Death and Grief
Children and adolescents experience many types of losses in their lives from the death of a pet, friend or family member, to community losses, like a fire or tornado.
Teachers, parents, as well as other trusted adults, must be able to recognize typical experience of loss, understand its impact, and respond with support and care.
Children and adolescents should be comforted in knowing that grief is a healthy response to the loss of a significant person, place, or thing, and it encompasses a broad range of emotions and behaviors. These emotions can be intense, difficult, and sometimes overwhelming. It is important to help children understand that what they feel is normal, that they are not strange, or “going crazy.”
Likewise, the school itself has an important role to play in helping both students and faculty members adjust to the death of one of the members of their school family. The Hoover Emotional Response Team (HEART) was developed in 2002 in an effort to be proactive and better equipped to respond to such situations. Hoover City Schools organized and trained an internal, core team of dedicated, highly motivated individuals to be on-call for our schools with the primary purpose of working side-by-side with policemen, firemen, medical emergency personnel, and school officials to provide emotional support to those in need.
In a time of school-wide loss, HEART is prepared to provide assistance (along with the school team) in helping members of the school community deal with the loss. Typically, school wide-loss includes the death of a student, parent or school staff member. Another loss, affecting more than one family, might be the result of a disaster (i.e. fire, tornado). When the response is initiated, the school and HEART will work jointly to respond to the situation.
The Amelia Center of Children’s Of Alabama has many resources for families, schools and professionals:
For families: https://www.childrensal.org/for-families
For schools: https://www.childrensal.org/for-schools