By Brittany Hanson
Garden Grove Journal
Eager students, parents, teachers, coaches and alumni spilled out into the fifth floor hall of the Garden Grove Unified School District building on Tuesday. Many of the students wore what looked like the election year image T-shirt for the Obama campaign.
A red, white and blue headshot over the word “strength.” But the face on the shirts was of La Quinta High School teacher, volleyball coach and Associated Student Body Advisor Larry James.
Who is Larry James and what is he doing on a T-shirt?
According to Alan Trudell, board members and the district are not allowed to disclose or comment on personnel issues.
What has been said by many students and friends of James, is that the trouble stems from possible disciplinary action against him by the GGUSD. This is, according to La Quinta students, alumni and James’ co-workers, in relation to the annual initiation of ASB students to the ASB staff.
As a part of annual La Quinta ASB initiation, old ASB staff mock-kidnaps, with parental permission, the new ASB officers and takes them to an early morning pancake breakfast.
In this most recent case, James was not present to supervise the pancake breakfast kidnapping; his defenders say he had not been informed of the event happening that day.
James is not available for comment on the situation.
An emotional outpouring came from students and La Quinta staff saying that the spirit of the school was very much a result of James’ dedication to his students and the school itself.
Vi Do, an alumnus, spoke to the school board saying that the help that she received from James while a high school student was immeasurably important in her professional life now. She said that not only was he encouraging, but was there for her and others and instilled in his students an attitude to achieve.
“I think that every child should come away from public education with that mentality, to succeed,” said Do.
James Perry, a friend and former co-worker at La Quinta, said that he looked up to James.
Perry said that while he (Perry) had been named the California Teacher of the Year and California Athletic Director of the Year he found James to be an educator worth emulating.
“I wish I was half the teacher Larry James is; I wish I was half the man Larry James is,” said Perry.