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Audit of L.A. Unified sexual-misconduct policies authorized

March 7, 2012 |  1:59 pm

Photo: Mark Berndt. Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff's DepartmentA state committee on Wednesday authorized a comprehensive audit of procedures to protect students from sexual abuse in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The move comes in the wake of the arrest of former Miramonte Elementary teacher Mark Berndt and others for alleged sexual misconduct. L.A. Unified officials said they welcome the inquiry as compatible with their own ongoing efforts.

The audit was requested by Assemblyman Ricardo Lara (D-South Gate), who represents part of the Miramonte attendance area and who chairs the 14-member Joint Legislative Audit Committee. Thirteen members were present Wednesday and, after about 90 minutes of discussion and testimony, all voted both to approve and prioritize the audit, Lara said.

“I am very happy that we’re going to be able to get some answers, not only for the victims and families, but also to try to bring some clarity to this whole process, ensuring that our kids are safe in schools," Lara said. "I’m glad LAUSD is working with us.”

The probe would likely look closely at six sample schools, possibly including two elementary schools, a high school and an independently managed charter school.

The audit is expected to begin in the next week or so and last close to eight months, at a cost of at least $300,000.

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-- Howard Blume

Photo: Mark Berndt. Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

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