Chapter 2: Preparing for a student’s death

When death is near

What the educator says
Shane Dilka, resource/learning support teacher, talks about sharing information about an ill child with staff and students.(3:22)
Shane Dilka, resource/learning support teacher, talks about informing families when death is near.(3:22)Video transcript
What the grief expert says
Camara van Breemen, nurse practitioner, talks about when there's a death in the classroom.(3:22)Video transcript

“Nobody knew what to say when Mr. Galway announced that Minnie was close to dying. The room was silent, and it stayed like that almost all morning”.  – Highschool Student

If the student is likely to die soon and if the family has agreed, you should inform your students soon as possible. The information should also be communicated to the school’s administrators so that they can ensure that all staff and parents are aware. If you’re the designated contact person and the family is open to further support, you should provide follow-up with them. 

This may be a time of heightened anxiety for everyone involved.  Student’s grief may be closer to the surface during this time as well.  Any information-sharing and planning that have been done up to this time will help everyone to prepare and may lessen their feelings of shock or surprise later, when they learn of the death.