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A pupil died today

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Thegirlfrommars, Mar 3, 2011.

  1. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I don't think we're disagreeing really. I'm off out now.
  2. Doglover

    Doglover Occasional commenter

    This happened very recently in my daughter's school, with an older pupil. It was also as the result of an accident related to sport.
    The school handled it tremendously well.
    The year group wrote letters to put in a memoy book for his parents, there was a book of condolences for other pupils and there was a counselling service for those who needed it.
    The school held assemblies regularly to keep all pupils informed of what was happening, as he didn't die immediately, and both staff and pupils openly cried at those.
    The normal routine of the school carried on as much as possible, but things like games, a school production etc were postponed, and the flag hung at half-mast. They also had a floral tribute with a picture of him at reception as well as a display of sympathy cards the school had received.
    The school open night for primary 7 pupils went ahead at the the request of the dead boy's parents.
    The school were very involved in the funeral, at the family's request.
    Several weeks on, the school comunity appear to have coped very well, and I have nothing but admiration for the way they handled it.
    Some of the younger pupils (they boy was an older pupil) did get a little swept along by the whole thing, and were crying a lot even though they didn't know the boy, but the school dealt with them quickly by sending them along to speak to people about how they felt.
    For younger pupils particularly, it is the first time they have experienced anything like it. Even though they may not have been friends with the pupil, it can be a distressing time.

  3. Wow, I hope I have got you wrong here....but are you suggesting that when we attended Wooton Basset to repatriate my cousin we were being trivial? Or that doing so was inappropriate?
  4. Doglover

    Doglover Occasional commenter

    Pff, I don't think Lindenlea meant famil.x
  5. Hopefully the school have the support of the bereavement people from the authority

    Business as usual is essential ... with a space available within school for those that need to grieve

    Were there others with her ... if so guilt will be an issue and they will need support ... has the ed psych been in

    children are not experts in the grief process (which of us are) and some of them may "join in" as there is a culture of public grieving ... this does not make their needs any less important

    Also ... take care of yourself, OP, staff will be "being strong" but grief can catch you when you are not expecting it
  6. Maybe not. But all of those in attendance there come out as a mark of respect. I met some truly wonderful people that day and have never felt so welcomed and supported by complete strangers.
    I certainly wouldn't call people's grief trivial or inappropriate.
    With regards to the OP, I would be reluctant to radically change the timetable in this situation, and as others have said carry on as 'normal' with plenty of support for those who are not coping.
  7. Doglover

    Doglover Occasional commenter

    I'm with you completely, PFF, on the folk who go to Wootton Bassett.
  8. Over the years I've known of a few students who have died. The most recent was a girl in year 12 who died tragically in a car crash. The funeral coincided with an OFSTED inspection - but they were remarkably understanding. We were able to close the sixth form for the day so that those who wanted to could attend the funeral. This might be something that your school will want to consider although I can't imagine how many year 7 students would want to attend the funeral or indeed, if that would be a good idea. We also had a counsellor on site for a few days but because of the inspection we had to carry on pretty much as normal.
    When all the dust settled a group of her closest friends put up a memorial display in the sixth form area and a memorial concert was held a month or so after. Some of construction groups have also built a memorial garden which is dedicated to her and other students who have died.
    It's an incredibly sad time, and you have my deepest sympathy.

  9. jonkers

    jonkers New commenter

    Two of my daughter's classmates have died, one in year 6 and one in year 9.
    The first young boy had a brain tumour first diagnosed in year 3, he had surgery and chemotherapy on numerous occasions but came to school throughout treatment - he loved school and was enormously popular. He continued to come in until about 6 weeks before he died when he and his parents decided that he shouldn't have to endure any more treatment. The children were, obviously, very upset, but in a way, prepared for his death. They had a huge input into his funeral service with readings and singing and have subsequently organised an annual fund raising event which the school community has embraced and will, I am sure, continue indefinitely. That has helped them enormously.
    This year a girl in year 9 died with her parents in a dreadful accident that only her younger sister survived. The school were wonderful with an immediate program of counselling/assemblies/extra pastoral care for the entire year group and others who needed it. Two weeks later they held a lovely memorial service where any one that wanted to stood up and spoke or recited a poem or what ever - staff and children. All the children were given a sprig of rosemary to remember her by, many planted them and the one my daughter brought home has rooted and gives surprising comfort to her.
    I feel that the school did exactly the right thing on both occasions. A normal routine but with room to talk, be sad and grieve but most importantly remember all the good things about their friend.

  10. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    One of the most popular memorials I saw to a departed pupil was a picnic bench for students to eat their lunch at in the summer.
  11. Why on earth would you infer that, Pink ff?
    It isn't all about you, and your reactions y'know.
  12. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Ask yourself the same question.
  13. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I've been away and have just read pinkflipflops comment. I'm afraid Wooton Basset was not a good example for me to use. I certainly wasn't referring to families such as hers and I apologise for any offence caused by that remark.
  14. Thank you for the apology.
  15. "I think you should try to achieve a balance between the aforementioned discussion and time for reflection and grief, and normal lessons"
    Thank you, impulce. Your words help me to prepare my Monday. I was looking for any tip or advice to help children in one of the groups I teach English (ESL) they are 5 years old. Tomorrow they will know a classmate dead during the weekend. Sudden death. He was ok last Friday and didn't woke up Saturday morning.
  16. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

  17. giraffe

    giraffe New commenter

    Yes, absolutely.
    Might I add the need to request a low profile from religious bodies, who sometimes become very intrusive and opportunistic at such times, especially in Primary schools. Those directly involved with the tragic loss and in need of comfort and support of their faith will seek it out.
    I would also add that teachers who are affected need to be supported appropriately too - this isn't the best time to be answering pupil questions. There need to be measures in place for concerned pupils to have the chance to speak to nominated staff. This gets round the anxiety about having your coping back to work mode shaken by unexpected references to the sad event. An agreed statement or two sensitively delivered, with the option to speak to Mr or Mrs so and so can be a relief.
    Children may need reassurance about their own safety and mortality and this is better coming from someone prepared for these discussions.
    The death of young people affects us in different ways - I admit to being deeply troubled by it when it has happened to the extent of it interfering with my day to day activities. This can happen some time after the actual event and is not necessarily in proportion to the closeness of the pupil.

  18. I agree with this too. I think there could be a great danger in all teachers following this plan and actually ending up accentuating/ exascerbating the grief . Obviously, it's important that there is support there but this ought to be in the form of professional grief counselling/ a whole school assembly/ 'service' of remembrance. Practically, speaking about the event and allowing students to share, within reason is fine. Perhaps your class could make a book of remembrance that they could add to over a set period? This would make it separate from lessons.
    I think striking a balance is important.

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