Perhaps one of the primary reasons our school community in Johnston, Iowa is healing resides in the thoughtful decision-making and response of our district and building administrative teams who guided us through the crisis of losing two students to suicide in a 36-hour period.
It was their plan, equipped with empathy for all students and adults, ongoing and timely communication with parents, and the quick shouldering of all available resources that helped us walk from one day into the next.
The work of the district resonated as I continued my conversation with adolescent suicidal behavior expert, Dr. James Mazza. In this 12-minute podcast he provides his step-by-step approach to responding to a classroom crisis, what's known as a "post-vention plan."
We have supporting material for you with this podcast as well. Here's Dr. Mazza's downloadable presentation.
And, if you missed it, here's a link to the yesterday's podcast with Dr. Mazza where we look at the Invisible Signs of Student Suicidal Behavior.
There's no "right" way to deal with tragedy in your classroom. However, I hope these resources give you some of the guidance you need to help support your students in the aftermath. Please don't forget to take some time for yourself to grieve and process your emotions in whatever way works for you- as teachers we know that we have to be strong for our students but tragedy affects us all.