L.A. to remove entire staff of sex scandal school

The Los Angeles Unified School District announced late Monday that the entire staff of Miramonte Elementary --150 teachers and other workers -- will be replaced by Thursday.

Miramonte is one of the country's largest grammar schools, with at least 1,500 students.

The move is an attempt to restore confidence in a school system that parents say has failed to protect their children. "My son," says one parent, "gets to see a new thing at school and comes home (and asks), 'Mom, what's going? Why is everyone out there?' And I just don't have any answers anymore for my son at this point."

The controversy began last week, when two teachers, Mark Berndt and Martin Springer, were arrested on charges they sexually abused students. Berndt is charged with 23 lewd acts, including taking pictures of young students bound and gagged with tape. Springer has been accused of fondling two seven-year old girls in his class.

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy says the actions are being taken in an effort "to support staff and simultaneously to determine if there are individuals, who have done something wrong."

It's expected that many staff members will be readmitted after an internal review.

Parents' anger is growing, however, over the secrecy of the investigation, which has been ongoing for the last three years. And parents have learned that Berndt was investigated and cleared by authorities as far back as 1994. "It's an outrage for something like this to go on in our schools, undetected," one parent declared.

And even this attempt to reassure parents appears to have fallen short -- school officials banned the media from attending the announcement, further angering many parents.

"They're covering up something," one parent asserts. "That's why they don't want the media in there."

To see John Blackstone's report, click on the video in the player above.

  • John Blackstone

    From his base in San Francisco, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone covers breaking stories throughout the West. That often means he is on the scene of wildfires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and rumbling volcanoes. He also reports on the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley and on social and economic trends that frequently begin in the West.