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Albany Teacher's Death, Possible Suicide, Announced by School District Following 'Lewd Act' Arrest

The Albany Unified School District released the following statement at 3:14 p.m. Monday. Students and parents react.

UPDATE, 5:30 p.m.

Albany Middle School sixth grade teacher James Izumizaki was found dead in his car Monday, in the Via Alamitos area of San Lorenzo, of an apparent suicide.

Izumizaki, 28, had been arrested last Wednesday in Albany on suspicion of committing a lewd act with a former student.

Alameda County sheriff's department spokesman Sgt. James Nelson said Monday that officers received a call sometime after 10 in the morning from a member of the deceased man's family who found Izumizaki in his car.

Nelson said the death was an apparent suicide but offered no specifics about the means in deference to the feelings of the family.

Izumizaki had been tentatively scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment October 24. 

His arrest had shocked residents of Albany where the 28-year-old was a popular teacher.

Ben Chenin, 15, said "Mr. I" gave his life some structure following the divorce of his parents. "He was like a big brother. He was one of the greatest influences on my life—and he still is." 

Chenin's mother, Mary Ellen Azada, said she was struggling to manage the tension between being sensitive to the needs of both Izumizaki's family and the family of the alleged victim in the accusations against him.

Original post, 3:35 p.m. 

The Albany Unified School District released the following statement at 3:14 p.m. Monday. It appears below in full. 

Albany Unified School District reports with great sadness that according to Albany Police Department, Albany Middle School 6th grade teacher James Izumizaki passed away. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the death as a possible suicide. 

Albany Unified School District sent the following statement to families at 3:15 p.m. by auto-dialer, email, and by e-tree.

“This is an important message from Albany Unified School District with very sensitive information. It is with great sadness that we inform you that according to Albany Police Department, Albany Middle School 6th grade teacher James Izumizaki passed away. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the death as a possible suicide. We have no other information at this time.  Students have not been informed by our staff.  We will inform the students Tuesday, October 2nd when mental health personnel will be available on site.”

Superintendent Marla Stephenson will hold a PRESS CONFERENCE Tuesday,
October 2nd at 8:30 a.m. at Albany Unified School District, 1051
Monroe Street, Albany.

Read more about this story here.

Concerned Resident October 05, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Thank you for providing your experience of the reluctance to come forward because of the esteem in which others hold the abuser. It is tough to go against the grain, especially at a young age. Bravo to you, and for sharing the need to provide support and respect to the voices that speak out when misdeeds are done.
Meg October 12, 2012 at 01:58 AM
amen.
Dept. of Misinformation October 12, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Hmm, haven't Patched for a while, this thread still going huh? popular guy. Glad the memorial was nixed after a day, that was kinda weird. Google "completely wrong"
Dept. of Misinformation October 12, 2012 at 02:57 AM
So the dude killed himself because he was innocent?? what!!!? This is not an anomaly, it happens all the time, teacher like this do things like this, good teachers, teachers that teach in the same community they were raised, it happens, let it go.
concerned parent October 26, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Dear Agi Tator, I would like to commend you on figuring out that both MQ and myself are the same person!!!<--- does this look familiar?? double and triple marks just for you because you're a genius and only a true genius could have figured that out!!<<---Oh look' I did it again.....I can't help myself!! One thing is for sure: You have no clue what you are talking about!! I am definately not MQ nor am I the same person!! If it has'nt passed thru you're small brain by now, you should take into concideration that more than 1 person in this world can share the same views!! I know that this is coming as a shock to you and you probably have lived most of your pathetic existence thinking that you know it all, but this time I can assure you that you don't know as much as you think you do! Next time do yourself a favor and don't try to figure me out because I can guarantee that even though I don't know it all...I do know more this time than you do!!

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