, Salem, MA

Local News

October 25, 2013

Student accused in teacher's death stayed after class, classmate says


Kaitlyn Nash, 16, said students who knew and loved Ritzer were still trying to make sense of what happened. She said she found it particularly frightening that she had theater rehearsal Tuesday afternoon and was at the school when authorities believe Ritzer was killed.

”It’s just terrifying,” she said. “I know a lot of people don’t want to go back to school at this point. I know we have to, and we just need to get on with.”

A memorial to Ritzer continued to grow yesterday with flowers, candles, cards and stuffed animals. Many signs included inspirational sayings and quotes from the popular math teacher. One poster read: “Parallel lines have so much in common. It’s a shame they’ll never meet.”

An electronic sign also displayed an inspirational saying by pop artist Taylor Swift that Ritzer liked to tell students: “No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”

Ritzer was described as an enthusiastic, caring teacher who stood outside her classroom and said hello to all students, whether they were in her classes or not.

”She was very approachable,” Rhaddaoui said. “She was always smiling. She always made the best of every situation.”

Ritzer’s family released a statement yesterday, asking the media to respect their privacy as they make arrangements “to celebrate Colleen’s vibrant life.”

Monahan said the district attorney’s office will present its case to a grand jury, which will determine whether to indict Chism on the murder charge. The case would then be moved to Superior Court.

Chism appeared briefly in Salem District Court Wednesday for arraignment on a murder charge and was ordered held without bail at Middleton Jail.

Ritzer was the second teacher allegedly killed by a student in the U.S. this week. A Sparks, Nev., middle school teacher was shot Monday, allegedly by a 12-year-old student.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or Material from the Associated Press was used in the report, and staff writers Tom Dalton and Jonathan Phelps contributed to this report.




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