Almost two dozen former students of Miramonte Elementary School have filed a negligence lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District claiming “the district did not do enough to protect students who lodged complaints about inappropriate conduct at the school.” The suit also names several school board members, and both the current and former Miramonte school principals. The suit stems from the arrest of Mark Berndt, a former Miramonte teacher charged with 23 counts of committing lewd acts on children.
The charges brought intense scrutiny of the district, which launched an internal investigation to determine how Berndt, a veteran third-grade teacher, could evade suspicion for so long.
The lawsuit said that the district essentially ignored student allegations. It names several complaints filed against the teacher, including one in 1993 in which a student claimed to have been fondled by Berndt. The lawsuit states that no changes were made to the district’s “policies, training or supervision, or other actions to protect students,” after the complaints.
In February, the district said it did not have any records of complaints against Berndt, who is accused of gagging students with tape, blindfolding them and spoon-feeding his semen to them as part of a “tasting game.” Los Angeles Times, 5 May 2012.
LA Unified has been plagued with sexual abuse scandals in the last six months. Click here to read full coverage.