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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