After three months of silence, the teachers who were transferred from Miramonte Elementary school in the wake of a sex abuse scandal are speaking out.
At a Thursday evening press conference on the lawn of Augustus Hawkins High School, where former Miramonte employees are being "housed," at least 40 teachers and staffers gathered to share their stories, and about 150 students and parents were there to be part of a protest march, reports the Los Angeles Times. For many students, it was the first time they had seen their former teachers since February.
While some teachers stepped forward to the podium to read letters describing their trauma, all former Miramonte staffers chose to keep their identities to themselves, notes NBC LA.
"It was surreal, and I thought to myself, 'What did I do to deserve this?'" asked one teacher.
Another instructor said, "A bond that I had built with my students and their families was broken and disrupted."
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The LAUSD has said in a written statement that former Miramonte teachers will be able to re-apply for their old jobs in August, notes ABC7.
School superintendent John Deasy made the controversial choice to replace the entire faculty at Miramonte Elementary school a week after two teachers were arrested on suspicion of lewd acts against students in January.
At the time, Deasy had emphasized that the move was not "a condemnation of an entire staff." Still, he added, "I can't have any more surprises at Miramonte."
For the past three months, former Miramonte staffers have been undergoing questioning about the two teachers charged with lewd acts, as well as professional evaluations and trainings to help them improve.
As for the former Miramonte teachers actually under investigation, Mark Berndt faces 23 counts of lewd acts against a child and over 400 pieces of evidence have been submitted for his trial in June. Martin B. Springer was charged with three counts of lewd acts against children. Both have pled not guilty.