SOUTH LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Teachers who were removed from Miramonte Elementary School earlier this year following a sex scandal spoke out for the first time Thursday afternoon.
The teachers held a rally at Augustus Hawkins High School, where they were reassigned after the scandal broke in February.
“Teachers who have done nothing wrong and have been cleared of anything wrong doing continue to be punished and kept away from Miramonte. Supt. John Deasy refuses to allow to the original Miramonte their rights to return to Miramonte for the rest of this year or even next school year,” the UTLA South Area said in a statement.
The entire Miramonte staff was removed from the school by Superintendent John Deasy days after sexual allegations surfaced involving students.
“What happened to our teachers at Miramonte — it’s an injustice,” said a man speaking at the podium in Thursday’s rally.
Former teacher Mark Berndt, 61, is accused of taking photos of students while they were bound and gagged in his classroom. Some photos show cockroaches being placed on students’ faces, while others show them being spoon fed a milky-white substance that tested positive for Berndt’s DNA.
Berndt has pleaded not guilty to 23 counts of lewd acts on a child.
Martin Springer was accused of fondling a student in his second grade classroom in 2009, but the allegations did not come to light until February. The 49-year-old is currently free on bond after pleading not guilty to three counts of lewd acts on a child.
Both men have been fired from the Los Angeles Unified School District.