Survey Results - Bereavement Services in Schools

Survey Results - Bereavement Services in Schools

Over 90 percent of educators reported that grief is a serious problem which deserves more attention in schools. Strong efforts are being made to address it; read more.

In a survey involving more than 1,200 members of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) conducted in October 2012 by the AFT, the New York Life Foundation, Tiller Inc. and Hart Research Associates, over 90percent of educators reported that grief is a serious problem that deserves more attention in schools. Respondents realized that bereavement is common in the lives of children and that students have a wide range of problems and challenges after experiencing a significant loss. Teachers reported that they want to provide support and assistance to their students who are grieving, recognizing the important and unique role they can play. But the single most important barrier preventing them from providing this support was insufficient training and/or professional development – 93 percent of classroom teachers reported they had never received bereavement training and only three percent said that their school or district offers this training.

In response to this need, the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement (NCSCB – www.schoolcrisiscenter.org) partnered with the New York Life Foundation and the AFT to create a national model for training educators and other school staff to support grieving students that is being pilot-tested in multiple local AFT chapters in Charlotte County, FL; San Francisco, CA; New York City, NY; Birmingham and Jefferson County, AL; and Chicago, IL. In addition to receiving training, the local chapters and school systems are being offered consultation on how to enhance their bereavement and school crisis services. Additional presentations have been offered via webinar and at national meetings of the AFT and other professional organizations representing school personnel and written material for educators and teachers distributed broadly to the membership of the AFT. Feedback from the trainings will be used to refine strategies for national dissemination of this training. A project is currently under development involving the AFT and other professional organizations representing educators, school administrators, school mental health professionals and other school personnel to develop a comprehensive on-line resource to better prepare all school personnel to support grieving students.

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