Chapter 1: The importance of developing and following a plan

The importance of developing and following a plan


“Last year we had devised a plan in case of a student death. I didn’t want to think we would ever have to use it but unfortunately, we did. It is a good thing we had it because when Adam was killed in a car accident, the principal was away, and it was up to me to step in. It helped to have a step by step procedure documented to guide me on how to support the students and staff”. – Vice Principal

Because we are rarely emotionally prepared for the death of someone in the school community, it’s extremely helpful to have a response plan in place. If one of your students dies suddenly, there is likely to be considerable turmoil within the school; but even when a student’s death is expected and may not be considered a “crisis”, a well-thought out plan can benefit the entire school community.   

The following are all points you need to consider as you prepare a plan. 

Roll your mouse over each one.

View Point #1




How will you communicate with the student’s family? Staff? Students? Other student families?


View Point #2




When should you involve a crisis response team (if available)?



View Point #3




What are your short and longer term support strategies for students including siblings of the student who died or any student requiring additional support?






If for any reason neither the Principal or Vice-principal is able to lead the school’s response to the death, an alternate staff member who is well known by the school community, such as a guidance counsellor, should be identified to do so.