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LAUSD Bans Blindfold Reading Program In Wake Of Teacher Sex Abuse Claims

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Blindfolding has been officially banned in the Los Angeles Unified School District in the wake of the district’s sex abuse scandal.

Until last week, blindfolding had been used as part of a district-wide fourth-grade reading program to teach students about their other sense like hearing, smell and touch, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The program was cut last week by a high-ranking official in the wake of the January arrest of Miramonte Elementary School teacher Mark Berndt, the paper said.

Berndt is facing 23 counts of lewd acts on a child after hundreds of photos surfaced of his students blindfolded and allegedly being fed bodily fluids on cookies and crackers.

A memo was sent to all LAUSD principals on Feb. 23 stating that blindfolding “may be perceived negatively” and other teaching methods should be used, according to the Times.

The paper also reports that a LAUSD school in North Hollywood has stopped putting butter on crackers for students to eat as a result of the Berndt case.

The changes to school and district policy come as attorneys representing 20 of Berndt’s alleged victims will release copies of claims filed by the children against the LAUSD. The claims allege the district had been aware of complaints made against Berndt as far back as 1990.

Berndt has pleaded not guilty to the charges and his being held on $23 million bail.

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