, Gloucester, MA

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October 24, 2013

'Where does the anger come from?'

DANVERS — Most children in this stunned town will return to classes, today but Danvers High School will remain closed as the community deals with the loss of a popular young teacher and the arrest of a student charged with her murder.

“Although classroom instruction will continue,” Superintendent Lisa Dana said in a message to parents, “I anticipate that the next few days will be particularly difficult.”

Danvers High will be open to students and families from 10 a.m. to noon today for those wishing to see a counselor or grief specialist. There will be an informational meeting for high school parents at 6:30 p.m. in the field house. The high school will reopen for classes on Friday.

Dana would not take calls from a reporter.

Danvers Town Manager Wayne Marquis said Wednesday the events have been overwhelming.

”You process it one small step at a time,” he said. “The enormity of it you can’t swallow all at once.”

Marquis said the town has a strong group of school officials. At present, the focus is on people, he said, starting with the family of the victim, math teacher Colleen Ritzer, 24, of Andover, then moving out to students and parents.

Administrators met with the high school staff yesterday at the Smith School to provide what information they had, to give staff an opportunity to process what happened, and to be with one another. Dana and Susan Ambrozavitch, who is both the high school principal and assistant superintendent, did a good job speaking with staff, Marquis said, and counselors were on hand.

Students, too, were reeling.

Danvers High senior Colin Butler woke to the news from his friends Wednesday morning that school was canceled because his favorite math teacher had been killed — allegedly by a 14-year-old student Butler passed by every day in the corridor.

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