Vance Ricks, a Philosophy professor, shares his experience of finding out of his current students died. His blog post details the cold truth enclosed in a short email. Professor Ricks is blunt when he explains how he never fully prepared himself that students may pass away, especially current ones during the year. I like how honest and candid his post is, mostly because it’s a reality we educators hope never to face.
GriefSpeaks.com dedicates a section to this page on how to compose an appropriate letter to inform parents, staff, and faculty members about the loss of a student. It details that the letter should provide an overview of how the teacher and school will provide support inside the classroom to students. I like the sample parent letter, mostly because it’s easy to personalize for your classroom.
This HubPages post, “Should Teachers Discuss Death in the Classroom,” (2012) offers appropriate times and ways to discuss death in the classroom. There is also an age-guided table for beliefs about death, which can help teachers to understand how students may receive information about this subject. I found the comment section most interesting, especially because this post is met with mixed reviews.
Students at Castro Valley High School created this video in 2014 to address the dangers of drunk driving in high school. It chronicles a drunk driving accident. These student actors took it to the next level by actually working with Eden Medical Center and the California Highway Patrol to introduce the audience to real people who deal with these issues. This has an invaluable lesson for teachers to share with students, so everyone can partner in the prevention of drunk driving deaths.
CompassionateFriends.org shares this page, “Suggestions for Teachers and School Counselors,” to help guide educators in leading the grieving process at the classroom level. The page brings up two good points; one, it discusses “foreign mourners,” as fellow classmates, and two, how to establish a mini-support group for the late student’s friends. I also liked how the page breaks down grief as displayed in the classroom in different age brackets.
Katy Sewall hosts this podcast to bring attention to the Seattle Interagency Academy, who suffered the loss of six students—to suicide or murder— inside of six months. Principal Kaaren Andrews tells what it’s like to experience this amount of loss in her student body. The highlight of this podcast is the idea of establishing a trauma-sensitive environment, but also a support network that is impenetrable through a strength-based approach.
Cindy Long’s article, “Lessons on Loss,” takes on the story of 16-year-old Melody Ross, who was caught in the crossfire of rival gangs. Long dives into the community of Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, California, where several students and faculty members share their observations of the early days following her passing. This touching story shows how the school grieves as a whole, and shares a heartfelt good-bye to Melody.
TherapistAid.com offers this free printable worksheet details the five stages of grief as defined by Kübler -Ross. It is a single page, so it is direct and easy to understand. TherapistAid.com actually recommends using this worksheet as an educational piece. I like how you can get both English and Spanish versions of this worksheet, too.
This 66-page PDF book by SchoolCounselor.org covers nearly every aspect of grief in the school setting. It provides teachers the tools, information, and even constructive counseling practices to help students cope. The table of contents is very specific, so if you need to find a particular subject about coping with a student’s passing, you can locate it quite easily.