The U.S. Department of Education today announced a nearly $50,000 grant to Danvers High School, where 24-year-old math teacher Colleen Ritzer was murdered, allegedly by one of her students.
According to federal officials, the funding is to help with ongoing recovery efforts following the high profile killing, which prosectors say was carried out by 14-year-old Philip Chism.
The money will help provide enhanced security for after-school hours, substitute teachers who are covering for teachers still in distress, opening after-school library hours so that teachers can provide extra help for students in a more public space near the office, and additional mental-health services to students, staff and others who are still grieving.
The immediate services grant is being made through the Department’s Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) program and will be administered by the Office of Safe and Healthy Students.
“In light of this senseless tragedy, we want to provide support to the students, school staff and community of Danvers who were impacted by the loss of this young teacher,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “These grants will help provide the necessary services needed to restore the learning environment.”
The town of Danvers is located approximately 20 miles from Boston. On Oct. 22, Ritzer was slashed on the second floor of the school building, and dragged to the woods nearby. Authorities later said she had been sexually assaulted and robbed.
For two days following the incident, the school was designated a crime scene and closed.
The Department’s Project SERV grants provide funding for school districts, colleges and universities that have experienced a significant traumatic event and need resources to respond, recover, and re-establish safe environments for students. The Office of Safe and Healthy Students has awarded more than $33.7 million through 111 grants, including Danvers, since the program began in 2001.