Posted By Jenny Aanderud,
Friday, January 22, 2016
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Bad things do happen. In this edition of Simply Solid Strategies we want to highlight two resources for assistance with the human side of hard times--taking care of students. Both resources are easily accessible and full of practical suggestions.
The National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement at the University of Southern California offers expert guidelines for responding to the death of a student or member of the school's staff, as well as for responding to a death by suicide, and for ways to help grieving students.
The website also offers samples of those letters or email messages that we don't have much experience writing: how to notify staff about a tragedy, what to tell the parent community about a death (different wordings for different causes), and what/how to tell students.
The website also offers a video on how educators can help grieving students: this might be a worthwhile professional development experience.
Grieving Students is a collaborative venture supported by Scholastic Magazine. As the name suggests, its focus is on how administrators and counselors--but especially teachers--can best support students who have lost a loved one.
A series of short, nicely done videos (they combine expert opinion and personal reflections from those who have "been there") focus on key topics:
* Why you should reach out to grieving students; one answer: it helps diminish a feeling of isolation
* The most comfortable way(s) to reach out to students who might need support
* What not to say to students who have lost loved ones (one example: "I know how you feel")
* How to provide support over time: the importance of availability, flexibility, and other considerations
The Grieving Students website also has video clips of simulated encounters to help educators see how an interaction with a student might take place.
Dougy Center Resources
Two additional print resources are available through CSEE, from the internationally respected Dougy Center for Grieving Children and Families: Helping the Grieving Student and When Death Impacts Your School.
We highly recommend these titles as books that every school should have on a shelf, even if the hope is that they are never needed. (The Dougy Center
also offers a number of helpful podcasts and tipsheets.)