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LAUSD Broke the Law During Investigation of Miramonte Teacher Who Allegedly Spoon Fed Students His Own Semen

mark_berndt.jpg
Photo of Mark Berndt courtesy of L.A. Sheriff's Department
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The Los Angeles Unified School District broke a state law "when it failed to notify a state agency responsible for teacher credentialing of the suspension," of Mark Berndt, the Miramonte Elementary School teacher who allegedly spoon-fed students his own semen among other lewd acts, according to KPCC. LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy confirmed earlier reports that the district did not provide a "timely report" to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing that they had on staff an employee being investigated who might be a threat to students' safety. Deasy also noted the LAUSD is conducting an internal investigation to determine why this happened.

Berndt's credential was suspended January 31, the same day the 61-year-old veteran teacher was arrested and charged with 23 counts of lewd conduct on children. Allegations of Berndt's behavior include blindfolding the children and engaging them in something called the "Tasting Game," as well as photographing them, including with insects placed on their bodies.

State law stipulates the LAUSD was to have informed the credentialing commission by March 2011 of Berndt's February 2011 suspension when the investigation was launched.

This is a statement issued by Deasy today:

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Yesterday, I was made aware through the media of the existence of a letter dated February 15, 2012 and addressed to me by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing stating that it had concerns about possible late reporting “of dismissal of credentialed employees while allegations of misconduct are pending.” LAUSD acknowledges that in the case of Mark Berndt, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing was not notified within the required timeline of Berndt’s change in employment status. State law requires that school districts report changes in a teacher’s employment status as a result of allegations of misconduct within 30 days of the change in employment status. The failure to timely notify the CTC in this case, is contrary to standard district practice. I have immediately launched an internal investigation to determine the reasons for the untimely notice in this case. After LAUSD was informed by the Sheriff’s Department of Berndt’s arrest on January 30, 2012, LAUSD notified CTC on January 31, 2012.