So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

From principals to teachers to custodians: All staff at Miramonte Elementary School to be replaced

Deasy talks Miramonte

Tami Abdollah / KPCC

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy addresses media Monday night at South Region High School 2 after meeting with parents and informing them that all staff from Miramonte Elementary School will be replaced because of lewd conduct charges against two teachers in separate cases.


L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy told parents Monday night that the district will replace the entire 130-person staff at Miramonte Elementary School in South Los Angeles in the next two days. The move comes in response to the arrests of two teachers last week on lewd conduct charges last week.

The district has never relocated an entire staff before. The changes will affect everyone from the principal to secretaries to teachers to custodians, Deasy said. The staff will be moved to another school without student contact. Those who are not being investigated will continue to be paid, Deasy said.

Here is a roundup of the major changes:

  • When students return Thursday after two pupil-free days, each classroom will be taught by a two-person team, including an instructor and counselor who will provide support.
  • Families will have the choice to continue at Miramonte Elementary or to send their kids to one of four other local schools.
  • Counseling services will be provided to every child who is or has attended the school and their families who request it.
  • The entire staff will be relocated and the district will conduct a "comprehensive review" of what happened. It will also provide support services. ("We have a crime for someone arrested at this point, therefore the failure to report is also a crime," Deasy said. He said officials are looking into how it was possible for someone not to know what was occurring at the school.)
  • Every current Miramonte student and staff member, and every former student and staff member will be interviewed.
  • An Independent Commission led by retired California Supreme Court Chief Justice Carlos Moreno will be reviewing the events at the elementary school and providing a review of the processes and providing recommendations to the district as a result of the cases.


LA Unified to replace staff at Miramonte Elementary after sex-abuse scandal rocks school

Grant Slater/KPCC

Parents of students at Miramonte Elementary School escort they children out of school on February 6, 2012.

L.A. Unified will be replacing the staff at Miramonte Elementary School in South Los Angeles with an entirely new faculty while the school is closed over the next two days, a district spokesman said.

Superintendent John Deasy is meeting with concerned parents at South Region High School tonight after two teachers at the school were arrested on separate cases. Media were not allowed into the meeting.

Mark Berndt is charged with 23 counts of lewd acts against students from 2005 to 2010, and Martin Springer is charged with two counts of lewd acts.

"The superintendent is going to talk about what's going to go forward with the school," said district spokesman Tom Waldman. "What the plan is, I can confirm, is there will be a relocation of the staff of that school to another location. There will be a whole new faculty brought in to teach there. But I don't know how many that is."


L.A. Unified establishes hotline for Miramonte Elementary's sex-abuse cases

José Martinez/OnCentral

Parents protest at Miramonte Elementary School in South LA Monday.

L.A. Unified has established a hotline for anyone with information on Miramonte Elementary School's sex-abuse investigations, the district said in a release today.

People can email or call 866-247-5877.

School board president Monica Garcia said in a statement that anyone with information of inappropriate conduct should report it. She said the board is "appalled, extremely saddened and devastated to learn of the allegations and events" related to the arrest of two teachers, Mark Berndt and Martin Springer, at the elementary school.

Berndt is charged with 23 counts of lewd acts against a child from 2005 to 2010 and Springer is charged with two counts since 2008 in separate cases.

The board has directed Superintendent John Deasy to continue working with the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, LAUSD's Crisis Counseling Intervention Services and other agencies to provide support to affected parents and students, Garcia said.


LAUSD janitor Paul Adame arrested for lewd acts, victim details withheld


Paul Adame

A press conference was held Monday afternoon to address the latest LAUSD sexual abuse arrest, this time in Chatsworth.

Paul Adame, 37, a Germain Street Elementary School janitor, was arrested on Sunday on investigation of lewd acts against a child. The incident allegedly took place Friday during school hours, authorities confirmed.

Due to the sensitive nature of the incident, no details about about the assault will be released. The name, age and gender of the victim are also being withheld.  The victim's mother reported inappropriate contact to the Devonshire Area police station.

Adame, who has a misdemeanor conviction for driving without owners consent but no known history of sexual assault, is on "administrative leave," officials said. He will not be reassigned to another campus or have contact with school children.


Council adopts sweeping proposals to improve LA county's student attendance


L.A. County's Education Coordinating Council unanimously adopted sweeping recommendations today to try and combat student attendance and truancy problems in its 81 districts.

The group publicly released its 63-page report today that advocates for a more holistic community-based effort to encourage kids to attend class and moves away from criminalizing and punitive measures.

"This report is not the end all; this report is only the beginning," said the council's vice chair Michael Nash, who chairs the task force and is the presiding judge of the Juvenile Court.

The task force and its working groups plan to continue to meet on a monthly basis to work on creating a technical manual on improving student attendance that districts can follow. The group also hopes to work with the county's Metropolitan Transportation Authority to try and get free bus passes for students, especially those who are lower-income students.