Slain Teacher Asked Student to Stay After for Math Help

Colleen Ritzer was worried Philip Chism wasn't ready for test, says student

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 24, 2013 6:51 PM CDT

(Newser) – The Massachusetts high school teacher murdered this week was trying to help her alleged killer prepare for an upcoming algebra test, a student tells the Boston Globe. Colleen Ritzer asked 14-year-old Philip Chism to stay after school on Tuesday, the day she was killed. “She saw him drawing during class and she just said to him, ‘I didn’t know you could draw,'" says a student in the class. “She just said, ‘Can you stay after with me?’ He just gave a nod. ... There was a test coming up, and she wanted to know if he had any questions on learning equations."

Another student says she saw the two of them in the classroom more than an hour after class ended, Ritzer standing by her computer and Chism sitting. "It just looked normal." Police still haven't speculated about a motive, notes AP. Chism has reportedly told police that he followed Ritzer into a bathroom and killed her with a box cutter. "He just presented himself to us like any other student would," says a Danvers High School official. "And that's what I think is so hard for the administration right now. You know, their hearts are breaking because they just didn't know he was in need, if he was in need."

Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer.
Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer.   (AP Photo/Courtesy of Dale Webster via the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune)
Philip Chism, 14, stands during his arraignment.
Philip Chism, 14, stands during his arraignment.   (AP Photo/Boston Herald, Patrick Whittemore)
Philip Chism, 14, stands during his arraignment.
Philip Chism, 14, stands during his arraignment.   (AP Photo/Boston Herald, Patrick Whittemore)
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