To the editor: What's believed to be the largest settlement by a school district in history can't undo the damage the children abused by Miramonte Elementary School teacher Mark Berndt unnecessarily suffered. With a then-Los Angeles Unified School District lawyer recently arguing in a separate case that a 14-year-old girl could somehow give consent to her sexual abuser (who was a district employee), has anything changed? ("L.A. Unified ends Miramonte sex abuse case with $139-million deal," Nov. 21)
Despite an influx of funding from Proposition 30, schools remain underresourced, undersupervised and woefully lacking in librarians, nurses and counselors who contribute to a safe community. The district maintains that after almost eight years without even a cost-of-living increase and significant income lost to furlough days, educators deserve only a 2% raise, which speaks volumes about priorities.
The notion that this culture will somehow attract the most qualified and ethical is absurd, and innocent students will continue to be at risk.
Wendy Blais, North Hills
To the editor: Berndt's failure as a teacher and as a human being resulted in a payout of $139 million. If the LAUSD were a business, a fine that size might result in bankruptcy.
The news report should have pointed out that local and state taxpayers foot the bill for that settlement, while those who enabled Berndt's activities carry on as usual.
James E. Bie, Palm Desert
To the editor: The families of the children abused by Berndt will be scarred for life. As the children grow older, flashbacks probably will occur. I know this from personal experience.
It's too bad Berndt was not removed earlier, which could have saved the district precious funds that could be better spent on educating our children.
Stuart D. Schnell, Alhambra