Chapter 6: Planning for when a staff member has died

Supporting staff members after a death


What the educator says
Sue Massaad, elementary school principal, talks about supporting school staff following a death.(3:22)Video transcript

“I took it very hard when Keith had his heart attack and then died two days later. We had worked together for 10 years and we had often supported and bounced ideas off each other. Now what? This was unbelievable and I was devasted”. – Teacher

When you learn of a staff member’s death, you should first communicate with their family. Once you have confirmed the cause of their death and the information to be shared know their wishes in regard to information-sharing, you should inform the rest of your staff and plan for how students and others in the broader school community will be informed. While all students will need to receive information and support regarding the death in a timely manner, additional support should be put in place for the students and staff who had direct contact or a particularly close relationship to the staff member who died.  

Remember that other members of your staff are also impacted by these deaths. Give thought to what might be helpful to them as they grieve and as they provide support to students, both in the short- and longer term. 

Click on the arrows to see some examples.