Memorial Day is fast approaching – presenting educators who have students connected to the military with a range of challenges. Grief expert Dr. David Schonfeld, director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement and lead founding member of the Coalition to Support Grieving Students alongside the New York Life Foundation, shares tips for supporting these students around the holiday.
Memorial Day was established after the Civil War to honor those who had died while in military service. It is observed each year on the last Monday of May. While non-military families often see Memorial Day as the first celebration of summer, those connected to the military are likely to see it differently.
Military-connected students almost certainly attend your schools. There are nearly 2 million children of active service members—that is, with parents in active duty military, National Guard or Reserves. They live in communities across the nation. Over 80% attend public schools.
Things to Know
Here are some helpful things to consider if you are planning learning activities or other student events related to Memorial Day.
Things to Do
To support military-connected children, especially those who are grieving a line-of-duty death, consider these steps.
The Coalition to Support Grieving Students offers a range of free resources that can help educators learn more about supporting grieving students. They have just released a special module, Supporting Children and Family Survivors of Military Line-of-Duty Deaths, which will be helpful to any educator working with military-connected children.