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December 16, 2013

Danvers High gets $50K grant after teacher slaying

DANVERS, Mass. (AP) — Danvers High School will get nearly $50,000 in federal funds to help recover from the slaying of a popular teacher in October, the U.S. Department of Education announced today.

Student Philip Chism is charged in the Oct. 22 death of 24-year-old Colleen Ritzer, of Andover, whose body was found in woods near the school with her throat slit and a note reading, "I hate you all."

Police have not released a motive. Chism, 14, had recently moved to Massachusetts from Clarksville, Tenn. He is being held without bail after pleading not guilty to murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery charges.

Students told police that Chism stayed after school the day Ritzer was killed. One student who had also stayed to receive extra help that day said Chism appeared to become upset when Ritzer started talking about Tennessee.

The grant will help provide enhanced security after school and also keep the library open so teachers have a more public place near the school's office to provide extra help for students.

It will also help pay for substitute teachers covering for teachers who are in distress and provide additional mental health services to students, staff and others who are still grieving.

The funding is through the Project School Emergency Response to Violence program, which provides grants to school districts, colleges and universities that have experienced traumatic events and need resources to recover.

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