School employees mourn slain colleagues

MEA members are mourning the loss of two colleagues who were murdered in separate tragedies last week.

Michael Landsberry, 45, a middle-school math teacher in Sparks, Nev., died last Monday while protecting his students from a school shooter. The 12-year-old assailant shot and killed Landsberry before turning the gun on himself.

Colleen Ritzer, a 24-year-old math teacher at Danvers High School in Danvers, Mass., was murdered the following day in a school restroom, according to police. A 14-year-old student of Ritzer’s has been charged with her murder.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with their families, friends and students,” National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel said of Landsberry and Ritzer.

“We will probably never know all the factors that accumulate to unleash this kind of violence, but we must commit to doing all we can to make sure students and educators are safe in our schools,” Van Roekel said. “We must work on preventing gun violence, bullying prevention and greater access to mental health services, so that educators and families can identify problems and intervene before it’s too late.”

NEA has set up websites for people to send messages of support to the Sparks and Danvers communities.

Click here to leave a message for the people of Sparks.

Click here to leave a message for those in Danvers.