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."
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