Worsening LA School Sex Abuse Case Is Too Sick to Take

Martin Springer Mark Berndt
Teachers Martin Springer and Mark Berndt are both accused of abusing kids.
If you told me last week that something could be worse than a trusted teacher being accused of sexually molesting students inside his LA classroom, I would have told you that you were sick. And yet, it's happened. A second teacher at California's Miramonte Elementary School has been taken off the job and charged with sexually abusing the children who trusted him.

Second grade teacher Martin Bernard Springer stands accused of sexual misconduct with two 7-year-old girls, while third grade teacher Mark Berndt faces extensive charges for allegedly abusing as many as 23 kids, with deviant practices that include feeding kids his sperm and binding and gagging kids, then place cockroaches on their faces. With charges this heinous coming right on top of another, I'm not sure any community could recover. Where would you even begin?

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I know when I heard about Berndt's arrest last week, the first thing I wondered was how he could have gotten away with what he was accused of doing over a lengthy period inside a classroom. Didn't anyone ever walk by the door and notice things were a little freaky in there? Didn't any of the other school staff ever notice a kid was acting ... odd?

Add more charges for another teacher to the mix, and the conspiracy theories have to be going nuts in that community. And I don't blame those parents one bit. I think we all know that there are times when kids' voices are drowned out by adults', and if the adults are co-workers, who is going to listen to whom? I'm not alleging that anyone else at Miramonte did something to the children, but all it takes is one teacher covering for another on one rumor, and you start to understand how kids get hurt in a school system.

As much as we depend on teachers to be good, upstanding citizens who care for our kids, because of the closed system within a school building, we also depend on school staff to police one another. We as parents who can't be there all the time need to know that everyone is there for the kids, and that they'll step in the minute anything seems fishy.

The Los Angeles school system seems to be doing the best they can. They've temporarily yanked the whole staff at Miramonte -- in addition to getting rid of Berndt and Springer -- so they can piece through the details and ensure there was no conspiracy among staffers that allowed two perverted teachers to prey on kids. So far they're saying there are no other suspicions of problem teachers.

I certainly hope not. These kids and parents have a hard enough row to hoe right now. First off, they're going to have to learn to trust again, and they can't do that if they keep getting knocked down. My heart goes out to every parent and every child right now.

Do you think that's even possible? If this was your kids' school, what would you be doing?


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