We understand that it is often extremely hard for teachers and schools to know how to deal with the death of a pupil. There are many things to think about - how do you support friends of the pupil, their family, staff and how do you support the sibling who might also attend your school.
We are working on expanding this section.
When we asked our focus group what they would tell schools if they could, some reoccurring themes came up:
- There is no time limit to grief.
- It's not the same for everyone
- Don't be scared [about us wanting to speak to a teacher], be there to listen.
- Just because we look happy, doesn't mean we actually are.
People respond to grief in different ways. Siblings are often forgotten mourners, and whilst you may see different reactions amongst different people, needless to say, siblings grieve too. Some siblings might bottle up their feelings, want to return to normality and start attending school straight away whilst you may see behavioral changes in others.
Brothers and sisters will not always react the same. One child's method of coping with bereavement may be totally different from another. Whilst one may seem okay, another may seem disruptive, or make their emotions more visible.
It is important to understand that these emotions can be seen physically (in behavioral changes, eating less food at lunchtimes, removing themselves from speaking to friends, etc). Children need to know that there is someone there to talk to them. At the same time, many children say that teachers they've never spoken to suddenly become extremely caring, whilst nice, it is important that the child does not feel that these reactions are over the top.
Use this resource to learn more about Managing a sudden death.
What teachers need to know: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9vNoN0G-H8
This section is currently being expanded upon. If you have any questions as a teacher or school about how to support a sibling whose brother or sister has died, contact firstname.lastname@example.org