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Bereavement Accommodations in the Classroom: Experiences and Opinions of School Staff

Journal title
The Journal of school health
Publication year
DeMuth, M.; Taggi-Pinto, A.; Miller, E. G.; Alderfer, M. A.

BACKGROUND: Bereaved children often struggle in the school environment and school personnel often feel inadequately prepared to support them. This pilot study explored the experiences and opinions of school staff regarding approaches to addressing the needs of bereaved students in the classroom. METHODS: Teachers/school personnel (N�=�29) completed written open-ended questions about their experiences with bereaved students and opinions regarding a bereavement-focused accommodation (ie, 504) plan. Responses were summarized using qualitative content analysis. RESULTS: Most participants (93%) reported interacting with bereaved students and: (1) providing emotional support; (2) making classroom accommodations; (3) collaborating with the family/community; and (4) referring the student for counseling. Many (72%) expressed interest in a templated bereavement plan (21% did not respond; 7% said no) with education/resources for school personnel and suggested accommodations for students. CONCLUSIONS: Teachers encountering grieving students would welcome a templated bereavement plan to help meet students' needs. Such a plan would allow staff to become more knowledgeable about grief and provide guidance for developing specific strategies to accommodate grieving students both emotionally and academically.

Research abstracts