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Danvers

Speliotis on school safety panel

State Reprepresentative Ted Speliotis of Danvers will serve on Governor Deval Patrick’s new School Safety and Security Task Force.

The Danvers Democrat, now serving his 26th year on Beacon Hill, will represent House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo of Winthrop on the new panel.

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“I’m honored to represent the speaker on a task force that will look at such an important issue,” Speliotis said Tuesday.

Speliotis said he believes he was appointed because Danvers High was recently the scene of one of the state’s most horrific acts of school violence.

Colleen Ritzer of Andover, 24, a popular math teacher at the school, was killed on Oct. 22 in a second-floor bathroom at the school. Philip Chism, a 14-year-old freshman at the school, has been charged with first-degree murder as an adult, and was indicted as a youthful offender on charges of aggravated rape and armed robbery.

According to investigators, Chism put Ritzer’s body in a recycling bin before dumping it in woods behind the school on Cabot Road.

“That had to be a huge contributing factor to the speaker’s decision to have me represent him,” said Speliotis, chairman of the powerful House Committee on Bills in The Third Reading. “I think he recognizes what the school is dealing with. I hope to bring the town’s concerns, and its reaction to the [killing], to the panel.”

Speliotis said he is the only legislator north of Boston serving on the task force, which also will include representatives of education, public safety officials, health and human services, and other fields.

Speliotis said he expects the panel will look to develop a statewide policy for school safety and security.

“We’re really in the beginning stages,” Speliotis said. “I know our goal will be to make sure every student is safe and secure when they go to school.”

Kathy McCabe can be reached at katherine.mccabe@
globe.com
. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKMcCabe.

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