Pass / Fail | So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

Judge allows Miramonte parents' distress claims to move forward

Parents and children protest outside Miramonte Elementary School in 2012
Parents and children protest outside Miramonte Elementary School in 2012
Krista Kennell/AFP/Getty Images

A superior court judge has agreed to move forward with a second case brought by Miramonte parents — this time not on behalf of their kids, but claiming their own emotional distress after revelations that a teacher sexually abused students on campus.

L.A. Unified spokesman Sean Rossall said the court will continue to evaluate who has the standing to sue on these cases.

"We believe that the cases are with the students,"  said Rossall. "We want to make sure that these cases are resolved in a way that is respectful of the students, and we've already settled half of them."

The district had argued to have the parents case thrown out. That could still happen before the case reaches trial.

Attorney Brian Claypool, who represents 23 parents, could not be reached for comment Wednesday morning.

Former Miramonte teacher Mark Berndt, 62, was convicted of sexually abusing students and sentenced to 25 years in prison earlier this month in a deal with prosecutors.

He was arrested in January 2012, after a photo technician called the police to report prints Berndt was processing. He had photographed students with giant hissing cockroaches on their faces and blindfolded, eating cookies with a white substance on them as part of a "tasting game." Officials said the substance was semen.

L.A. Unified has spent nearly $30 million to settle lawsuits brought on behalf of 63 students who claimed they were abused.  Claims for another 71 former students remain open.