WKU Public Radio News Staff
Wed August 15, 2012
Teachers Return To L.A. School Where Two Were Accused Of Lewd Conduct
Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles, where the entire staff was temporarily replaced last February after two teachers were accused of lewd conduct with students, opened for the 2012-13 school year on Tuesday with most of the instructors who had been displaced back in the classrooms.
According to the Los Angeles Times, "nothing untoward emerged about the other teachers, who were forced to wait out the rest of the school year at a nearby unopened high school." So while a few retired and "a handful" are working elsewhere, "most are back at Miramonte."
"We were here one day and the next day we were gone," teacher Robyn Bancroft, 39, told the newspaper. "We want to restore our reputations and let the kids know that this was not a choice that we made." Bancroft will teach sixth grade so that she can be with the children she had been teaching last year when they were in the fifth grade.
Vanessa Romo at KPCC's Pass/Fail blog sploke with returning teacher Andrea Shaffer, who said it's "fabulous!" to be back. "I've been in this area for about 12 years," she said, "I know a lot of families, and so, I just feel like I'm back home."
According to Vanessa, "42 teachers returned to Miramonte for the first day of school. About 10 others found jobs at one of the district's 20 newly constructed schools — Lawrence Moore Elementary — about a half-mile from Miramonte."
In a related story, the Times adds that:
"Former Miramonte teacher Mark Berndt, 61, is charged with 23 counts of lewd conduct in his classroom over the period from July 2005 until authorities pulled him from the school in January 2011. The second teacher, Martin Springer, is charged in connection with one incident of alleged lewd conduct. Both longtime Miramonte teachers have pleaded not guilty."