Early Wednesday morning, police arrested Albany Middle School teacher and coach James Izumizaki at his Albany home on a warrant related to committing lewd acts upon a child under 14.
Police said they are investigating recent reports that Izumizaki, 28, had an inappropriate relationship with a former student.
Izumizaki has deep roots in Albany; he went through Albany schools and was a player for Albany Little League when he was younger.
Izumizaki has been a sixth grade teacher and athletic coach at the middle school since 2008, Albany Unified School District Superintendent Marla Stephenson said late Wednesday afternoon. He was involved in volleyball, was the athletic coordinator and also was a co-teacher involved with a student leadership club that meets weekly during the school day.
According to the middle school website, Izumizaki is listed as the middle school athletic director, basketball coach and student council co-advisor.
Stephenson said she learned of the allegations Monday, then placed Izumizaki on administrative leave and alerted the Albany Police Department.
She said Izumizaki had been responsible for teaching two 30-student classes. He taught math, science and language arts.
"We remain absolutely committed to providing a safe, high-quality education at the middle school," she said. "This is an incredibly devastating situation for everyone involved."
Stephenson said school officials would reach out to parents, and that extra counseling resources would be available for students.
Just before 5 p.m. Wednesday, school officials sent a memo to parents about the situation, though they did not include information about the arrest. The email (subject line: "Important AMS Community Bulletin") included a memo entitled simply, "Re: James Izumizaki, 6th Teacher." It appears in full below:
The continuity, stability, and education of our children are the highest priority at AMS. Due to the uncertainty of the situation, we have decided to collapse the classroom and re-distribute the students among the other nine 6th grade classrooms. We feel confident that the education of your students will be best served by our dedicated 6th grade staff members.
Our goal is to begin the classes on Monday, October 1st. Students from the other 6th grade classrooms will not be re-arranged. P.E., Math, RSP, and other program enrollment will remain the same. Overall class sizes will still remain at or below the limit of 31.
In the meantime, we have an excellent substitute teacher in place for Thursday and Friday. Other 6th grade teachers are guiding the lessons provided to your children.
If you are a parent of a student in one of Mr. Izumizaki’s classes, we would like to invite you to a parents-only meeting on Thursday, September 27th at 5:00pm in the AMS library. Administrators and Teachers will be on hand to answer your questions. Childcare will be provided.
The memo was signed by Superintendent Stephenson, Principal Peter Parenti and vice principals Deborah Brill and David Neumann.
Stephenson and Albany Police Lt. Dan Adams said they did not have information about for how long the alleged lewd acts took place.
Adams said that, after the early-morning arrest, police turned Izumizaki over to the Alameda County sheriff's department, where he was being held with a bail of $100,000. Adams said he did not know if Izumizaki continued to be in custody late Wednesday afternoon.
The Alameda County sheriff's department listed Izumizaki as having been booked into custody at 8:17 p.m. He is set for arraignment at 2 p.m. on Friday at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland.
Police are "seeking information from individuals who may have information about this case, or about any inappropriate conduct or contact between James Izumizaki and minors (including former students, and players on teams that he has coached)," according to a statement related Wednesday by police.
"We would not be surprised if we get calls from local people or local students who know something about the case or involved parties," Adams added.
Adams said police hope community members will reach out to authorities if they have additional information. (The Albany Police Department Detectives Division can be reached at 510-528-5783.)
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