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Miramonte parents shaken by arrest of teacher for lewd acts

February 1, 2012 |  9:04 am


The morning after learning a teacher at Miramonte Elementary School had been arrested for lewd acts with 23 children, many parents remained shaken.

Some said they had lost confidence in the school and were concerned the same could have happened to their children.

Carlos Ramirez, whose 5- and 7-year-old children attend the southeast L.A. school, said he talked with them Tuesday night, asking whether they ever had the teacher, Mark Berndt, and reminding them that if anything strange happened, they needed to tell him.


Berndt, 61, is expected in court Wednesday for arraignment on 23 counts of lewd acts against children. He being held in lieu of $2.3-million bail.

Ramirez said in Spanish the situation left him frustrated because now he "doesn't have any confidence in the school anymore."

Joel Godinez, who has a 7-year-old daughter at the school, was especially upset the school did not tell parents that Berndt had been fired because of the allegations, including that he blindfolded and gagged the children, feeding them semen in a classroom setting.

"They should have told parents. It's just common sense," Godinez said. "They're just little kids, and we should have known."

Yvonne Soto, another parent, was frightened more than anything. She worried something like this could have happened to her son, a first-grader in special education classes. The situation has prompted her to be more vigilant.

"It can happen anywhere," she said. "People just need to talk to their kids and stop by the classroom every once in a while to see what's going on."


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-- Paloma Esquivel at Miramonte Elementary School