General Crime

* Albany Sixth-Grade Teacher James Izumizaki Arrested For Alleged Lewd Contact With Former Underage Student

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A sixth-grade teacher was arrested Wednesday morning in Albany on suspicion of performing a lewd act with a child under 14, police said. Police arrested James Izumizaki, 28, at his Albany home shortly after 7 a.m. The arrest warrant was the result of an investigation into reports that Izumizaki, who has been employed as a teacher and coach at Albany Middle School for several years, had an inappropriate relationship with a former student, according to police. Izumizaki was booked into Alameda County Jail and was being held on $100,000 bail. Albany Unified School District Superintendent Marla Stephenson said at a media briefing this morning that Izumizaki began working for the district in 2007 as a long-term substitute teacher.

He was hired as a sixth-grade teacher in 2008. Stephenson said Izumizaki was very involved in the school, participating in a student government program and coaching seventh-grade volleyball and eighth-grade boys’ basketball. Izumizaki’s Facebook page lists several current Albany Middle School students as among his social networking contacts. Stephenson said she learned of the alleged misconduct on Monday, and that the school district contacted Child Protective Services and Albany police. “At that point in time, I felt that there was enough information to put that teacher on leave,” she said. Izumizaki was placed on leave that afternoon.

When she learned Wednesday that Izumizaki had been arrested, Stephenson said she went to the middle school, where she met with staff and they “talked about the importance of maintaining the physical and emotional safety of our students.” She said counselors are available at all of the district’s campuses. “We’re really cognizant of wanting to protect all of our students,” she said. A meeting will be held at Albany Middle School at 5 p.m. today for the parents of Izumizaki’s students, Stephenson said. “Parents are going to want to be assured their kids are safe, and they want to make sure there is educational continuity for their child,” she said. The superintendent said she will attempt to answer parents’ questions about Izumizaki’s arrest and plans to incorporate his students into the school’s other sixth-grade classes.

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