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Friday, May 6, 2022

Protecting Classroom Pedophiles

     On January 30, 2012, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies arrested 61-year-old elementary teacher Mark Berndt on 23 counts of lewd acts against minors. The third grade teacher at the Miramonte Elementary School in Florence Firestone, an unincorporated community in Los Angeles County, stood accused of photographing 6 to 10-year olds in bondage positions, some with live bugs crawling on their faces. A few of the girls were shown holding spoons containing a white liquid up to their mouths. Children were also pictured about to eat cookies allegedly topped with the teacher's semen.

     Because of the influence of the California Teachers Association (CTA) and other education unions in the state, school administrators couldn't fire anyone, including teachers like Mark Berndt. In the Miramonte school, because parents were so outraged, and held protests, school administrators managed to get Berndt out of the classroom by paying him $40,000 to retire. That's how bad it was in the Golden State where it was truly golden for pedophiles working in the state's education system. (You can see why in California the firing of a merely incompetent teacher is impossible. The unions simply won't allow it. Rotten teachers who lose their jobs in other states can find a teaching position in California. The pay is outstanding, benefits are out of this world and it doesn't matter if teachers are any good. Moreover, for pedophiles, California classrooms are heavens on earth.)

     In 2012, in the wake of the Miramonte school scandal (Berndt wasn't the only pedophile working there), a group called Democrats for Educational Reform introduced legislation in the state senate (S.B. 1530) that made it easier to dismiss teachers accused of sex, violence, or drug offenses against children. That bill, with vast public support passed the Senate on a 33-4 bipartisan vote.

     In the California Assembly, when the Senate-passed legislation came before the Assembly Education Committee, committee members, by refusing to vote on the bill, killed the proposed law in committee. (These politicians didn't have the courage to vote "no"which meant the bill did not reach the Assembly floor for a vote. If it had, it would have passed by a wide majority.)

     The committee members who killed this child protection legislation had bowed to the state's powerful teachers' unions, including the CTA. All of the state politicians who killed the bill through their abstentions had been beneficiaries of large CTA political contributions. The fact that the CTA could stop legislation favored by a vast majority of California voters showed who was really running the show in the state. Democracy be damned. Moreover, the undermining of this needed legislation revealed what most citizens of the state already knew--that in California it was unions first, teachers second, and students, parents and education third--and a bad third at that. It was no wonder the state has one of the worst public education systems in the country. 

     In California the CTA, backed by an army of 325,000 teachers and plenty of money to bribe and control state politicians is in reality the fourth branch of government. As the biggest political spender in the state its influence dwarfed other special interest groups. From 2000 through 2009 the CTA alone shelled out more than $211 million in political contributions and lobbying expenses. That was twice the amount given to politicians by the second largest bribery machine, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Since 2009 the CTA had pumped another $50 million into the state's political community. 

     The fact that teacher's unions in California and other states are destroying the quality of public education in the country is bad enough. Even worse, they are enabling and protecting classroom child abusers. As long as school administrators can't protect students from the likes of Mark Berndt classrooms are not safe for children. 

      As for Mark Berndt himself, he pleaded no contest in November 2013 to 23 counts of lewd acts on children. The judge sentenced him to 25 years in prison. A year later, the Los Angeles United School District agreed to pay out $170 million in court settlements related to the Berndt pedophilia case. The settlement involved more than a hundred students.

     If the zookeepers in the state of California belonged to the CTA, the animals would starve in their cages while their custodians complained about their jobs and threatened to strike.          

10 comments:

  1. This is very true, Jim. My father, who sexually abused my brother and I, and our aunt when she was a child, has been a special education teacher in San Diego for 20 years. Because our statute of limitations expired when we were kids, there is nothing that can touch him. We have called his principle, superintendent,the school board, and nothing. It's sick that he is certainly continuing to abuse children who do not have a voice, and there is nothing that can be done.

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    1. I'm sorry you went through this Anonymous. Most states don't start the statute of limitations clock until after the victim reaches majority. I gues California is an outlier. But what would you do if you were the principal and you got a letter from an adult child that said a her father, a teacher,was an abuser? What if the teacher denied it? Who's story would you believe? Would you toss a coin?

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  2. Who cares if a teacher can't be fired! If a teacher is arrested he isn't working.

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  3. I'll tell you who cares. People who demand quality in public education.

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    1. Berndt isn't going to be teaching anyone. He's going to jail for 25 years and after 25 years he will have to register as a sex offender and not have contact with children. So why do we need this law? This has nothing to do with the quality of education.

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  4. The operative word here is accused. That means the accused never had a trial. Anyone can be accused of anything. I'm glad this law didn't pass because it's a bad law. It's making employers be judge, jury and executioner without any due process. Employers are ill equipped to do this. They can't supena witnesses, they aren't law enforcement professionals, they can't compel witnesses to speak the truth with perjury laws. Democrats for Educational Reform are using pedphilia to short circuit people's ability to reason.

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  6. Actually the teachers' union supports the bill. http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/state/12441-bill-reforming-teacher-dismissals-goes-to-governor

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  7. What he made the kids do is the most disgusting thing I have ever read regarding a teacher's abuse of students!

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  8. Where was Berndt before 1979?

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