We’ll be hearing a lot about this guy over the next few months.
A Southland elementary school teacher was arrested after 40 photos depicting blindfolded and gagged children were given to authorities by a film processor.
The LA Times reports 61-year-old Mark Berndt allegedly gagged and made bondage photos of nearly two-dozen children – possibly inside a classroom. In some cases, the children are shown with large Madagascar cockroaches crawling on them at the Miramonte Elementary School.
CBS Los Angeles reports some of the photos allegedly depict Berndt holding a substance that resembles human semen up to the mouths of female students as if they were about to swallow it.
Berndt worked for more than 30 years at Miramonte Elementary School in an unincorporated area of south Los Angeles. He was fired last year, according to LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, although no student ever came forward to report the abuse. —CBS News
Wow — it’s only January, but I think we have our Teacher of the Year. A matching bookend to Coach of the Year Jerry Sandusky.
Reports don’t specify what Berndt was supposed to be teaching, but unless it was advanced fetishism — and in LA, is that taught at the elementary level, or do they wait until high school? — I suspect he’s in a lot of trouble.
This takes pedagogic excess to a brand new low. Middle-aged teachers conducting months-long affairs with teenagers looks like normal behavior compared to this twisted cupcake.
I suspect we’ll hear all sorts of ancillary tales of horror that leave us incredulous and disgusted — such as colleagues who suspected something but never investigated, or parents who refused to believe the stories their children came home with. That’s the pattern. Somebody knew or should have known but didn’t want to get involved.
Maybe local union rules made it impossible for administrators to pursue suspicions. Perhaps a local politician, chumming for support, decried “job-killing regulations” that inhibit dedicated teachers like Mr. Brendt to practice innovative instruction methods or disciplinary measures. Who the hell knows anymore? Just wait for the fallout as everybody involved scrambles for cover.
As for the kids, well, this is America, and nobody really cares anyway. Give ‘em iPods and Happy Meal and they’ll get over it.