Chapter 4: Planning for when a student is dying
“We sent the emails out to let parents know what had happened in order to assist them in supporting and answering questions when the kids came home. What I didn’t expect was all the calls that came in that afternoon as a result”. – Vice Principal
Parents in your school community should be informed of a student’s death as quickly as possible. This will prepare them to support their children at home. Email or phone calls are preferable for initial contact because letters take longer or may not be received. Mark the email as “important” or “urgent”. However, letters can be sent home in addition to email and phone contact.
Click the arrows below to view some suggestions on informing and communicating with the parents and families of the other students.
Your communication with parents should contain the same information as is provided to their children and your staff (i.e., name of student, date of death, cause of death).
Let parents know that teachers have shared or will be sharing these details with students in their classrooms.
Parents may benefit from the suggestion of a resource or two on how to support grieving children/youth.
Consider holding a parent meeting in an evening to share information and resources about grief and how to support kids. Any issues or questions can be discussed.
You may also want to send out resource information to parents by email.
See also:KidsGrief.ca for additional information about supporting grieving children.
For additional considerations, including student belongings, see Chapter 5 - Other considerations after student death in Module 3—Support for Student Deaths.