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Supporting Grieving Schools

Supporting Grieving Schools

Teachers, counselors and administrators play an important role in the lives of children, and have many opportunities to help children after a death occurs. Schools should have a crisis response plan to rely upon in the event a student experiences a loss or there is a student death. In addition to the information in this Grief & Emotional Support section on how to support a child, the plan should consider the following:

  • How and when teachers will share information with their classes.
  • Educating students on how grief affects people, what their fellow classmate(s) may be experiencing and how they can help.
  • Consider the various religious and cultural backgrounds of the students and how that may impact the situation.
  • Special considerations for high-risk students.
  • Support for teachers in grief, including offering substitute teachers.
  • General information on how children and teens grieve and what behavior changes can be expected.
  • A policy on handling media inquiries and a designated spokesperson who can handle interviews, if appropriate.
  • Support for grieving students upon their return to class.
  • Professional counseling for students and faculty.
  • How the school will memorialize or remember the student who has died. Ideas for commemoration include planting a tree on school grounds, fundraising for a scholarship in honor of the student’s favorite activity, dedicating a page in the yearbook to the student, or holding a community memorial service.
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