Former Miramonte Elementary School teachers arrive at Augustus Hawkins School on Feb. 13, 2012 for professional development. They were also set to be questioned by the LA County Sheriff's Department about the Miramonte sex abuse investigation. NBC4's Lolita Lopez reports from Florence on Feb. 13.
Miramonte Elementary School faculty and staff, transferred out in the wake of a sex abuse scandal, began work on Monday at a new high school across town.
The 128 former Miramonte employees reported to work at the yet-to-be opened Augustus Hawkins High School where they will get counseling, be interviewed by officials investigating abuse allegations at their former school, and prepare school lessons.
Faculty and staff will not have contact with children during their time at the 15-acre campus, which is still under construction and is expected to open this fall.
An independent commission led by retired California Supreme Court Chief Justice Carlos Moreno will conduct the district's investigation.
“I feel really bad for the kids,” former Miramonte cafeteria worker Shay Lewis told NBCLA as she arrived for work at Hawkins on Monday. “I feel bad for the teachers and the staff that they have to go through this.
“We’re not all criminals, but we have to follow the rules.”
Miramonte reopened on Thursday, after an unprecedented two-day shutdown.
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy took the unusual action after the arrest of two teachers accused of lewd acts involving children at the school.
United Teachers Los Angeles, the union that represents educators, protested along with parents, saying the move would have damaging effects on their children’s academic progress and is unfair to teachers who did nothing wrong.
During an airing on Sunday of Conan Nolan’s News Conference, Deasy defended his decision.
“This is not administrative discipline,” Deasy said. “This is not … that we have widespread suspicion that people have done things wrong. What we want to understand is how it happened and are there other things that we should know now that took place in the school.”
Parents against the decision to restaff the school said they have collected "hundreds" of signatures in a petition to bring back Miramonte's relocated staff.
Parents and supporters will gather outside Miramonte Elementary School Tuesday at 2 p.m. From there, they will travel to LAUSD headquarters to deliver their signatures in person, according to parents involved in the protests.
Protests have been planned throughout the week - including a 6 p.m. demonstration at Roosevelt Park near the Blue Train Wednesday; and another at Miramonte Elementary School at 4 p.m. Thursday.