This 2003 photo provided by Flor Cervantes shows former Miramonte Elementary teacher Mark Berndt with her sister, Angelica Zuniga, then a third-grader, at the school in Los Angeles.AP
Students are escorted to a waiting bus as they leave Miramonte Elementary school after classes Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012 in Los Angeles.AP2012
Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles reopened on Tuesday for the beginning of a new school year and a much needed fresh start.
The school, which has a Latino student population at 98 percent, is trying to rebuild after shocking revelations of lewd sexual abuse from a teacher in January led to the the temporary replacement of all teachers and staff.
In January, Mark Berndt was arrested for felony molestation of 23 kids after photos surfaced including allegedly feeding his students semen as part of a bizarre and stomach-turning food-tasting game. Berndt taught at the school for 30 years.
Since LA schools Superintendent John Deasy temporarily fired Miramonte staff, most have decided to return to the school.
"We were here one day and the next day we were gone," teacher Robyn Bancroft, 39, said to the Los Angeles Times. "We want to restore our reputations and let the kids know that this was not a choice that we made."
The school is now headed by new principal, Marta Contreras, 43, arrived at Miramonte Elementary last year as an assistant principal.
"Most of the teachers are really good people, and they were just as angry as the parents about what happened," Parent Linda Barrera told the times. "They also wanted to get the bad guys."