Counselors are at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but a survey finds that 93 percent of US teachers say they’ve never received training on how to support students who have lost a loved one.
Mental-health counselors are just a few steps away if children are struggling as they start school Thursday at the new Sandy Hook Elementary School location.
But for thousands of students across America who have lost a loved one recently, help with grief is not so easy to come by.
About 7 out of 10 teachers report having a student who has lost a parent, guardian, sibling, or close friend in the past year, according to an early December survey by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the New York Life Foundation. Yet 93 percent of teachers say they’ve never received training on how to support bereaved students.
Many children “carry grief alone,” says David Schonfeld, director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement in Cincinnati, who is one of the survey authors. While teachers can’t be expected to be grief counselors, he says, “helping students understand how to cope with [loss] is a role schools can play.”