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November 19, 2013

School board honors memory of Ritzer

DANVERS — The School Committee held a moment of silence to honor the memory of math teacher Colleen Ritzer at its first meeting since the Oct. 22 tragedy.

“The world, for better or worse, is sometimes a violent and unfair place,” said School Committee Chairman Eric Crane at the start of last night’s meeting. “As wonderful a community as Danvers is, we are not immune from the horror that sometimes inserts itself into our world.”

Crane thanked the school administration for its response.

“I also want to thank our students for the remarkable grace that they showed and the support they gave to one another. You have proven yourselves a remarkable group of young people,” Crane said.

Crane’s brief statement coincided with one issued on behalf of the committee and unanimously approved last night.

“When each of us ran for School Committee, it never crossed our minds that we would ever have to react to the alleged murder of one of our teachers in one of our schools. It was as unthinkable then as it is now,” reads part of a statement sent by School Committee member David Thomson.

“As we try to move on from this horrific event,” the statement continues, “what will remain with us is how our schools, the town of Danvers, surrounding communities and the nation came together with one goal — comforting and supporting those most directly affected. Our deepest sympathies go out to the Ritzer family, Colleen’s friends, colleagues and students. By all accounts, she was an amazing teacher who inspired those in and out of her class with a love of learning, positive attitude and infectious smile.”

Prosecutors have charged one of her freshman students, Philip Chism, 14, of Danvers with the murder of the 24-year-old math teacher from Andover. Chism has pleaded not guilty and was ordered held without bail.

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