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School sex abuse scandal: Removal of all teachers protested

February 7, 2012 |  9:57 am


Parents were tense and emotional Tuesday outside the temporarily closed Los Angeles school where two teachers are accused of lewd conduct with students.

Parents and students argued about whether the school district should have reassigned the entire staff, a move officials announced Monday. The school was closed until Thursday.

The two teachers, Mark Berndt and Martin Springer, are accused of engaging in lewd activity with children who attended the school.

PHOTOS: Sex abuse charges spark parent uproar

Dozens of parents and children shivered in cold morning rain Tuesday as most of them protested the decision to remove all the school's teachers and replace them, at least temporarily.

Many parents lined up to sign a petition seeking to reinstate the staff, while others came to hear what each side had to say on the subject.

Meanwhile, the school's staff gathered for a meeting in an auditorium on campus. They left a few minutes later, carrying empty boxes that they would use to pack up items from their classrooms.

FULL COVERAGE: Miramonte sex-abuse investigation

Children chanted: "We want our teachers back!"

Opponents of replacing the staff said it would be more of a hindrance for the students to be in classes with unfamiliar teachers, particularly with testing coming up, and that it punishes teachers and staff who had done nothing wrong.

"It's not fair for them to pay for this," said Lincy Lozano, 11, a sixth-grader at the school.

Claudia Morfis, parent of a fifth-grader, worried that the good teachers might not return.

"There are a lot of good teachers here who go beyond," she said, "and we don't want to lose them."

Maria Ozuna, who has daughters in fifth and sixth grades, said most of the teachers were likely uninvolved and unaware of what allegedly happened with the two teachers.

"We want teachers to be evaluated to see if they are suitable and safe to come back to the school," she said. "It's the middle of the school year. It's not fair that students return Thursday to all new faces."


'Culture of silence' probed at school rocked by abuse scandal

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

Attendance drops at school where 2 teachers are suspected of abuse

-- Angel Jennings