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Middle School To End Early Tuesday; District Holds Press Conference After Teacher Death (Video)

Albany Patch brings you video coverage of the Albany Unified School District's response regarding a popular teacher's arrest, on suspicion of committing a lewd act upon a former student, and his apparent suicide.

 

Albany Unified School District officials held a press conference Tuesday morning following the apparent suicide of Albany Middle School sixth grade teacher James Izumizaki not long after his arrest on suspicion of committing a lewd act upon a former student younger than 14.

Starting at 8:30 a.m., Superintendent Marla Stephenson held the conference at the Albany Unified School District offices at 1051 Monroe St.

Albany Patch provided a live video stream of the conference via UStream beginning at 8:30 a.m. We will upload recorded video coverage after the conference is over.

SPECIAL DAY AT THE MIDDLE SCHOOL

An email sent Monday evening by Albany Middle School Principal Peter Parenti announced of an early dismissal, at 12:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 2. Parenti said students who are not able to go home will be supervised at school.

"We will be ready for any students who cannot go home after lunch," he wrote. "We recognize that in this special case, many families may not be informed in enough time to take care of their children at home before their regular dismissal time" of 3:05 p.m.

Counseling and mental health specialists from the district and neighboring agencies will be on campus starting at 7:30 a.m. for students and staff, Parenti wrote: "Students and staff can meet as individuals and/or as groups. Staff will watching students carefully and will refer individuals to the counseling centers." 

The school's library "will be used as a central location for grief counseling," according to Parent's email, while the school's counseling offices "will be reserved for students who require more intensive needs."

As far as how teachers plan to handle student needs, Parenti wrote: "Teachers will be available in the classrooms with a variety of activities to help students process the information and express themselves. We cannot provide a script for staff to follow. Instead, we will assess the students' readiness within a variety of contexts and respond appropriately. At this time, most of our teaching staff report that they will be able to come to work tomorrow to be with students. A few staff members may need time to grieve in private and we will respect that need. In those cases, we will have guest teachers and other AUSD Staff roaming the hallways and covering classes."

Parenti noted that media agencies likely would be present near the school Tuesday morning. 

"I will be here very early to monitor the safety of students and the public as the school day opens," he wrote. "However, we are reminded that we cannot exclude the media from the public sidewalks and streets. The media will not be invited in to participate in any activities on campus."

RELATED

  • California Launches Suicide Prevention Website
  • Arraignment Postponed for Teacher After 'Lewd Act' Arrest
  • Blog: Coping as a Community with Allegations of Sexual Offending
  • AMS Event: Having Difficult Conversations with Children
  • Parent Meeting Planned After Teacher Placed on Leave Following Alleged 'Lewd Acts'

Click the "Keep me posted" button below for updates about this story. 

If there's something in this article you think should be corrected, or if something else is amiss, call editor Emilie Raguso at 510-459-8325 or email albany@patch.com.

Cordy Driussi October 02, 2012 at 08:07 AM
Will there be anything for AHS to help cope with this, as well? I hope so....
Emilie Raguso October 02, 2012 at 08:17 AM
Great question. I certainly hope so. At the parent meeting last week, the superintendent said there would be outreach and support for all students, but I haven't heard about specific plans. We can ask in the morning.
Eden O'Brien-Brenner October 02, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Hey Cordy, You probably will have heard this at school by now, but... To: The Albany High student community From: Ted Barone, Principal We are very sad at the news of AMS 6th grade teacher James Izumizaki's passing. Many of us knew him and cared for him as a lifelong member of the Albany community. His passing is a tragedy for his family, friends, students and colleagues. Now is the time for us to come together, to support each other, and to be sure to take care of ourselves. It is critical to refrain from passing judgment, rather it is time to offer healing hands to the many students and adults who are in pain. To that end, we have established a counseling center in the Main Office Conference Room specifically to provide a space where students and adults can come and talk to a grief counselor. Remember that grief and loss is a process often involving a range of feelings including sadness, shock, disbelief, anger and guilt and all these are normal feelings and reactions. So, if you would like to take advantage of this service, please drop by the Main Office during breaks or get a pass from your teacher during class time. Finally, it is through tragedy and crisis that a community finds its measure. Albany is a great community. We are in this together.
Georgia Hallinan October 02, 2012 at 03:08 PM
An email went home from the principal of the high school stating there will be an announcement today as well as counseling services available for students.
Chris Wells October 02, 2012 at 03:33 PM
No Audio
Dean C. Rowan October 02, 2012 at 03:37 PM
I'm viewing, but there's no sound. Are others hearing the conference?
yourmom October 02, 2012 at 03:38 PM
there is no sound
AlbanyResident October 02, 2012 at 03:39 PM
1. Yes, there will be grief counseling available at AHS today; announcements will be made during classes. 2. I can see the above live feed, but I can't hear anything. Is that the case with everyone else?
AlbanyResident October 02, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Sound is working now, thank you.
Dean C. Rowan October 02, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Sound is now live.
Jim Kirkpatrick October 02, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Thanks for the live feed. Unfortunately, the live stream did not come through to my home in it's entirety. Please upload the recorded video. Thanks.
Jim Kirkpatrick October 02, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Current feed/stream rebroadcast is very good. 0940. Thanks Patch
Analisa Harangozo (Editor) October 02, 2012 at 04:43 PM
My apologies for the technical issues regarding the beginning of the video feed. It may have been caused by my not-so-great reception. I will have the recorded video up soon.
That Kid's Mom October 02, 2012 at 04:46 PM
I received an email and a robocall from AMS at 8:30 this morning, after school had begun, that school would be let out at lunchtime today. The email stated there would be counseling services available and supervision for students who choose to stay after lunch. For those of us who work, this email went out too late for us to give our kids instructions on what to do. What is AMS thinking? Most kids at that age are not going to choose to stay! Hundreds of grieving and non-grieving students set out on the community at large with no supervision? Many parents won't even know their kids aren't in school. I feel this is very irresponsible of the school. I trust them to supervise my kid and keep him safe during the school day while I am at work. Why didn't they send out the information earlier?
Alex Molochko October 02, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Thank you very much for posting this video. Pretty impressive that Patch's news coverage is better than every other major news media outlet.
yourmom October 02, 2012 at 05:08 PM
The social worker referenced "the girls and their families" who made these accusations. Emilie hasn't reported there was more than one alleged victim, can we get some elaboration?
L.A. Allison October 02, 2012 at 05:29 PM
I want to know how many students made allegations. I keep hearing that the arrest was the result of "...an allegation made by a student..." but the mental health specialist in the press video keeps referring to "students". It is an important distinction to be made for all those reading and formulating opinions whether there is a single allegation or a chorus of them.
That Kid's Mom October 02, 2012 at 05:35 PM
This article states that an email was sent out on Monday evening regarding the early dismissal. The email I received was dated October 2, at 8:31 AM. I received a robocall at the same time.
Analisa Harangozo (Editor) October 02, 2012 at 06:10 PM
During the conference, we again told that after-school childcare would be provided until 3:05 p.m. for students can't be picked up at 12:30 p.m.
Scott McAfee October 02, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Our email came in from the etree at 12:30 pm yesterday, and robocall at 8:35 am today.
That Kid's Mom October 02, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Analisa, they are providing child care but they are giving the children the choice whether to utilize it or not. I would have liked the option of making that choice myself. I see that at least one parent received an email yesterday about school ending early. I received an email yesterday at 3:30 but it didn't mention the early closure. Maybe the school can view this as a test of how well their emergency notification system is working and make some improvements!
Bea Ruberto October 02, 2012 at 07:07 PM
I got an email around 7:30pm Monday night on AMS e-tree, regarding schedule change for Tuesday. But if your etree setting is to condense all the messages, then you probably got the email on Tuesday morning.
Analisa Harangozo (Editor) October 02, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Police declined to release info regarding the gender and/or number of alleged victims, thus far. However, since the mental health specialist mentioned during this press conference that it was "girls" who made the accusations, we made note of it in the followup article: http://patch.com/A-yr51
AMS parent October 02, 2012 at 08:37 PM
http://photos.mercurynews.com/2012/10/02/remembering-james-izumizaki/#name here
Middle School parent October 03, 2012 at 02:49 AM
http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=LeoCnpdheUY

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