Miramonte teachers rally to return to their classrooms

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Teachers from Miramonte Elementary School spoke out for the first time since they were transferred out of their classrooms in February, in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations involving two teachers at the school.

About a hundred parents, students and teachers gathered at Augustus Hawkins High School in South LA. The school opens in the fall, so right now it’s being used to house the 85 Miramonte teachers displaced since allegations of lewd conduct surfaced against Mark Berndt and Martin Springer.

Parents, students and teachers from Miramonte Elementary School, at a rally held May 3. Photos by Avishay Artsy. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

The teachers have been attending training seminars and trying to stay busy – but they say it’s hard being away from their students and classrooms. One teacher who preferred not to be named, for fear of retribution from the district, spoke through tears as she addressed the crowd. “I haven’t had a good night sleep since January, and I’m still unsure of my future, and the impact the recent events will have upon my family and my career,” she said. “This has been a very difficult time,” said a first grade teacher, who also asked not to be identified. “It’s tested us.”

The teacher said she feels they’ve been stigmatized, and may have trouble finding new work. United Teachers Los Angeles organized the rally, and is demanding the L-A school district reinstate the teachers immediately, and not wait until the fall semester.