will be moved as the investigation into allegations of lewd conduct by Miramonte Elementary teachers Mark Berndt and Martin Springer continues, said they were upset by the decision announced Monday.
Sixth-grade teacher Andrea Shaffer was packing her second-story classroom as the crowd chanted for the teachers to come back. She blew kisses to the crowd until she got choked up and went back to packing.
Shaffer said she was disappointed by the move.
"So many are affected by this idiot," Shaffer said, referring to one of the teachers.
A teacher's aide at Miramonte for 14 years who requested anonymity because she feared losing her job said she learned of the decision Tuesday morning while watching the news.
"I've been here for these kids and they know me," she said. "One day I'm here, and the next I'm gone."
Another teacher's aide, a seven-year veteran who also requested anonymity for the same reason, said staffers were told they would be relocated until June.
"I'm heartbroken," she said of the news.
Although two teachers have been accused, other employees at the school say their work has been tainted.
"We are not all to blame," the second teacher's aide said. "Now we are being labeled. It's like we did something wrong."
-- Angel Jennings and Irfan Khan at Miramonte Elementary
Photo: Unhappy students outside Miramonte Elementary School on Tuesday. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times