LA School Reopens Amid Sex Abuse Scandal
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Three days after reassigning the entire staff at Miramonte Elementary, students returned to class with new teachers. Many parents say the district's move is causing further disruption to their children's education. (Feb. 9)


[Location: Los Angeles, CA - February 9, 2012][Source: AP]IT'S LIKE THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, BUT WITH NONE OF THE EXCITEMENT ANDOPTIMISM OF A NEW SCHOOL YEAR.[NATSOUND/chanting]A WEEK AFTER THE NEWS BROKE ABOUT PHOTOS OF BLINDFOLDED STUDENTS EATING TAINTED COOKIES, THE SCHOOL DISTRICT REASSIGNED THE STAFF TO ANOTHER FACILITY AND INSTALLED ALL NEW FACULTY HERE.[SOT/TOM WALDMAN, LA Unified School District Spokesman] "The cost to the LAUSD general fund of putting a new 169 person staff in this school - teachers, administrative staff and counselors - is $5.7 milliondollars through June 30 of this year." :14OFFICIALS SAY THE SHERIFF'S INVESTIGATION WAS TOO DISRUPTIVE, WITH DEPUTIES TAKING TEACHERS OUT OF CLASS FOR INTERVIEWS.PLUS, MANY OF THE TEACHERS NEEDED COUNSELING TOO.BUT THE TEACHERS' UNION SAY IT'S NOT FAIR TO PUNISH HARD-WORKING EDUCATORS WHO HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE TWO TEACHERS ACCUSED OF CHILD ABUSE.[SOT/WARREN FLETCHER, President, United Teachers of LA] "The removal of 85 teachers from this school without investigation was nothing more than a cheap media stunt intended to deflect attention from the fact that the tragedy at this school." :15PARENTS SAY THEIR CHILDREN WILL MISS THEIR TEACHERS AND HAVE A HARDER TIME SETTLING BACK INTO CLASS WITH ALL NEW FACES.[SOT/BRENDA CANELA, Mother of 2 Miramonte students] "It's going to be difficult for my kids. My daughter is a special needs kid, so it's going to be difficult. The superintendent, he doesn't think about those kids." :10OTHER PARENTS ARE RELIEVED TO START ANEW, BUT THIS VOCAL CONTINGENT SAYS THERE ARE BETTER WAYS TO MONITOR TEACHERS, LIKE PUTTING VIDEO CAMERAS IN THE CLASSROOM.[NORMA ASCENCIO/Mother of 2 Miramonte students] "Nosotros sabemos ser padres y estamos aqui con nuestros hijos porque [FADE HERE] ellos no piensan en nuestros hijos. Ellos piensan en lavarse las manos nada mas. No han sido nada claros." :12NORMA ASCENCIO SAYS THE ADMINISTRATORS AREN'T THINKING ABOUT THE CHILDREN, ONLY ABOUT WASHING THEIR HANDS OF A DIFFICULT SITUATION.MEANWHILE, THE FIRST VICTIMS' LAWSUITS HAVE BEEN FILED AGAINST THE DISTRICT.[GREGORY JAMES OWEN/Attorney for 3 victims' families] "I want you to think how sick this guy was. He took those photographs and then sent them home. And some of these parents framed them and put them on their bookshelves, up until this thing occurred, never knowing what the white substance was." :14OWEN DESCRIBED THE CARDS AND NOTES THAT MARK BERNDT SHOWERED ON HIS FAVORED STUDENTS. BEHAVIOR TYPICAL OF A PEDOPHILE, TO EARN THE TRUST OF THE CHILD AND THEIR FAMILY.RMD, the AP, LA.