The grieving student and school support: Case study




Washington, Demarius

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The purpose of this multi-case study was to explore classroom teachers' and school counselors' perceptions of multi-varied grief manifestations present from elementary students, ages 6-12, after the death of their primary caregiver(s). The second purpose of this multi-case study was to describe how the multi-varied grief responses of students were compounded and/or comprehended by educational personnel in the school environment. This study utilized unstructured, open-ended question interviews to gather qualitative data of multi-case studies. All case studies focused on the phenomenon of grief manifestations of elementary age children and their effect on the school environment as perceived by educational personnel. The cases for this study were bounded together by time and place with the death of the students' primary caregiver occurring within the last 24 months. Three major overarching themes emerged from this study:

  1. School counseling services are the main source of support for grieving students and their families in the school environment. 2. School counselors and classroom teachers indicated that students' grief was inconsistent with the "normal" moods and behaviors observed prior to the student's death experience. 3. School counselors and classroom teachers indicated a wide array of manifestations of grief within bereaved children, which included behaviors, physical sensations, and feelings (Worden, 2009).



Education, Children and grief, Classroom teachers and grief, Death of primary caregiver, Parental death, School counselor perceptions, School support and grief