Loss and the School Community

The death of a member of the school community—a student, teacher, or other staff member—can have a profound impact on the entire school. Teachers and other staff members will have extra responsibilities to provide students with information and support, and to monitor their reactions and adjustment. Read the articles below to learn how educators can help members of school communities at times of loss.

NEW ARTICLE: Helping Educators Help Grieving Children 
Almost 70% of teachers say that they had at least one grieving student in their classroom in the past year. The American Federation of Teachers and the New York Life Foundation conducted a survey to identify how to help teachers support grieving children. Read more.

When an Entire School Is Affected: Goals of Support 
Excerpted from The Grieving Student: A Teacher's Guide, by David Schonfeld, M.D., and Marcia Quackenbush, M.S., M.F.T., C.H.E.S. 
It is important to establish goals of support and guidelines for setting up a system for offering students and staff support after a school crisis. Read more.

Addressing the Loss of a School Community Member: Making Sure All
Students Are Informed

Excerpted from The Grieving Student: A Teacher's Guide, by David Schonfeld, M.D., and Marcia Quackenbush, M.S., M.F.T., C.H.E.S.
Considerations, suggestions, and solutions for supporting students and staff when there is a death in the school community. Read more.

Loss and the School Community: Guidelines for Responding to the Death of a Student or School Staff Member
From the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement
These guidelines are designed to help school administrators, teachers, and crisis team members respond to the needs of students and staff after a loss has impacted the school environment. Read more.

Paying Tribute to Deceased School Community Members (PDF)
From the Emergency Response and Crisis Management (ERCM) Technical Assistance Center, U.S. Department of Education
Three high school students are hit by a drunk driver and killed on their way home from prom. Should the school erect a permanent memorial to them? A fifth-grade student drowns in a lake during the summer. Should the school plan to release 100 balloons in remembrance? Read more.

Memorialization and Commemoration: Helping Students Plan a Positive Activity
Teachers, school counselors, or other school staff can help children plan an activity that makes sense for students. A good start is engaging them in a discussion that explores their feelings and gives direction to their plans. Read more.

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