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Death and the Schools: A Psychological Plan of Action
The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child  (IF0.089),  Pub Date : 2019-01-01, DOI: 10.1080/00797308.2019.1557481
Paul M. Brinich

ABSTRACT Death comes more often to schools than we like to think. Whether it be the death of a grandparent, parent, sibling, schoolmate, friend, or teacher, it is virtually impossible for a school to go for more than a year without some member of the immediate school “family” experiencing a personal loss. It is especially sobering to realize that about 100 children between the ages of 5 and 19 die every day in the United States. Most of these children are enrolled in school at the time of their deaths. School personnel are in a unique and privileged position to help children cope with the feelings (especially anxiety, sadness, and anger) that are stimulated by the death of a classmate, teacher, or family member. This paper outlines a plan of action designed to ensure that the school’s response is psychologically sound, comprehensive, and integrated within the wider community. In writing this paper I have tried to avoid the use of psychological or psychoanalytic jargon in favor of plain English, a practice recommended by Anna Freud, who provided a model for this practice in her writings.