Victim’s school chums pray in wake of tragedy
The James family appeared happy and did not show signs of domestic problems, said an official at the Kalihi school where Michael James Jr. was a third-grader.
Michael had attended St. John the Baptist Catholic School since kindergarten, said Arleen Domondon, school vice principal.
"He was a very bright, studious boy and energetic. He paid special attention to following directions and classroom rules," she said. "He liked to read."
He was attending summer session, but the school was not surprised when Michael failed to show up earlier this week. The family notified the school that they would be attending a family funeral in Alabama this week, Domondon said.
She felt "complete shock" after hearing that police found the family dead in their Mililani home Wednesday afternoon. Police said Michael James, 43, killed his wife Grineline "Elaine" James, 39, and his son before hanging himself.
Elaine James had been a supportive and involved parent. She was an adviser for the school newsletter and yearbook, the secretary of the Parent-Teachers Guild, a homeroom mother and a liaison for the school, sending news to the Hawaii Catholic Herald.
"She was a very supportive mother," Domondon said. "She was well organized, creative. She offered her help many times at anything the school needed."
When the family moved into their Mililani home, James invited several people to her housewarming, she recalled.
And Michael James was just as supportive.
"Michael, he was always alongside Elaine. Whatever she was involved in, he was right there with her," Domondon said.
St. John has only one class in each grade level, and Michael Jr. had friends in several different grades, she said.
Staff members talked about Michael's death with children who asked questions and affirmed what they saw on television. The teacher in his class held a prayer.
The school is arranging for counselors to help the students next week and will plan other ways to help the school community.
"We miss them, and we just pray for them and their families," Domondon said.