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Parents at Miramonte Elementary on teacher charges: How could this happen?

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Damian Dovarganes/AP

Students are escorted to a waiting bus as they leave Miramonte Elementary school after classes Jan. 31, 2012. Veteran Miramonte Elementary school teacher Mark Berndt, 61, was arrested Monday on charges of lewd conduct with 23 children after a film processor gave police photos showing blindfolded children with their mouths taped and cockroaches on their faces.

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KPCC's Vanessa Romo is at Miramonte Elementary School today, where parents are reeling after one of the school's former teachers, Mark Berndt, was arrested this week and accused of committing "lewd acts" against 23 children. Some of the apparently very disturbing pictures police gathered show the crime happening inside a school. 

"I heard everything from full outrage and disbelief, to parents who don't believe it's true and don't believe he's capable of doing something like this," Romo reported on the air this morning.

The principal, Martin Sandoval, and LAUSD officials planned to answer questions at an assembly this morning. More updates on the situation at the school later.

UPDATE 10:39 a.m. About 100 parents met with officlals who included LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy and L.A. County sheriff officials. Many wanted to know what kind of access Berndt might have had to their children and officials tried to reassure them that the school is a safe haven.

"Many emotional parents left saying they felt dissatisfied with the answers they received," Romo said.

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