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Childhood Bereavement focus of Feb. 7 Twitter chat

Survey results on childhood loss will also be shared

The New York Life Foundation will host a Twitter chat on the issue of dealing with children in the school setting, on Thursday February 7, 2013, 5:00-6:00 p.m.(ET). This chat, the third in a series the Foundation has hosted since 2011, is aimed at educators, parents and school administrators.

Dr. David Schonfeld, Director of the Center for School Crisis and Bereavement, along with the American Federation of Teachers will be the featured presenters. The chat will provide participants with insights, tips and various resources they can use to assist grieving students.

Participants will also learn the results of the first-ever educator survey on childhood loss, conducted by the New York Life Foundation in partnership with the American Federation of Teachers.

How to join the conversation

To join the conversation, search Twitter for #NYLTips or visit Please be sure to include #NYLTips at the end of each tweet and follow @NewYorkLife and @AFTunion for additional resources.

Childhood bereavement and how best to help grieving school children was placed front and center among educators by the recent tragedy in Newtown, CT. While such horrific violence is a relatively rare occurrence in a school setting, childhood grief is not. It’s estimated that one in seven Americans lose a parent or sibling before age 20, indicating there are hundreds of thousands of grieving children sitting in classrooms across America every day.

In the wake of a close personal loss, children often experience serious psychological, behavioral, and academic difficulties. Teachers, as the primary adults responsible for these children for the majority of their waking weekday hours, have a critical role to play in supporting grieving students. But are they prepared for this role?

The survey on childhood loss looked at the prevalence of childhood loss, what teachers do or don’t do when they have a grieving child in their midst, and the need and opportunity to better train teachers and support grieving students.

We believe it is time to continue the conversation about the overwhelming need for bereavement support in our nation’s schools so poignantly revealed by Newtown and powerfully illustrated by the AFT/New York Life research.

Since 2008, much of the New York Life Foundation’s focus has been on childhood bereavement, in support of its larger Nurturing the Children initiative. This includes the development of a bereavement focused website,, and the availability of a continually updated directory of bereavement resources available in communities across the country, which can be accessed through the website.