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Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss
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Wednesday’s Child Goes to School: Supporting Students Affected by Loss

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Students come to school grieving personally significant losses associated with various life events, and this grief can negatively impact their learning and mental health. Educators can play critical …

Students come to school grieving personally significant losses associated with various life events, and this grief can negatively impact their learning and mental health. Educators can play critical roles in assisting loss-affected students. Participants will become acquainted with possible support approaches and materials to use in their work with students. v.2

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  • 1. Wednesday’s Child Goes to School:Supporting Students Affected by Loss Gary W. Mauk, Ph.D., NCSP and M. Bruce Garris, B.A. School of Education Department of Professional Leadership The University of North Carolina at Pembroke Monday, March 14, 2011 2011 Annual Conference of the North Carolina Middle School Association
  • 2. “Children come to school each day with more thantheir lunch and backpack. They bring life factors that shapetheir learning and development. These influences rangefrom family issues and health and culture to behavior,learning style, and abilities. Virtually all are related tomental health” (Whelley, Cash, & Bryson, 2004, p. S5-25). Accordingly, along with their backpacks, early adolescents often bring to middle school grief associated with personally significant losses from various expected and unexpected causes. This presentation will discuss the nature and impact of loss, as well as ways that caring schools and educators can be critical harbors of support for grieving students’ healthy development.Reference: Whelley, P., Cash, R. E., & Bryson, D. (2004). Children’s mental health: Informationfor educators. In A. S. Canter, L. Z. Paige, M. D. Roth, I. Romero, & S. A. Carroll (Eds.), Helpingchildren at home and school II: Handouts for families and educators (pp. S5-25 – S5-28).Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.
  • 3. Types of School/District EventsHigher • Student deaths • Staff deaths General Probability of Event • Accidents (students hit by cars, bus accidents, car accidents, swimming, etc.) • Violence in schools or community (assaults, murders, drive-by shooting in community, etc.) • Suicides • Natural disasters (tornado, earthquake, wildfire, hurricane, etc.)Lower • School shootings Source: Saiz, C., & Schneider, T. (2006, December 7). Recovery. Presentation at the Fiscal Year 2006 Emergency Response and Crisis Management (ERCM) Initial Grantee Meeting, San Antonio, TX.
  • 4. “As educators, we need to broaden our lessons of learning beyond the textbooks and recognize that grief is part of everyone’s life learning process. It is times like these that will demand our flexibility, strength, and understanding as a teacher and a friend…Growth and healing can occur if we first recognize the grief and then act upon it in positive and helpful ways” (Greene, 2003, p. 11).Source: Greene, B. (2003). Grief in the classroom: Part II. Bereavement Magazine, 17(6), 10–11.
  • 5. It is highly likely you see agrieving child almost every day,even if you don’t see any childrengrieving. – Dr. David Schonfeld, Executive Director National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement
  • 6. An Early Adolescent’s Behavior Is an Iceberg THE TIP BEHAVIOR Youth’s Problem or Crisis Youth’s Personality & Mental Health Peer SO MUCH IS Culture HIDDEN BELOW School and Community Environment Child Development and Family Influences
  • 7. “The goal of helping children of all agesto cope with death is to promote theircompetence, facilitate their ability to cope,and recognize that children are activeparticipants in their lives” (Silverman, 2000, p. 42). Source: Silverman, P. (2000). Never too young to know: Death in children’s lives. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • 8. Families and Schools Together “Family is the first source of support for a child‟smental health. However, the increased stress andfracturing of life today makes it imperative that schoolspartner with parents to help children thrive. Indeed,schools are excellent places to promote good mentalhealth. Children spend a significant amount of timethere, and, as trained caring adults, educators havethe opportunity to observe and address their needs”(Whelley et al., 2004, p. S5-25).Reference: Whelley, P., Cash, R. E., & Bryson, D. (2004). Children’s mental health: Informationfor educators. In A. S. Canter, L. Z. Paige, M. D. Roth, I. Romero, & S. A. Carroll (Eds.), Helpingchildren at home and school II: Handouts for families and educators (pp. S5-25 – S5-28).Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.
  • 9. ―Students do not leave theirgrief at the schoolhouse door.‖ –– Dr. Martha D. Oates Death in the School Community (1993, p. 94)
  • 10. “School is one important place todeal with feelings about death ratherthan to hide such feelings” (Meyers &Pitt, 1976, pp. 563–564). Source: Meyers, J., & Pitt, N. W. (1976). A consultation approach to help a school cope with the bereavement process. Professional Psychology, 7(4), 559–564.
  • 11. Loss, Grief, and Middle School Students in North Carolina Consistent with a search of the ERIC database I conductedmore than a decade ago while conducting a literature review for achapter I was writing, only one North Carolina-based researchstudy appears to be available regarding a description of loss eventsand grief among middle school students in one large school system. Dr. J. Conrad Glass, professor emeritus at North CarolinaState University, published a 1991 article entitled, Death, Loss, andGrief among Middle School Children: Implications for the SchoolCounselor, based on a survey he conducted in one large schoolsystem in North Carolina. In that article, he reported that, among the eight classes (211students) in four middle schools in the North Carolina-based study(one large , 41% of middle school students had been personallyinvolved with death within the past year (Glass, 1991).Source: Glass, J. C. (1991). Death, loss, and grief among middle school children: Implicationsfor the school counselor. Elementary School Guidance and Counseling, 26(2), 139–148.
  • 12. Loss, Grief, and Middle School Students in North Carolina When the 211 middle school students were asked to indicatedall losses (other than death) that they had experienced within the pastyear, Dr. Glass found the following: Moved = 55%; Lost a best friend = 53%; Changed schools = 52%; Lost a boyfriend/girlfriend = 50%; and Experienced the separation or divorce of their parents = 28%. When Dr. Glass asked, “Of the losses you have experienced(including death), which one(s) would you consider to have had the mostimpact on your life?” the students could list as many as threeresponses. The top three answers were:(1) Death (55%);(2) Moving (26%); and(3) Loss of a best friend (25%).Source: Glass, J. C. (1991). Death, loss, and grief among middle school children: Implicationsfor the school counselor. Elementary School Guidance and Counseling, 26(2), 139–148.
  • 13. Grieving Adolescents The adolescent-period tasks of achieving independence, separatingfrom the family to engage more with peers, and developing an identity may bedisrupted by loss or grief. Some adolescents whose families experience major losses ranging fromchronic illness to cutting back on expenditures due to job loss may fall back to thefamily to assume new work or career roles at the expense of their owndevelopment and higher education or career plans. Some young people may refuse to engage with school, complain aboutfeeling alienated by their loss experience, and may withdraw from peers at thevery time they need to focus on these relationships. Dr. Nancy Webb (2002) suggests that other key challenges for bereavedadolescents include: (1) a reluctance to show strong emotions; (2) discomfortwhen talking to parents about feelings; and (3) the absence of a model for strongdisplays of emotion. Also, they may display bravado, denial, anger, sadness, orpush their feelings underground and keep busy.Adapted from: Aston, C. (2008, September). Angels don’t have headlights. iteachonline: The Victorian Instituteof Teaching Online Newsletter (Issue No. 3). Retrieved on March 12, 2009, fromhttp://iteachonline.vit.vic.edu.au/issue0308/home.php?current=13Additional reference: Webb, N. B. (Ed.). (2002). Helping bereaved children: A handbook for practitioners (2nd ed.).New York: The Guilford Press.
  • 14. Loss: A Universal Experience Loss is universal and resides at the core of grief – Someone orsomething we love/value is gone, and we grieve (react to) the loss. Dealing with loss is a very individual, mostly privateexperience. The range of feelings experienced depends on theindividual and their degree of attachment to the thing or person that hasbeen lost. In addition to the loss of a loved one through death, children andadolescents potentially experience sundry perceived minor and majorlosses and associated grieving from a variety of causes, such as… √ Losing a cherished item to the ravages of time, √ Parental separation/divorce/imprisonment, √ Moving to a new residence, √ Changing schools, √ Having a friend move away, √ Being bullied, √ Peer rejection, √ Breaking up with a romantic partner, √ Not being chosen for a team or other group, etc.
  • 15. Is uniquely grieved and revisited Affects development in unique ways Must not be compared Creates fear and anxiety Affects physical and emotional health Is universal Reverberates and affects others Is isolating/lonely Erodes trust and threatens security Disrupts life flow and causes stress LOSS Takes time to accommodateEntails temporary or permanent changes Involves personal meaning making Highlights individual differences Affects academic performance Affects interactions and behavior Often begets other (secondary) losses Can bring about personal growth Alters direction slightly/dramatically Respects no specific timetable/stages
  • 16. Loss: A Universal Experience Loss is most severe when it involves the deathof a person who was an integral part of the survivingyouth‘s life. The death of a loved one can yield manylosses that fall into four major classes: (1) Relationship losses [e.g., loss of intimacy, emotionalsupport, companionship, validation, instrumental support,mattering (“being needed”)]; (2) Lifestyle losses [e.g., loss of social and school-/work-related activities, loss of status/position in peer group,finances/material resources]; (3) Loss of biography [e.g., loss of personal history,shared memories, vision of/plans for the future]; and (4) Loss of the self/identity [e.g., loss of personalaspects of the survivor – such as positive feedback and specificroles and identities – that were interdependent with therelationship with the deceased].
  • 17. Grief, Bereavement and Mourning GRIEF is the normal, dynamic, unique, andmultidimensional set of feelings and thoughts and relatedreactions of an individual following an actual or perceived loss– i.e., the death of an emotionally important person (a lovedone); non-death-related loss of someone or something ofvalue/significance. Grief is both a NORMAL and an ADAPTIVE process. NORMAL = Because it is a reaction that helps a child oradolescent confront a loss. ADAPTIVE = Although it is painful to go through, it canbe productive in that a child or adolescent can learn throughthe experience. Source: R. Dale Walker, M.D., Director of the Center for American Indian Education and Research and the One Sky Center at Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR
  • 18. Grief, Bereavement and Mourning Because grieving is a personally unique and highlyvariable and dynamic process, grief responses among childrenand adolescents vary according to different factors, such as: ● Manner of death; ● Nature and significance of the relationship to thedeceased; ● Age and related developmental tasks; ● Gender; ● Physical/mental status; ● Social-emotional development and personality; ● Prior loss experiences; ● Death-specific religious beliefs; and ● Adequacy of personal coping resources andavailability of helpful social support.
  • 19. Six Basic Concepts of Grief (1) Grief is a natural reaction to change, loss, ordeath. (2) Each person’s grieving experience is unique. (3) There are no ―right‖ or ―wrong‖ ways to grieve. (4) All individuals walk through the grieving processin their own timeframes and in their own ways. (5) Grief comes in waves — times of great intensityfollowed by times of relief. There is no reasoning or patternand it can hit with little warning. (6) Grieving never ends. It is something the personwill not permanently ―get over.‖Source: Operation: Military Kids (OMK) – Ready, Set, Go! Training. Chapter 8: Impact ofGrief, Trauma, and Loss on Children and Youth. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida,College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.[http://4h.ifas.ufl.edu/Military/ReadySetGo/PowerPoints/RSG_8PPT.ppt]
  • 20. Dual Process Model of Grieving Loss–Oriented Restoration – Oriented Involves the Dealing with the many emotional and life changes and new reactive processing roles that are brought of the loss about by the death Oscillating between these stressorsSource: Stroebe, M. S., & Schut, H. (2001). Models of coping with bereavement: Areview. In M. S. Stroebe, R. O. Hansson, W. Stroebe, & H. Schut (Eds.), Handbookof bereavement research: Consequences, coping, and care (pp. 375–403).Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • 21. Grief, Bereavement and Mourning MOURNING, which has both personal and interpersonalcomponents and is embedded in one’s religious and cultural tradition,is the public face of grief, the way a bereaved individualpersonally manages and overtly expresses their grief after adeath of a loved one, and includes formalized rituals (e.g.,memorial services, funerals, wakes, specific modes of dress,etc.). Wolfelt (2002) stated mourning is “taking the internalexperience of grief and expressing it outside oneself” (p.666). Bereaved youth must undertake several tasks as theywork toward active resolution of a loss, including the following: (1) Overcoming denial and accepting the reality of the loss; (2) Experiencing and processing the pain of grief incident tolosing a loved one; (3) Adjusting to an environment in which the deceased ismissing by accepting and acquiring requisite post-loss concepts, roles,and skills; and (4) Finding realistic cognitive and emotional ways to thinkabout the deceased and to move on with life and form newrelationships (Worden, 2002).
  • 22. Grief, Bereavement and Mourning BEREAVEMENT refers to a youth‘s complete reactionto the loss, and includes both the experience of grief and thework of mourning. Six common phenomena that decrease in frequency overtime among survivors in their acute and later phases ofbereavement are:(1) Sadness;(2) A yearning or pining;(3) A need to talk about the deceased;(4) Intrusive thoughts;(5) Preoccupation with images/thoughts; and(6) Distress at reminders of the deceased (Burnett et al., 1994).
  • 23. Grief, Bereavement and Mourning Bereaved adolescents must undertake several tasks asthey work toward active resolution of a loss, including thefollowing: (1) Overcoming denial and accepting the reality of the loss; (2) Experiencing and processing the pain of grief incidentto losing a loved one; (3) Adjusting to an environment in which the deceased ismissing by accepting and acquiring requisite post-loss concepts,roles, and skills; and (4) Finding realistic cognitive and emotional ways to thinkabout the deceased and to move on with life and form newrelationships (Worden, 2002).
  • 24. Potential Psychosocial Impact of Various Types of DeathsDEATH OF A PET Although the first death a child experiences is often the deathof an animal companion, the developmental significance of the deathof a pet, and incident grieving are rarely acknowledged. Clements, Benasutti, and Carmone (2003) noted, “The loss ofa cherished pet creates a grief reaction that is in many wayscomparable to that of the loss of a family member….The death, loss, ortheft of a beloved animal results in the end of a special relationship andcan be one of the most difficult times in a person‟s life” (p. 49). Because human-animal bonds are often not consideredworthy of affirmation, validation, and respect, the loss of an animalcompanion could invoke disenfranchised grief (i.e., grief that is notopenly acknowledged and disallowed; Meyers, 2002).
  • 25. Potential Psychosocial Impact of Various Types of DeathsDEATH OF A PET (continued) Five factors that affect a youth’s reactions to pet loss include: (1) The youth’s level of cognitive and emotional maturity; (2) The role played by the pet in the youth’s life; (3) The youth’s loss history, concurrent life events, andcoping ability; (4) The circumstances of the pet’s death, including whetherthe youth played any role in the death; and (5) The quality and availability of parental and other supportSources: Butler & Lagoni, 1996; Johns, 2000; Lagoni, Butler, & Hetts, 1994
  • 26. Potential Psychosocial Impact of Various Types of DeathsDEATH OF A PET (continued) Adults should: (1) Acknowledge the psychosocial significance of human-animalbonds; (2) Provide honest and clear information to children andadolescents about what happened to their pet; and (3) Afford bereaved youths social and emotional support afterthe death of a pet (Butler & Lagoni, 1996). As developmentally appropriate, the following actions can assistyouths to cope with the death of a pet: ● Creating rituals to acknowledge the loss; ● Encouraging children to participate in ceremonies; ● Teaching and encouraging mourning; ● Helping children choose appropriate mementos and photos fora memory box or other special creation; and ● Not introducing a new animal/not allowing anyone to replacethe animal too quickly (Meyers, 2002, pp. 255-256).
  • 27. Potential Psychosocial Impact of Various Types of DeathsDEATH OF A PARENT A parent is “unique and irreplaceable” (McLaren, 1998, p. 289), and achild will miss and mourn the deceased parent at many stages throughout theirlife (Swick, Dechant, & Jellinek, 2002). Four major variables mediate the effect of a parent’s death on a child: (1) The distinctive characteristics of the child (i.e., age anddevelopmental level; personality and coping style; loss history; social, cultural,and religious background); (2) The personal–social significance and strength and quality of therelationship with the parent; (3) The particular circumstances of the death (e.g., sudden oranticipated, natural or traumatic, and time of year); and (4) The types and availability of custodial, social, and emotionalsupport (Hatter, 1996).
  • 28. Potential Psychosocial Impact of Various Types of DeathsDEATH OF A PARENT (continued) Many children, especially those who have conflicted, abusive, orneglectful relationships with parents, carry unresolved feelings regarding theparent’s death into adulthood. Those feelings can negatively influence self-esteem, coping skills, and relationships (Schuurman & Lindholm, 2002). In her study of primary school-aged children’s experience of parentaldeath, Stephanie Dowden (1998) reported that boys who experienced parentaldeath had “difficulty expressing strong emotions” and “often resorted to violentbehaviour, directed at themselves and others, or intense physical activity”(1998, p. 61). Finally, she noted the preferred way for parentally bereaved children tocope with overwhelming feelings was to retreat to their bedrooms (i.e., a privatespace) until they could regain some emotional/situational control: “They usedtheir bedrooms as a retreat where they could grieve in private and as a placewhere they felt safe and comforted” (1998, p. 61).
  • 29. Potential Psychosocial Impact of Various Types of DeathsDEATH OF A PARENT (continued) Dr. Nicholas Ross (2000) conducted research in which he elicitedchildren’s cognitions and feelings regarding the support they experienced sincethe death of a parent: (1) Active support (i.e., in which a child’s grieving benefits from theovert behavior of another; e.g., actively listening to a child’s grief story, beingphysically with the grieving child through intense feelings, reflecting/sharingsome of one’s own feelings/experiences); and (2) Passive support (i.e., in which the child knows active support isavailable as needed with no implicit pressure to grieve in a specified manner). His results demonstrated that each child’s unique grieving needsrequire an open, flexible stance from those seeking to support them,through a variable combination of active and passive support.
  • 30. Potential Psychosocial Impact of Various Types of DeathsDEATH OF A SIBLING Many children and adolescents who die annually fromvarious causes leave siblings behind to grieve their deaths. The death of a sibling can have special significance in the lifeof a surviving child or adolescent: “Through a shared history and common bonds, siblings havethe potential for providing one another with intense emotionalexperience, support, guidance, information, and companionship.Consequently, the significance of the sibling relationship portends theprofound effect that the death of one child can have upon brothers andsisters” (Davies, 2002, p. 94).
  • 31. Potential Psychosocial Impact of Various Types of DeathsDEATH OF A SIBLING (continued) Because parents are involved in their own process ofadjusting to their child’s death, they may sometimes bepsychologically inaccessible to assist surviving siblings withgrieving the loss of a brother or sister. In the aftermath of sibling death, young children in particularmight be neglected, “often due to a desire by adults to protect themfrom further hurt” (Dowden, 1995, p. 72). Such reactions often leavethe surviving sibling’s loss experience and feelings invalidated andtheir grieving needs unmet.
  • 32. Potential Psychosocial Impact of Various Types of DeathsDEATH OF A SIBLING (continued) Stephanie Dowden (1995, p. 78) offered the following guidance for thecare of bereaved siblings:► Children have a need to grieve following the death of a sibling;► Children have the right to know about and share in family grief;► Each child is an individual and needs to be treated as such; and► Given the opportunity and a safe environment, many children are ableand willing to discuss issues surrounding death.
  • 33. Potential Psychosocial Impact of Various Types of DeathsDEATH OF A FRIEND/PEER/CLASSMATE The death of a friend/peer is an all-too-common experience that candeeply affect children and adolescents in ways that adults may not comprehendor acknowledge: “There is no more challenging time than when we arecalled on to explain the death of a child to other children” (Metzgar, 1995,p. 167). Wass (2003) observed, “The death of a peer can destroy the senseof invincibility with which children tend to shield themselves, and makethem aware of their own vulnerability, a discovery that may be extremelythreatening” (p. 35). Also, because friends play crucial roles in helping youths accomplishvarious psychosocial tasks (e.g., achieving individuation, consolidating apersonal identity), “the death of a friend may put at risk or delay successfulcompletion of those tasks” (Oltjenbruns, 1996, p. 215).
  • 34. Potential Psychosocial Impact of Various Types of DeathsDEATH OF A FRIEND/PEER/CLASSMATE (continued) Peers left behind in the wake of a friend’s death are frequently indirectvictims and forgotten/invisible mourners who may experience disenfranchisedgrief: “Adults may not recognize that children also experience grief andhave similar needs for information and clarity at a level and in languagethat they, the children, can understand” (Holland, 2004, p. 11). Bereavement as a result of a friend’s death “can evolve into losses ofother friends who are not grieving, who find the person’s grief bothuncomfortable and tiresome, and who withdraw from the relationship” (Balk,1998, p. 5).
  • 35. Potential Psychosocial Impact of Various Types of DeathsDEATH OF A FRIEND/PEER/CLASSMATE (continued) Educators are sometimes reluctant to engage in developmentallyappropriate sharing of information regarding a classmate’s death, when suchhonest communication may indeed dispel rumors, mitigate confusion, andprovide comfort and reassurance to grieving youths. Knowledge empowers grieving youths who have experienced thedeath of a peer/friend: “Experiencing the disappearance of a friend withoutknowing what happened to him can be more distressing than hearingabout his death” (Essa, Murray, & Everts, 1995, p. 132).
  • 36. Potential Psychosocial Impact of Various Types of DeathsDEATH OF A FRIEND/PEER/CLASSMATE (continued) When a student dies, he/she leaves behind an emptyclassroom desk, and, perhaps, an empty hallway locker. What isprudent in such circumstances? The Dougy Center for Grieving Children and Families (2003,p. 29) has suggested the following: ―There should be a time when his or her desk or lockerremains unchanged. The visual reminder often helps studentswith their grieving. Whisking a student‘s desk out of the classimmediately minimizes the impact of the student‘s life onothers.‖Source: (2003). Helping the grieving student: A guide for teachers. Portland, OR:The Dougy Center, The National Center for Grieving Children and Families.
  • 37. Potential Psychosocial Impact of Various Types of DeathsDEATH OF A FRIEND/PEER/CLASSMATE (continued) Sometimes, grieving students will emotionally attach themselvesto a deceased classmate’s desk or locker, occasionally creating a “shrine.”In these cases, educators need to strike a balance between beingsensitive to grieving students’ emotional needs and maintainingorder/safety. In such cases, The Dougy Center for Grieving Children andFamilies (2003, p. 29) has suggested the following: ―Rather than simply taking down pictures, notes ordrawings place on a student‘s locker and demanding that studentsdisperse, provide a time to meet with the students affected anddevelop a compromise. For example, the school could allow adisplay case to be used to exhibit notes, cards andexpressions….In general, it is a good idea to involve students inthe class around these decisions, asking them what they‘d like tosee done with the desk, locker, etc.‖Source: (2003). Helping the grieving student: A guide for teachers. Portland, OR:The Dougy Center, The National Center for Grieving Children and Families.
  • 38. Potential Psychosocial Impact of Various Types of DeathsDEATH OF A TEACHER/SCHOOL STAFF MEMBER The death of a teacher or other school staff memberimpacts the entire school community. Thus, it is critical to inform all students about the deathand to be aware of varying, and often unpredictable andextreme reactions (sometimes from students you may leastexpect!). ―Students may exhibit varying reactions to the death ofa school staff person, depending on how well they knew her,how the person died or other factors. Allowing the student totalk about the death and how they are being impacted isextremely helpful‖ (The Dougy Center, 2003, p. 34).Source: (2003). Helping the grieving student: A guide for teachers. Portland, OR:The Dougy Center, The National Center for Grieving Children and Families.
  • 39. Common Signs of Grieving Youths in the Classroom The student…► Has become the class clown or class bully► Has become withdrawn and unsociable► Has become restless and unable to stay seated► Calls out of turn► Does not complete schoolwork► Is having problems listening and remaining on task► Has become overly talkative► Has become disorganized► Engages in reckless physical actions► Shows poor concentration around external stimuli► Shows difficulty in following directions► Shows a change in grades and lack of interest in schoolSource: Goldman, L. (2006). Best practice grief work with students in the schools.In C. Franklin, M. B. Harris, & P. Allen-Meares (Eds.), The school servicessourcebook: A guide for school-based professionals (pp. 567–575). New York: OxfordUniversity Press.
  • 40. Children’s and Adolescents’ Reactions to Grief and Loss Tend to go in and out of grief Developmental stage will influence their reactions All cannot talk openly about their loss and feelings May not seem to be affected at all (external vs.internal responses or “survival mode”) Play is one way in particular they make sense ofthe changes in their world Not unusual for them to experience physicalreactions Need to grieve any significant loss/change/death atall developmental stages for healthy resolutionSource: Operation: Military Kids (OMK) – Ready, Set, Go! Training. Chapter 8: Impact of Grief,Trauma, and Loss on Children and Youth. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida, College ofAgricultural and Life Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.[http://4h.ifas.ufl.edu/Military/ReadySetGo/PowerPoints/RSG_8PPT.ppt]
  • 41. Academic Responses of Grieving Students Inability to focus or concentrate Failing or declining grades Incomplete or poor quality of work Increased absence or reluctance to go to school Forgetful, memory loss Over achievement, trying to be perfect Inattentiveness DaydreamingSource: Operation: Military Kids (OMK) – Ready, Set, Go! Training. Chapter 8: Impact of Grief,Trauma, and Loss on Children and Youth. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida, College ofAgricultural and Life Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.[http://4h.ifas.ufl.edu/Military/ReadySetGo/PowerPoints/RSG_8PPT.ppt]
  • 42. Behavioral Responses of Grieving Students Disruptive behaviors, noisy outbursts Aggressive behaviors, frequent fighting Non-compliance to requests Increase in risk-taking or unsafe behaviors Isolation or withdrawal Regressive behaviors to a time when things feltmore safe and in control High need for attention A need to check in with parent/significant otherSource: Operation: Military Kids (OMK) – Ready, Set, Go! Training. Chapter 8: Impact of Grief,Trauma, and Loss on Children and Youth. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida, College ofAgricultural and Life Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.[http://4h.ifas.ufl.edu/Military/ReadySetGo/PowerPoints/RSG_8PPT.ppt]
  • 43. Emotional Responses of Grieving Students Insecurity, issues of abandonment, safety concerns Concern over being treated differently from others Fear, guilt, anger, regret, sadness, confusion “I don’t care” attitude Depression, hopelessness, intense sadness Overly sensitive, frequently tearful, irritable Appears unaffected by change/loss/death Preoccupation, wanting details Recurring thoughts of death, suicideSource: Operation: Military Kids (OMK) – Ready, Set, Go! Training. Chapter 8: Impact of Grief,Trauma, and Loss on Children and Youth. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida, College ofAgricultural and Life Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.[http://4h.ifas.ufl.edu/Military/ReadySetGo/PowerPoints/RSG_8PPT.ppt]
  • 44. Social Responses of Grieving Students Withdrawal from friends and family Withdrawal from activities and sports Use of alcohol and other drugs Changes in relationships with teachers/peers Changes in family roles Wanting to be physically close to safe adult Sexual acting out Stealing, shoplifting Difficulty being in a group or crowdSource: Operation: Military Kids (OMK) – Ready, Set, Go! Training. Chapter 8: Impact of Grief,Trauma, and Loss on Children and Youth. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida, College ofAgricultural and Life Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.[http://4h.ifas.ufl.edu/Military/ReadySetGo/PowerPoints/RSG_8PPT.ppt]
  • 45. Physical Responses of Grieving Students Stomachaches, headaches, heartaches Frequent accidents or injuries Nightmares, dreams, or sleep difficulties Loss of appetite or increased eating Low energy, weakness Nausea, upset stomach, hives, rashes, etc. Increased illnesses, low resistance Rapid heartbeatSource: Operation: Military Kids (OMK) – Ready, Set, Go! Training. Chapter 8: Impact of Grief,Trauma, and Loss on Children and Youth. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida, College ofAgricultural and Life Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.[http://4h.ifas.ufl.edu/Military/ReadySetGo/PowerPoints/RSG_8PPT.ppt]
  • 46. Developmental Responses of Middle School Youths Experience range of  Withdrawal, sullennessemotions impacted by  Need healthy physicalphysical/hormonal outletsdevelopment  Lack of concentration Comprehend  Risk-taking behaviorschange/loss/death as final (alcohol/drugs, sexual actingand unavoidable out, stealing) Feelings of helplessness  Unpredictable ups andand hopelessness may downs or moodinessincrease risk-takingbehaviors  Erratic, inconsistent reactions Argumentative, anger,fightingSource: Operation: Military Kids (OMK) – Ready, Set, Go! Training. Chapter 8: Impact of Grief,Trauma, and Loss on Children and Youth. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida, College ofAgricultural and Life Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.[http://4h.ifas.ufl.edu/Military/ReadySetGo/PowerPoints/RSG_8PPT.ppt]
  • 47. How to Help Middle School Youths Expect and accept mood swings Provide supportive environment where student canshare, when needed Anticipate increased physical concerns, illness, bodyaches, pains Allow to choose with whom and how s/he gets support Encourage participation in support group Allow flexibility in completing school workSource: Operation: Military Kids (OMK) – Ready, Set, Go! Training. Chapter 8: Impact of Grief,Trauma, and Loss on Children and Youth. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida, College ofAgricultural and Life Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.[http://4h.ifas.ufl.edu/Military/ReadySetGo/PowerPoints/RSG_8PPT.ppt]
  • 48. Checklist of Common Grief-Related Behaviors of School-Age Youths They cannot decide when feelings will erupt, and may not be able to label their feelings accurately. They cannot decide which feelings to have and may have difficulty talking about them. Explosive emotions may be an outward expression of grief work directed toward anyone available. They may be fairly protective of themselves and their emotions when they are with peers. They may generally keep their emotional reactions secret, perhaps becoming withdrawn and depressed. They may use denial and maintain an appearance of control and ―life as usual.‖ They may take on a ―caretaker‖ role.
  • 49. Common Mistakes When Dealing with Death● Words and actions to avoid: — Acting as if nothing has happened — Suggesting the person has grieved long enough — Indicating they should ―get over it‖ and move on — Expecting business as usual when it comes toschool/work performance● Please don’t ever say… — “It could be worse…” — “I know how you feel…” — “You’ll be stronger because of this…”Source: Operation: Military Kids (OMK) – Ready, Set, Go! Training. Chapter 8: Impact of Grief,Trauma, and Loss on Children and Youth. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida, College ofAgricultural and Life Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.[http://4h.ifas.ufl.edu/Military/ReadySetGo/PowerPoints/RSG_8PPT.ppt]
  • 50. Secondary Losses: Grief Ripples in the Pool of Life When an immediate family member or significantother dies (e.g., friend, teacher), children and adolescentsmust cope with not only the loss of that relationship, butalso may have to deal with secondary losses incident to thedeath (Baker, 1997; Klicker, 2000; Raveis et al., 1999;Smith, 1999; Wolfelt, 1996). Secondary losses are consequences that “are notdirectly related to the death, but rather result from the initialconsequences of the death, or occur simultaneously with thedying, death, or during bereavement” (Mahon, 1999, p. 301).Many of these losses stem from experiences and behavioralexpectations inherent in the attachment relationship with thedeceased (Weiss, 2001).
  • 51. Secondary Losses: Grief Ripples in the Pool of Life Among the cascade of secondary losses that cancomplicate the grieving process and often gounacknowledged in their affect on the child oradolescent are: ■ Loss of income; ■ Loss of future together; ■ Loss of special relationship; ■ Change in household routines; ■ Family disintegration; and ■ Moving/having to live with relatives.Sources: Cournos, 2001; Mahon, 1999; Raveis et al., 1999; Smith, 1999; Wolfelt, 1996
  • 52. Possible Gender-Related Grieving Differences► Boys and girls may differentially desire and beoffered/receive varying degrees, durations and types ofsocial-emotional support in the midst of grief from familymembers and peers (e.g., having someone listen as theyshare their experience of the loss, understand theirfeelings, express sorrow, hug them, allow them to cry, helpwith problem solving, share memories of the deceased,distract them from the loss).► In particular, adolescent boys may have a difficult timegrieving, especially “when they have been taught thatshowing emotion is something that girls do – but macho guysdon‟t” (Fitzgerald, 2000, p. 74).
  • 53. Possible Gender-Related Grieving Differences ► Although “grieving patterns are influenced by gender, notdetermined by them” (Doka, 1999, p. 8), there appear to be distinctpatterns of grieving or strategies of adapting to loss among many malesand females – for example, “instrumental” and “intuitive” grievers (Martin& Doka, 2000). ―Instrumental‖ Grievers ―Intuitive‖ Grievers (likely boys) (likely girls) ● Tend to have a tempered ● More likely to experience their affect to a loss grief as waves of affect ● Describe their grief in ● Frequently need to express physical or cognitive terms their feelings and seek the ● Are more likely to support of others cognitively process or immerse themselves in activity
  • 54. Possible Gender-Related Grieving Differences The experiences of a youth counseling national help line/web-based counseling service in Australia appear to support these apparentgender-related differences in problem solving behaviors: “Compared to females, males are more likely to focus onwhat to do about their concerns and less likely to want toexplore the nature of those concerns…Counsellors tend to avoiddirectly asking males about their feelings, preferring instead touse more subtle ways to engage them on an emotional level. Acommon approach is to ask the caller what he thinks about anexperience or event rather than what he feels. The focus onthoughts rather than feelings appears to be a safe way formales to reflect and provides a space in which feelings maysurface.” (Kids Help Line, 2002, p. 3)
  • 55. Possible Gender-Related Grieving Differences To foster a school environment that is supportive of gender-relateddifferences in grief, Dr. Louise Rowling (2002, p. 289) has suggested using thefollowing generic questions: (1) How did you react? (not What did you feel?) (2) How do you experience your grief? (3) What did the loss mean to you? (4) What strategies do you use to cope that are helpful? (5) What kind of advice (guidance) is helpful? and (6) With whom do you share your loss? Source: Rowling, L. (2002). Youth and disenfranchised grief. In K. J. Doka (Ed.), Disenfranchised grief: New directions, challenges, and strategies for practice (pp. 275-292). Champaign, IL: Research Press.
  • 56. “Disenfranchised Grief” With certain types of losses, a youth’s grief experience is often“disenfranchised” – because of socially determined “grieving rules” of parents,other adults, and peers that endeavor to specify who, when, where, how, howlong, and for whom a child or adolescent shall grieve, the child or adolescent isnot “accorded the right to grieve…[Their] grief is not openly acknowledged,socially validated, or publicly observed” (Doka, 2002, p. 5). Dr. Kenneth Doka has suggested five broad categories of loss that aredisenfranchised: (1) Lack of recognition of the relationship; (2) Lack of acknowledgement of the loss; (3) Exclusion of the griever; (4) Circumstances of the death; and (5) The ways individuals grieve.
  • 57. “Disenfranchised Grief” The following are some of the loss-related events frequently involvingdisenfranchised grief:► A friend moving away► Loss/breakup of a romantic relationship► The death of a friend/peer► Divorce► Adoption► Placement in foster care► Incarceration of one or both parents► Death of a pet► Moving to a new residence/changing schools► Losses involving very young children► Deaths involving societal stigma (e.g., suicide, homicide, HIV/AIDS)
  • 58. “Disenfranchised Grief” Because the very nature of disenfranchised griefcreates additional problems for grievers while removing orminimizing their sources of support (Doka, 2002), supportgroups may offer disenfranchised grievers: (1) Validation for their losses by connecting them withothers who share similar losses; (2) Suggestions for coping; (3) Hope to members at different points in their griefjourneys through sharing of stories; and (4) The possibility of enhancing their self-esteem throughproviding assistance to others (Pesek, 2002). Also, rituals (i.e., memorials, funerals) can be apowerful therapeutic tool for enfranchising disenfranchisedgrievers, because they can validate grief and allowopportunities for catharsis, may offer support and helpgrievers in their search for meaning in the midst of loss (Doka,2002).
  • 59. Loss and Grief in the School Community: Activating Caring and Effective Responses Deborah Carey, principal of West Middle Schoolin Auburn, NY, in her 2008 article, Gone but NotForgotten: Grief at School, asserted that “an effectivecrisis management plan contains six key componentsthat must be adapted depending on the particularincident and the available personnel” (p. 37). These sixrecommended components are outline in the next fewslides, with emphasis (bold type and underliningwithin the italicized quotations) added by us.Source: Carey, D. (2008). Gone but not forgotten: Grief at school. PrincipalLeadership, 8(8), 36–39.
  • 60. Loss and Grief in the School Community: Activating Caring and Effective ResponsesComponent #1: DESIGNATED ROLES Although the principal provides leadership direction, ensures safety,and handles the demands of the whole school, in the face of sorrow/grief,other individuals also must assume important support roles: “The schoolcommunity must know who is in charge in each context to ensure theemotional and physical safety of all” (Carey, 2008, p. 37).Communications Manager. Although the “principal handles communicationfor the school community,” he or she “should designate a communicationsmanager to help communicate with others. This person informs thetransportation and custodial and maintenance staff members, part-timestaff members, and visitors who enter school after the initial emergencymeetings” (Carey, 2008, p. 37).Counseling Team. Led by a counseling team leader who directs thecounseling plan, the “team should be composed of administrators andcounselors who have received grief management training, typically through localmental health services” (Carey, 2008, p. 37). Source: Carey, D. (2008). Gone but not forgotten: Grief at school. Principal Leadership, 8(8), 36–39.
  • 61. Loss and Grief in the School Community: Activating Caring and Effective ResponsesComponent #1: DESIGNATED ROLES (continued)Security Manager. “Students who are stunned by the death of a peer may actunpredictably and sometimes try to remove themselves from the emotionallycharged atmosphere. Rigorous, attentive security measures should be in place”(Carey, 2008, p. 37). The Security Manager person may be an assistant principalwho can direct “faculty and staff members to secure the building and keep closetabs on students” (Carey, 2008, p. 37). Source: Carey, D. (2008). Gone but not forgotten: Grief at school. Principal Leadership, 8(8), 36–39.
  • 62. Loss and Grief in the School Community: Activating Caring and Effective ResponsesComponent #2: EFFECTIVE AND TARGETED COMMUNICATIONS Because rumors and horror stories are often rife in the midst of a crisissituation, “A smoothly flowing stream of information can avert new crises thatstem from misinformation. The principal should get accurate informationfrom credible sources and succinctly inform faculty and staff members, whoin turn inform students. Depending on district protocol, the principal may speakwith the media. A communication channel with the bereaved family should beopened as well” (Carey, 2008, p. 37).Pre-Opening Calls. “Each school should have a phone tree that can be used toinform faculty and staff members of crises. The principal should initiate callsbefore school opens, although he or she may need help to field before-schooltelephone calls, greet visitors, and help prepare written communications. Thesuperintendent must also be notified if word of the death did not come from thecentral office” (Carey, 2008, p. 37). Source: Carey, D. (2008). Gone but not forgotten: Grief at school. Principal Leadership, 8(8), 36–39.
  • 63. Loss and Grief in the School Community: Activating Caring and Effective ResponsesComponent #2: EFFECTIVE AND TARGETED COMMUNICATIONS(continued)Crisis Team Meeting. “The first meeting of the day should be a crisis teammeeting. Members should assign responsibilities, designate meeting locations,review the official message, and compile an initial list of students who are likely tobe affected by the death” (Carey, 2008, p. 37)Faculty and Staff Meetings. “Before school, the adults in the school mustgather to hear the news and to share their feelings of loss and sadness. Theday‟s plan should be outlined in writing. The faculty should receive cleardirectives about releasing students from class so they can go to counselinglocations and about the need for vigilance in the hallways and while takingattendance. At the end of the day, faculty and staff members should attend anothermeeting where they can react to the day and share their successes andconcerns…. In both the before- and after-school meetings, faculty and staffmembers should identify students who will be greatly affected by the deathand who may be at risk of grief reactions during the days ahead” (Carey,2008, pp. 37–38). Source: Carey, D. (2008). Gone but not forgotten: Grief at school. Principal Leadership, 8(8), 36–39.
  • 64. Loss and Grief in the School Community: Activating Caring and Effective ResponsesComponent #2: EFFECTIVE AND TARGETED COMMUNICATIONS(continued)Informing Students. “The PA system may be convenient but it is cold andimpersonal, and messages can be missed or incorrectly heard. Rather thanannounce the death over the PA system, teachers should inform the studentsin their homeroom or the first student group of the day. The principal shoulddraft a brief written message that includes nonjudgmental facts about thedeath; an expression of sadness about loss; and brief, simple informationabout available support. Teachers should review the message at the before-school faculty meeting. Everyone will have a different reaction to the death;anyone who cannot read the message aloud to students will need to have avolunteer assigned to this task” (Carey, 2008, p. 38). Source: Carey, D. (2008). Gone but not forgotten: Grief at school. Principal Leadership, 8(8), 36–39.
  • 65. Loss and Grief in the School Community: Activating Caring and Effective ResponsesComponent #2: EFFECTIVE AND TARGETED COMMUNICATIONS(continued)Communicating with Families. “During the grief processes I haveexperienced in schools, contact with the student‟s family and contact with thestudent‟s family and expressions of sympathy and support were important.Although sometimes the parents were unable to speak with the schoolimmediately, eventually all of them thanked the school for sharing in their grief.When families are active in the school, the loss of their child also means thesecondary loss of the social network they had at school. In such cases,personal connection and reassurance is of particular comfort. In addition, aformal letter home to all parents is typically valuable. When the death is amysterious one or occurred on school property, the community needsaccurate information and the assurance that the school is handling thetragedy” (Carey, 2008, p. 38). Source: Carey, D. (2008). Gone but not forgotten: Grief at school. Principal Leadership, 8(8), 36–39.
  • 66. Loss and Grief in the School Community: Activating Caring and Effective ResponsesComponent #2: EFFECTIVE AND TARGETED COMMUNICATIONS(continued)Media Contact. “When death is due to a long-term illness, such as cancer, publicattention is rare. Deadly accidents, suicide, and unexplained death drawintrusive and awkward media attention. The principal must designate amedia contact person, either him- or herself or a subordinate… (This personshould talk about) the school’s support plan for distraught students (and)reassure the community about the quality services the school was offering tostudents. Some media personnel may ask for information that the family has notreleased, such as a picture of the student. With the family‟s permission, thedesignated media contact at the school can be a buffer from intrusive inquiries”(Carey, 2008, p. 38). Source: Carey, D. (2008). Gone but not forgotten: Grief at school. Principal Leadership, 8(8), 36–39.
  • 67. Loss and Grief in the School Community: Activating Caring and Effective ResponsesComponent #3: SCHEDULE FOR THE DAY “The plan for the day should include an extended homeroom periodto read the special message, to organize students who need to leave, and tohandle remaining students’ questions and concerns… Grade-level assemblies(can be used to bring) students and teachers together to reassure students abouttheir own well-being. Children’s emotional and physical comfort is increasedwhen they recognize that knowledgeable, caring adults are in charge”(Carey, 2008, p. 38). Source: Carey, D. (2008). Gone but not forgotten: Grief at school. Principal Leadership, 8(8), 36–39.
  • 68. Loss and Grief in the School Community: Activating Caring and Effective ResponsesComponent #4: SECURITY PLAN The Security Manager and other selected school staff members shouldbe “assigned to secure the building from media intrusion, parents whoremove their upset children without following standard procedures, andanyone who might try to take advantage of the unusual atmosphere. Doorsshould be locked or supervised by staff members. Teachers‟ responsibilitiesshould include periodic checks of bathrooms and spaces in which students mighthide. The heightened sense of building security can be a comfort to thosewho are emotionally distraught” (Carey, 2008, p. 38). Source: Carey, D. (2008). Gone but not forgotten: Grief at school. Principal Leadership, 8(8), 36–39.
  • 69. Loss and Grief in the School Community: Activating Caring and Effective ResponsesComponent #5: BASIC COUNSELING STRATEGIES “All requests to go to the counseling site must be honored; the schoolcounselors will quickly identify „curious‟ students, who often opt to return to classbecause they feel awkward in the emotionally charged environment. Sometimes,adults may question a student‟s connection with the deceased student, only to hearthat they were neighbors, went to the same day care, or played Little League balltogether. Students also may have unresolved grief and need help coping withresurrected sadness [e.g., in some cases, there may be some students whowere mean to/had conflicts with the student who died, and, thus, theyexperience guilt from the way they had treated the deceased student]” (Carey,2008, pp. 38–39). Source: Carey, D. (2008). Gone but not forgotten: Grief at school. Principal Leadership, 8(8), 36–39.
  • 70. Loss and Grief in the School Community: Activating Caring and Effective ResponsesComponent #5: BASIC COUNSELING STRATEGIES [continued] “School counseling professionals are trained to handle crisis counselingdemands, but they need certain resources to meet the needs of students and staffmembers, such as a large gathering space, rooms for individual or subgroupsessions, sign-in materials and passes, tissues, and drinks and snacks. [Becauseevery crisis situation is unique], the school must have a consistent but flexiblecounseling plan of action that includes:Counseling space: A gathering space large enough for a circle that allowscounselors to see all reactions and to assess needs. Students sign in and out of thissite with specific passes. Maintaining the usual rules for hall travel during theschool day establishes a comforting atmosphere of normalcy. Faculty and staffmembers should be welcomed to the sessions; sharing their own sadness andtears gives students important models for how to cope with uncomfortablefeelings and will help students feel connected and cared about. The mutualsupport can be immensely powerful for everyone” (Carey, 2008, p. 39). Source: Carey, D. (2008). Gone but not forgotten: Grief at school. Principal Leadership, 8(8), 36–39.
  • 71. Loss and Grief in the School Community: Activating Caring and Effective ResponsesComponent #5: BASIC COUNSELING STRATEGIES [continued]“Secondary spaces: Students who exhibit excessive, distracting grief shouldmove to another setting with a counseling professional until they are able torejoin the larger group. Sometimes, a student needs to check in with his or herfamily members. The counselor may assure the parent about the school‟sexpertise and plan for assisting students with their intense feelings.Counseling process: Large group sessions should begin with gentlyannounced ground rules: the right to individual feelings and experiences,the right to quietly listen, the confidentiality of shared emotions and stories,and the need to sign in and out of this special place. Adult comments shouldbe brief and nonjudgmental and allow for student responses and reactions.During a lengthy session, a break to have something to eat or drink is a welcomerespite from the intense emotionality and sends a subliminally strong messageabout being nurtured”. (Carey, 2008, p. 39). Source: Carey, D. (2008). Gone but not forgotten: Grief at school. Principal Leadership, 8(8), 36–39.
  • 72. Loss and Grief in the School Community: Activating Caring and Effective ResponsesComponent #5: BASIC COUNSELING STRATEGIES [continued]“The lead counselor should channel the conversation from reaction toshared stories about the student to students’ concerns about the death to adiscussion of next steps, such as visiting the family and attending thefuneral. Many students may be fearful of attending a wake or funeral. Theyshould be encouraged to talk with relatives about attending the services, andschool personnel should consider attending to support students and thesorrowing family.The session should work toward considering ways to honor the memory oftheir lost friend and classmate. Student-created notes or cards for the familyprovide a safe, appropriate means of expressing intense feelings. Students shouldbe told about ongoing support that is available from counselors andadministrators” (Carey, 2008, p. 39). Source: Carey, D. (2008). Gone but not forgotten: Grief at school. Principal Leadership, 8(8), 36–39.
  • 73. Loss and Grief in the School Community: Activating Caring and Effective ResponsesComponent #6: FOLLOW-UP ACTIVITIES“Children and adults all welcome an opportunity to comfort the sorrowingfamily [e.g., creating cards/posters that include personalized condolences to thestudent‟s family, fundraisers for scholarships/contributions to a particularcharity]…. When thinking of ways to honor a deceased student, school leadersshould consider such actions as lowering the flag [to half-staff] in light of thenature of the death.[Toward the end of balancing care with caution, however, it is important to keepin mind that] too much attention to tragedies, such as suicide, may promptcopycat behavior from students who would like to receive the same amountof attention or a means of punishing others whom they perceive as beinghurtful” (Carey, 2008, p. 39). Source: Carey, D. (2008). Gone but not forgotten: Grief at school. Principal Leadership, 8(8), 36–39.
  • 74. Loss and Grief in the School Community: Activating Caring and Effective Responses “Whether a loss is due to the death of astudent, a faculty or staff member, or a member ofthe community, a viable, organized strategy forcoping with loss ensures that the tragedy does notincrease the bereaved’s pain or the students’vulnerability to further incidents. Although thereare no surefire formulas for making everything OKin the face of enormous sadness, the schoolcommunity can take specific actions toacknowledge grief and begin a healing process”(Carey, 2008, p. 37). Source: Carey, D. (2008). Gone but not forgotten: Grief at school. Principal Leadership, 8(8), 36–39.
  • 75. Proactive Post-Loss Support and School-Based InterventionsIndividual and Group Counseling/Support for Bereaved Youths Although grief, as a process, is natural, the course of griefmay not always come naturally, and intervention/guidance from amental health professional may be beneficial, assisting the bereavedchild or adolescent to not grieve their loss alone and to facilitate theintegration of the loss into their life and move on. The goal of grief counseling is to facilitate mourning in arecently bereaved child or adolescent (Worden, 2002). “Counseling children who have sustained a loss is nottraditional psychotherapy. It is a combination of comforting,educating, exploring, and inviting expression” (Ward-Wimmer &Napoli, 2000, p. 111).
  • 76. Proactive Post-Loss Support and School-Based InterventionsIndividual and Group Counseling/Support for Bereaved Youths [continued] McGlauflin (1992, p. 18) delineated several important elements in griefcounseling with bereaved youths: (1) A time for declaring or relating the detailed story of the loss,including who/what and when, and how it happened, how the youth felt abouthow they were informed of the loss, and what part, if any, they played in familyrituals associated with the loss; (2) A time for remembering the lost person, place, or thing, includingdiscussing positive/negative qualities, important times/experiences/events, andtimes when they most miss the lost person, place or thing; (3) A time for expressing all kinds of feelings in all their intensities; and (4) A time for renewal and looking toward the future, which entailsconsidering the bereaved youth’s coping skills, identifying support resources,anticipating particularly difficult times (i.e., anniversaries, holidays), andreestablishing hope.
  • 77. Proactive Post-Loss Support and School-Based InterventionsIndividual and Group Counseling/Support for Bereaved Youths [continued] Because youths often dislike being considered “different” fromtheir peers, bereavement groups can “offer the peer supportthat the bereaved child so greatly craves, since the grouphelps him/her realize that other children have also lost lovedones to death” (Webb, 2002, pp. 253-254). Group counseling activities and support groups canprovide a normalizing and safe environment ofcommonality/universality in which bereaved youths can talk abouttheir loss, express feelings, acquire and practice coping skills, andexperience personal validation and social support: “Becausebereaved children may feel lonely, angry, anxious, and guilty, the useof group intervention may ease their feelings of loneliness and self-attribution as they disclose their common experiences to others”(Ayyash-Abdo, 2001, p. 428).
  • 78. Proactive Post-Loss Support and School-Based InterventionsIndividual and Group Counseling/Support for Bereaved Youths [continued] Therapeutic group work may be especially beneficialwhen a few or several children and adolescents haveexperienced a common loss (e.g., a parent, sibling, pet, etc.),because participating youths can typically see and hear whatthey are experiencing is also known to others: ―There‘s a felt connection. They no longer feel alone,but join with kindred others going through a similarexperience. There‘s a sense of ‗You, too?‘ and ‗Me, too.‘ Thedepth and intensity of grief is shared, legitimized, andvalidated‖ (Dr. Betty J. Carmack, 2003, p. 63).
  • 79. Proactive Post-Loss Support and School-Based InterventionsCreative Arts-Based Interventions Creative arts-based activities can provide opportunities for bereavedyouths to express their thoughts and feelings about a death: “Even teenagersoften find it safer and more true to their feelings to express them in paint, poetry,clay, theater, crafts, and created rituals, rather than trying to tell someone explicitlyhow they feel” (Fry, 2000, p. 126). Because drawing is a natural exploratory and expressive activity inwhich children engage, it is an ideal vehicle for younger bereaved children (Hogan &Graham, 2002) and youths exposed to sudden traumatic deaths (Clements,Benasutti, & Henry, 2001) to explore and communicate loss-related thoughtsand feelings. Diane Le Count (2000) observed that creative art therapy can helpchildren “work from the inside out” – “Working with the arts can feel safe for thechild. It can create a safe place for an emotional discharge, at other times picturesor play may enable the expression of the struggle and confusion surrounding a lossor multiple losses which the child may only be able to express non-verbally. It canalso be a way of working through unacceptable feelings” (p. 18).
  • 80. Proactive Post-Loss Support and School-Based InterventionsWritten Expression-Based Interventions Some children and adolescents may not feel comfortable talkingabout/sharing their grief-related feelings individually with a helpingprofessional or in a group setting. In such cases, Pennebaker, Zech, and Rimé (2001) advocated theuse of writing/journaling as a clinical tool for the following reasons: (1) Writing allows the student to express his or heremotions without the direct evaluation of another person; (2) It does not need a real recipient to be present; and (3) Writing may induce the structuring of thoughts,feelings and meaning making. As aids to grief resolution, journaling, creative writing, letterwriting, poetry, and essays and other creative writing activties may havepreventive and therapeutic-personal growth benefits for bereaved youths(Brandell, 2002; Gaines-Lane, 1997; Goldman, 2000; Wolfe, 1995).
  • 81. Proactive Post-Loss Support and School-Based InterventionsMemory Boxes/Books “Death robs us of a present and future with our lovedone, but it has no firm grip on the past. Therefore, memoriesare probably the most precious gifts that survivors are leftwith….By reminiscing, children are demonstrating theirbeginning acceptance of the loss” (Normand, Silverman, &Nickman, 1996, pp. 108-109). Memory is a way of holding onto thethings you love, the things you are, the thingsyou never want to lose. – From the television show, The Wonder Years
  • 82. Proactive Post-Loss Support and School-Based InterventionsMemory Boxes/Books Toward that end, Winston’s Wish, a bereavement supportprogram for youths and their caregivers located in Gloucestershire,UK, advocates the use of memory boxes, memory/life books,calendars of memories, family records, and storytelling about thedeceased (Stokes & Crossley, 1995). Involving children andadolescents in activities such as these serves several purposes:♥ To support a bereaved young person and their family;♥ To preserve a continuing link with the person who has died;♥ To involve young people in the mourning process; and♥ To assist bereaved youths and their families take steps alongtheir unique bereavement journeys.
  • 83. Proactive Post-Loss Support and School-Based InterventionsMemorializing the Deceased When a school community experiences a death, “Goodbyes arenecessary and a healthy part of the healing process,” and “are essential in order toregain the focus on learning at school” (Booth & Cowdrey, 1992, p. 44). Fast (2003) noted that memorializing deceased children and adolescentsin the form of “grief projects” involving artistic expression and social activism isbest understood in the context of the task of adjusting to an environment in whichthe deceased is missing (i.e., Worden, 2002). Regarding school memorial activities following traumatic events, Polandand Zenere (2004) have recommended that memorial activities be: (1) Based on the needs and desires of the school community; (2) Initiated, if possible, within one week of the traumatic event [atleast the initial memorial activity]; (3) Planned by a school-based committee comprised ofadministrators, teachers, parents, students [especially those who hadpersonal ties to the victim(s)], and community members; and (4) Planned as a series of activities involving survivors, rather thana traditional establishment of a permanent marker or structure.
  • 84. Guiding Principles for Memorials A memorial should not overshadow or interfere with the school’s primary mission of educating students A memorial should add to a positive learning environment and add to the mission of educating students A memorial should be life affirming, inspiring and spiritually uplifting The school belongs to the students of the future, not only to the students of the past and the present Source: Wong, M., Kelly, J., & Stephens, R. D. (2001). Jane’s School Safety Handbook. Alexandria, VA: Jane’s Information Group.
  • 85. Some Ways Adults Can Actively Involve Children and Adolescents in Commemorating a Loss► Create a ceremony, such as releasing a balloon with aspecial note, lighting a candle, etc.► Create a memorial wall with stories and pictures of sharedevents► Have an assembly about the person who died► Plan a memorial garden► Initiate a scholarship fund► Establish an ongoing fundraiser (e.g., a car wash, a bakesale) with proceeds going toward the bereaved family’sdesignated charity► Place memorial pages in the school yearbook or schoolnewspaper► Send flowers to the grieving family Source: Goldman, L. (2006). Best practice grief work with students in the schools. In C. Franklin, M. B. Harris, & P. Allen-Meares (Eds.), The school services sourcebook: A guide for school-based professionals (pp. 567–575). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • 86. Concluding Remarks There is very little access to the brain,when the heart is in pain. –– Janet E. Hart 4th-grade teacher West Yarmouth, MA The grief of a child or adolescentdoes not follow a “pacing guide.” –– Dr. Gary W. Mauk
  • 87. What Can We Learn from Grieving Youths? [Dr. Donna Schuurman, 2002] Dr. Donna Schuurman, National Director of The Dougy Center forGrieving Children in Portland, OR, proffered some lessons she has learnedfrom grieving youths (Schuurman, 2002, pp. 23-25): (1) They know and understand much more than that for which we givethem credit; (2) One of the greatest obstacles to their healing after a death isadults; (3) They do not need to be fixed; (4) They do not need to be taught how to grieve as much as theyneed to be permitted to grieve and derive their own meaning from the deathexperience; (5) They are resilient, but their resilience does not exist in apsychosocial vacuum; (6) Theories may be helpful as guides to understanding, but they mayobscure our ability to be truly available to a bereaved youth; Source: Schuurman, D. (2002). The club no one wants to join: A dozen things I’ve learned from grieving children and adolescents. Grief Matters: The Australian Journal of Grief and Bereavement, 5(2), 23-25.
  • 88. What Can We Learn from Grieving Youths? [Dr. Donna Schuurman, 2002] (7) Labels may be fine for containers, but are not so good for bereavedyouths – we need to remember that behind every label is a frightened child oradolescent; (8) Although bereaved youths’ expressions of grief facilitate the healingprocess, the form that expression takes is highly variable, and what matters mostto the bereaved youth is feeling understood; (9) We would be better off reframing emotions as messages from oursouls, rather than as enemies from which to flee; (10) Sorrow needs varied opportunities for expression (e.g., words,play, exercise, music, visual art, play), including silence; (11) Bereaved youths need, desire, and deserve honesty, truth, andchoices to build trust, regain control and stability, and take responsibility for theirdecisions; and (12) The best thing we, as adults, can do for grieving youths is to listento them with our ears, eyes, hearts, and souls. Source: Schuurman, D. (2002). The club no one wants to join: A dozen things I’ve learned from grieving children and adolescents. Grief Matters: The Australian Journal of Grief and Bereavement, 5(2), 23-25.
  • 89. Educators Grieve, Too: Taking Care to Take Care of Yourself Educators sometimes relive previous death-related experiencesthat compound the reality and emotion surrounding a student’s death,and “teachers who have not adequately resolved their own misgivingsabout death will be less able to help children and parents deal with theissue” (Essa et al., 1995, p. 132). Because school management practices often do not acknowledgethe grief of school staff members, such individuals may benefit fromopportunities to validate their relationship with the deceased and openlyexpress their feelings about the death (Dr. Louise Rowling, 1995): ► Openly acknowledging the impact of traumaticevents/deaths on teachers and other school personnel; ► Identifying staff members who may be at-risk forpsychological difficulties due to prior traumatic experiences or currentstressors; and ► Providing support activities/counseling opportunities.
  • 90. Educators Grieve, Too: Taking Care to Take Care of Yourself It can be difficult, painful, and physically/emotionally exhausting to work with grieving students. As such, The Dougy Center (2003, p. 27) has suggested the following ways for educators to take care of themselves after a death. ■ Making time to talk with other school staff members about grieving students; ■ Talking with trusted individuals about your feelings; ■ Remembering that grief issues take a varying amount of time to process; ■ Getting proper nutrition/hydration, exercise, sleep and reflective time; and ■ Seeking professional support, when necessary.Source: (2003). Helping the grieving student: A guide for teachers.Portland, OR: The Dougy Center, The National Center for GrievingChildren and Families.
  • 91. 10 Main Themes of Bereaved Youths’ Support Requests from Adults in Their Environment [Dyregrov & Dyregrov, 2008, p. 91](1) Provide us with information that is accurate and sincere. Do not refrain from giving us information that we want to receiver or will hear from others.(2) Do not pressure us to grieve like our parents or other adults.(3) Do not pressure us to speak, but signal that it is OK and be there when we are ready and want to talk or share our feelings.(4) Do not impose too much of the adults’ despair upon us or allow us to assume adult roles.(5) Do not despair unnecessarily over insufficient reactions or talk on our part (most of us talk to our friends).(6) Pay attention to whether or not we function well on a daily basis after the first few months (e.g., sleeping well vs. nightmares/sleep disturbances, eating normally vs. changed eating patterns, meeting friends or isolating ourselves, school performance as before vs. enhanced performance/drop in grades).(7) Try to provide/accept that we need “time outs” to do fun things and to relax with friends, even at an early point in time when adults cannot conceive of such a thing.(8) Talk to the school about how we are doing, check whether the necessary support measures have been implemented (in collaboration with us).(9) Ensure that a close relative/acquaintance is available to serve as a “support figure” at the start (someone with whom we already have good contact/rapport).(10) Make it clear that it is acceptable to speak about the deceased and the event over time. Source: Dyregrov, K., & Dyregrov, A. (2008). Effective grief and bereavement support: The role of family, friends, colleagues, schools and support professionals. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley.
  • 92. Every middle-level school is a placewhere the majority of early adolescents spenda significant portion of their lives, and whatthey learn from teachers, support staff,administrators, and other students may havesignificant, enduring effects (Coggan,Patterson, & Fill, 1997; Holland, 1993; Lowton &Higginson, 2003).Sources: Coggan, C., Patterson P., & Fill, J. (1997). Suicide: Qualitative data from focus groupinterviews with youth. Social Science and Medicine, 45(10), 1563–1570. Holland, J. (1993). Child bereavement in Humberside primary schools. Educational Research,35(3), 287–297. Lowton, K., & Higginson, I. J. (2003). Managing bereavement in the classroom: A conspiracyof silence? Death Studies, 27(8), 717–741.
  • 93. “As educators, we are in a profession that is solely based on building productive lives for our students. They are our future and when one is cut short, all of us are affected. Dealing with a myriad of human emotions comes with the territory of teaching, counseling, and administrating within our schools” (Greene, 2003, p. 18).Reference: Greene, B. (2003). Grief in the classroom: Part 1. Bereavement Magazine, 17(5), 18–19.
  • 94. EVERY ADULT ON THE SCHOOLCAMPUS PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN SUPPORTING ANDASSISTING GRIEVING STUDENTS
  • 95. When students experience a loss, ithelps to have somebody on whom theycan depend for support.

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