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Miramonte Elementary School to close 2 days for child abuse probe

February 5, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Miramonte Elementary School will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday due to the ongoing child sex abuse investigation that has rocked the South Los Angeles community.

The Los Angeles Unified School District announced the closure Sunday night, which is aimed to help with an internal investigation and a criminal investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The school will be open Monday, but some parents tell Eyewitness News they will protest in the morning and not send their kids to class.

School district officials plan to meet with parents at 6 p.m. Monday at South Region High School No. 2.

Tuesday and Wednesday will be "pupil free days." It's not clear where staff members will be that day.

Mark Berndt, a former teacher at the school, is charged with committing lewd acts on 23 children, ages 6 to 10, between 2005 and 2010. Prosecutors say the 61 year old took photos of his students blindfolded and gagged, and some had a roach on their faces. In some cases, the veteran teacher allegedly held spoons of semen to their mouths.

A second teacher at the school, 49-year-old Martin Springer, was arrested Friday on accusations of fondling two girls. The second grade teacher was being held on $2 million bail.

The case has shocked and outraged the community. The LAUSD is the second-largest school district in the nation with 650,000 students across hundreds of campuses.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department at (877) 710-LASS.