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Sources: Entire Staff To Be Removed From Miramonte Elementary

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Sources say the Los Angeles Unified School District will be replacing the entire staff at Miramonte Elementary School this week.

They also plan to interview every student who is attending the school now and any students who have gone there in recent years.

Parents staged a protest Monday morning at a South Los Angeles elementary school where two teachers were arrested last week on suspicion of several bizarre sex crimes.

Parents began boycotting at Miramonte Elementary School at 7 a.m. Monday, demanding action from administrators.

“We are a community and if we don’t speak out, who’s going to speak out. I speak out for our children, everybody’s children,” a Miramonte parent told CBS2’s Kirk Hawkins.

Teacher Mark Berndt, a 30-year Los Angeles Unified School District veteran, was arrested Jan. 30 and charged with 23 counts of lewd acts on a child.

Berndt, 61, reportedly took an estimated 300 photos of students bound, gagged and blindfolded in his classroom between 2008 and 2010. Some photos show cockroaches being placed on the students’ faces. Others are being fed a milky-white substance on a spoon that lab tests confirm tested positive for the teacher’s DNA.

He was removed from the classroom in January 2011. Berndt left the district in March of that year.

Fellow teacher Martin Springer, 49, was arrested Friday after two of his former students told police they were fondled in his classroom.

Springer is still employed by the district but paperwork has been filed in order to fire him, LAUSD officials said. Springer is expected to be fired Tuesday at a special meeting.

“It is horrible and the violation of trust in public is something that is gonna to take time to recover, but LAUSD has a responsibility and a commitment to those families,” said LAUSD School Board President Monica Garcia.

It’s still unclear whether there is any connection between the two suspects.

Classes will be canceled on Tuesday and Wednesday for pupil free days aimed at helping the district and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s investigations. It is unclear if the school will be open on Thursday.

Attorney Luis A. Carrillo of South Pasadena filed claims Monday against the District on behalf of six families in Berndt’s case.

“Everybody fell asleep and the wheel and the responsibility relies with the school district to protect the kids,” said Carrillo said.

He believes there could be hundreds of additional victims.

A meeting has been planned for 6 p.m. Monday at South Region 2 High School with parents and LAUSD administrators to discuss the latest on the teacher sex scandal.

Berndt is being held on $23 million bail. Springer has been booked on suspicion of lewd acts upon a child. His bail has been set at $2 million.

The district has established a hotline for anyone to call in with information about Miramonte. The line can be accessed at specialvictims@lasd.org or 866-247-5877.

RELATED STORIES:
» South LA Teacher Arrested For Allegedly Taking Photos Of Students Bound, Gagged

» 2nd Teacher At Miramonte Elementary School Arrested For Alleged Lewd Acts Against Children

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