Local educators react to Massachusetts murder

Local educators react to Massachusetts murder

Investigators in Massachusetts on Wednesday were still trying to figure out what happened inside a high school Tuesday night. They believe a 14-year-old killed his teacher.

Philip Chism was first scheduled to appear in a closed courtroom for juveniles. But the charge against him is so serious, the Danvers High School student stood in open court like any other murder suspect.

"This is a terrible tragedy for Colleen Ritzer and the entire Danvers community," Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said.

Prosecutors said Chism beat and killed Colleen Ritzer--a 24-year-old high school math teacher. She was first reported missing to police just before 11:30 Tuesday night.

Officers found blood in a second-floor bathroom at the high school and later then discovered her body in the woods behind the building.

The tragedy has not changed any plans for Karin Davison, who is student teaching in the Tyler area.

"Not at all," she said. "It does not weigh heavily on my mind at all."

Davison is working with fifth graders and learning how to deal with most bad behavior.

"Sometimes they get off track just as we do as adults and we just remind them, 'oh this is what we're supposed to be doing' and that light bulb comes on like 'yeah, let me get back on task,'" Davison said.

"If we're trying to make a perfect society, we're not going to do that," Sylvan Learning Center Director Bill Martin said. "If we're trying to make school a perfect environment, it's not going to happen."

Martin said anything above and beyond normal student problems is a wild card.

"You cannot predict nor control behavior when mental illness is involved," he said. "When that is the case, the best thing to do is not be confrontational."

That's exactly what they teach during disaster drills at East Texas schools.

"We've got the plans in place, yes, so for me there's no risk that something's going to happen," Davison said.

Davison said her students have responded very well to the disaster training.


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