State Rep. Ted Speliotis of Danvers will serve on Gov. 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.
“I’m honored to represent the speaker on a task force that will look at such an important issue,” Speliotis said in an interview on Tuesday.
Speliotis 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, 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, is charged with the crime. Chism is also accused of raping Ritzer, and putting her 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 (incident) to the panel.”
Chism , who is being tried as an adult, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, aggravated rape and armed robbery during his arraignment on Dec. 4 in Salem Superior Court.
He is due to back in court on Jan. 30 for a pre-trial hearing, according to the Essex District Attorney’s office.
Speliotis said he is the only legislator North of Boston serving on the task force, which will also include representatives of education, health and human services and other areas.
The task force has yet to meet, but 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.”
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