SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

October 25, 2013

After tragedy, community unites to heal

Principal calls for students to return to Danvers High

(Continued)

“We don’t even know where this came from,” said Ambrozavitch. “Our staff is devastated.” She described how teachers and students comforted each other during Wednesday’s vigil. Today was to be blue and white day in honor of Ritzer, she said.

Describing a “horrific event,” Ambrozavitch asked the gathering to remember that a family lost a daughter, sister and “a mom lost a son.” She urged people “not to demonize the child. We don’t know all the facts.” With teen students, she added, it’s important to keep emotions in check.

Ambrozavitch was measured in a lengthy presentation, faltering only once before asking, “Please forgive me. I’m really nervous.”

Parents filled a row of basketball bleachers along an entire wall of the school field house as well as three rows of folding chairs along both baselines and halfway up the opposite sideline. At times there were tears as they heard the principal concede of the students, “I know it will be difficult to walk into the building. As it was for many of us.”

Grief counseling will be available. Faculty and administrators were to meet kids out front as they arrived this morning. Wary parents were encouraged to come with their kids if they felt it necessary. If students balk at attending, “We will come to your house and talk to your child.”

The school is to have truncated periods to allow kids to visit with each one of their weekly classes. “We thought it was important that they see every teacher,” Ambrozavitch said.

“The next thing I’m going to talk about is more difficult,” she said before explaining that the second floor bathroom, where Ritzer was said to have been attacked, was going to be off-limits. Students will, however, be encouraged to visit her class “and just sit there,” while math teachers from the current faculty, familiar faces for the kids, will teach Ritzer’s students.

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