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L.A. school to be closed for two days for sex-abuse investigation

February 6, 2012 |  9:19 am


Miramonte Elementary School, where two teachers have been arrested for alleged lewd activity with students, will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday as sheriff's detectives and district officials continue their investigation into the allegations.

District officials and investigators have been trying to learn what staff members might have known about the two teachers, Mark Berndt and Martin Springer, who were arrested last week.

There also has been concern about the other teachers at the school, who may have been traumatized by the disturbing revelations.

FULL COVERAGE: Miramonte sex-abuse investigation

Meantime, the Los Angeles Unified School District will hold a meeting for parents at 6 p.m. Monday at the newly opened South Region High School #2 at 6100 S. Central Ave.

Parents gathered at the school Monday morning to protest the district's handling of the incident. Several parents and former students have come forward to say their complaints either were not taken seriously or not fully investigated.

On Saturday, investigators revealed that a student was allegedly a victim of lewd conduct by both teachers. The teachers knew each but there is no indication that they conspired together.

The girl and her parents complained to school officials in 2008 when the girl was a student in Berndt's second-grade class, and she brought home pictures of her and two other girls standing against a wall.

Another photo shows her being fed a cookie by another student. Berndt was arrested last week for allegedly spoon-feeding his semen to blindfolded students as part of what he called a “tasting game.”

Officials dismissed the complaints, and the girl was transferred to Springer's class.

The girl's father says Springer touched her on the leg and thigh during class, law enforcement sources told The Times.

Springer, 49, of Alhambra, was arrested Friday after allegations surfaced that he fondled two girls inside his classroom at Miramonte during the last three years, said L.A. County Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker.

They were approximately 7 years old at the time of the incidents, Parker said.


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-- Howard Blume