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Community Stunned by Killing of Young Teacher

DANVERS, Mass. (AP) - One student calls her "the nicest teacher anyone could ever have."
   
Students at Danvers High School in Massachusetts say they're stunned by the killing of 24-year-old math teacher Colleen Ritzer, whose body was found in the woods behind the school early today. Investigators located her body after first discovering blood in a second-floor school bathroom.
   
Authorities have charged a 14-year-old student at the school with murder. Philip Chism is described by classmates as soft-spoken and pleasant. A teammate on the school's soccer team says he "wasn't violent at all."
   
He was ordered held without bail after his appearance today in adult court.
   
One 17-year-old who was a student in Ritzer's geometry class last year says she was a warm, welcoming person who would stand outside her classroom and say hello to students she didn't teach. Chris Weimert says, "She always had a warm smile on her face."
   
Another student says kids related to the young teacher, who liked to wear jeans and boots like the students wore.
   
Ritzer had a Twitter account where she gave homework assignments, encouraged students and described herself as a "math teacher often too excited about the topics I'm teaching."
   
All public schools in Danvers, 20 miles north of Boston, were closed today.
 

 

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