• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Miramonte teachers march, want jobs back

Miramonte teachers are seen rallying on Thursday, May 3, 2012.
May 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
More than 100 teachers and staff are demanding their jobs back after they were removed from Miramonte Elementary School classrooms earlier this year amid a sexual abuse investigation.

The men and women who were once teachers at the school marched Thursday on the sidewalks around an empty high school where they've spent the last four months.

The teachers have been undergoing what the district calls "professional development" during their removal. None of the teachers wanted to elaborate on what exactly that meant, but the district has spent $5 million hiring permanent subs and new teachers for Miramonte while the existing teachers remain at the high school.

Teachers who spoke at an afternoon news conference Thursday would not give their names, fearing retaliation from the district. But they called their removal from Miramonte an injustice.

"I looked around and saw so many highly qualified professionals with great talent becoming wasted resources," said one teacher.

The LAUSD reassigned all 85 teachers back in February as the district got word of an alleged sex abuse scandal at the elementary school.

Former teacher Mark Berndt, who made another court appearance Thursday, has been charged with 23 counts of lewd acts with his students. Berndt remains behind bars awaiting trial.

Thursday's news conference and march was also an emotional reunion for Miramonte students and their teachers. Many parents have called for the return of the original staff.

"We're supporting the teachers to go back to Miramonte and it's not fair what they've been doing to them," said one parent.

The United Teachers Los Angeles union has not been happy with the LAUSD's decision to remove Miramonte's staff.

"This is a complete overreaction designed by the district to kind of draw attention away from their failure of supervision," said UTLA's David Lyell.

In a written statement, LAUSD superintendent John Deasy said the teachers will be able to reapply for their old jobs in August. UTLA has filed a grievance against the district in hopes that the original staff can return to the school.


Load Comments