Classes resume at Danvers High School

Posted: 10/25/13 at 6:30 am EDT      Last Updated: 10/26/13 at 4:07 pm EDT

DANVERS, Mass. (WHDH) -- Extra security was on hand as students returned to classes at Danvers High School on Friday after the murder of math teacher Colleen Ritzer. 

The community tried to make it normal. Kids took the bus, walked and were dropped off by parents. But everyone knows this day is difficult.

“People are trying to move forward, but it was just once again devastating to see their faces,” said Brandon Mclean, student at Danvers High School.

Sources told 7News that the 14-year-old suspect, Philip Chism, put on gloves, followed his teacher into the bathroom and then punched her before stabbing her with a box cutter.

Sources also say shortly after the murder, a female student went to use the bathroom and encountered Chism in the hallway, who told her to go use another bathroom.

At Assumption College in Worcester where Ritzer graduated, they paused to remember a young woman who had passion for life.

“The pictures that you see of her, she was always smiling. Whenever she walked through the department, she had a huge smile on her face,” said Professor Cathy Stutz, Assumption College.

Back at Danvers High and through their pain, parents and students try to focus on better days ahead.

“We move forward as a community and get through it the best we can. This community has always been tainted, always will be, and we take it one day at a time and the trust that the teachers and these students have is unbelievable,” said Kelly Mclean, parent.

“The bathroom will not be open for the foreseeable future. The rest of the school will remain open,” said Chief Neil Ouellette of the Danvers Police Department.

Still, the students will have to walk by there.

Police were on hand as well as grief counselors. Students were stopping by Ritzer’s growing memorial on their way into class. Some students came to school wearing pink, Colleen Ritzer’s favorite color.

Some people have questioned if it's too soon to have the children return back to school. 7News asked the students that question and they all seemed to agree that school was where they wanted to be - with their friends and teachers. Those are the only people who can truly understand what they are going through.

Colleen Ritzer will be laid to rest Monday morning in her hometown of Andover.

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