Chapter 5: High school students
The designated contact person
“I only had to talk to one teacher instead of having to repeat myself to everyone. I didn’t mind talking to coach, he was pretty cool about everything”. - Student
Having a designated contact person is especially important in high school since students often have a number of teachers. High school students should be as involved as possible in choosing this person, who might be a teacher, an administrator, or counsellor. All staff should know who this person is and understand their role.
Click on each of the tabs to find out more about being the designated contact person and working with the student and family.
- Builds trust with the student (primarily) and their family.
- Acts as a liaison between the student/family and the school.
- Relieves the family from having the same conversation with multiple staff members.
- Clarifies the family’s wishes regarding information-sharing.
*If a student or family are reluctant to share information about an illness or a death, try to work with them to help them understand the benefits of sensitively and honestly sharing information with the school community.
- Ensure you understand the wishes of the parent(s) as well as student.
- Confirm your student’s understanding of the communication plan.
- Discuss which information is to be obtained from and shared with their parent(s), other students, or school staff.
- Be respectful of this information, which may be very sensitive to your student.
- Many students benefit from having the opportunity to give their input as to how the news of the death is communicated to the school community.
- Students may not want you to share the content of the conversations between the two of you with others. Inform the student in advance of any legal obligations for you to disclose confidential information, such as if you were worried about their safety in any way.
- A high school student who has reached the age of majority must be treated as an adult.
If you’re not the designated contact, be sure to work with this person to ensure that information-sharing and activity-planning are in accordance with the family’s and student’s wishes.