There are several different populations to take into consideration when addressing death in a school. Making sure to adequately prepare the students, parents, and teachers is important and requires different approaches for each group.
- Be sure to speak with the grieving student before they return
Ask what the affected student would like others to know about so as to set appropriate boundaries. Understanding their comfortability around conversations about funerals preparations, the death, ect. can help the parents and teachers accommodate the student better.
- Identify any potential triggers for the student
Finding out which words, situations, or topics may cause an emotional reaction in the student can help all parties involved with the preparation for returning to a classroom environment.
- List spaces the student can go for help
Connecting your student with a counselor at school or other safe spaces can ensure the student knows where to turn to express feelings of grief.
- Listen to your child’s feelings
Understanding your child’s feelings, fears, and comfortabilities can help them better acclimate to their surroundings after loss.
- Be flexible
There is no set schedule for grieving and every person deals with loss in different ways, particularly children. Be willing to adapt to your child’s needs as they go back to their normal routine.
For staff and teachers:
- Notify the class of the student’s situation
Informing the student’s peers prior to their return can help to avoid hard conversations with classmates.
- Discuss how the class can help the student
Many students, particularly at a young age, might not understand how to help and communicate with a student who is grieving a loss. By giving them some phrases or tips for what to do in situations, you can help them support the student.
For further help, visit these pages:
The National Center for Grieving Families