Ads

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Colleen Ritzer killing: Mourning for Massachusetts teacher


Colleen Ritzer killing: Mourning for Massachusetts teacher

Parents and students hold candlelight vigil to at Danvers High School, on 23 Wednesday 2013Parents and students held a vigil at Danvers High School on Wednesday
A candlelight vigil has been held for a Massachusetts maths teacher allegedly murdered by a 14-year-old student, with mystery surrounding a motive.
Students and teachers in Danvers town remembered Colleen Ritzer, 24, as a supportive and enthusiastic teacher.
Phillip Chism, who was charged as an adult on Wednesday, was a new student who was described as quiet.
Prosecutors say an arrest was made based on statements by the suspect and evidence from school CCTV cameras.
Ritzer's body was found in the woods behind the high school, which is in a suburb of Boston.
The teacher had been stabbed with a box cutter, the Boston Globe reports citing an unnamed law enforcement official.
'Amazing, beautiful daughter'
Police have not publicly discussed a cause of death or any possible motive.
Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer seen in this undated photo provided by the family of RitzerColleen Ritzer reportedly lived in her family home with her younger siblings
Officials said Ritzer and the suspect knew each other from the school, but did not elaborate.
On Wednesday evening the Boston Red Sox held a moment of silence for Ritzer before the first game of the World Series, America's professional baseball championship.
Hundreds of people attended the vigil at the school's car park, wearing pink clothes or bows in tribute to Ritzer's favourite colour.
"She supported all of us," Courtney Arnoldy, 18, who was Ritzer's student, said. "We should be there to support her."
Ritzer reportedly lived in her family home with her younger brother and sister.
Her family said they were mourning the death of their "amazing, beautiful daughter and sister".
"Everyone that knew and loved Colleen knew of her passion for teaching and how she mentored each and every one of her students," the family said in a statement.
'Opposite of aggressive'
Ritzer was said to be friendly towards the school's students, many of whom were not much younger than her.
Philip Chism, 14, stands in Salem District Court in Boston on 23 October 2013Philip Chism was arraigned in Salem District Court on Wednesday
Her Twitter biography describes the maths teacher as "often too excited about the topics I'm teaching". She used the account to set homework for students.
Schools in Danvers were closed on Wednesday, though the high school was scheduled to reopen for two hours on Thursday for students to talk to counsellors and grief specialists.
The suspect's family and lawyer have not spoken to reporters.
The accused had moved to Massachusetts from the state of Tennessee before the start of the school year.
He was said to be a star player on the school soccer team. One student, Kyle Cahill, told the Associated Press news agency the suspect's absence had been noted at a team dinner on Tuesday night.
"We're all just a family. It just amazes me really," said Kyle. "He wasn't violent at all. He was really the opposite of aggressive."
Ritzer's death is the latest incident this week to send police scrambling to a US school:
  • On Wednesday an 11-year-old in the north-western state of Washington was charged with attempted murder after bringing 400 rounds of ammunition, a handgun and several knives to his school
  • A teacher was killed on Tuesday in Sparks, Nevada, by a 12-year-old boy who then turned the firearm on himself. Two other students were wounded in the shooting
A Gallup poll released on Wednesday suggested that 25% of US parents are concerned about their children being harmed while at school, making it one of their top crime concerns.
Parents and Danvers High School students hold a candlelight vigil to mourn the death of Colleen Ritzer in Danvers, Massachusetts, on 23 October 2013
Candlelight vigil to mourn the death of Colleen Ritzer in Danvers, Massachusetts, on 23 October 2013
Candlelight vigil to mourn the death of Colleen Ritzer in Danvers, Massachusetts, on 23 October 2013
Candles and teddy bears are placed at Danvers High School prior to a candlelight vigil to mourn the death of Colleen Ritzer, a 24-year-old math teacher at Danvers High School on 23 October 2013