Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Kids frequently "experience" death

Researching for another project I am working on I came across a couple of interesting facts:

“It is estimated that at any given time in the average classroom, there are at least two students who are grieving from the death of a loved one.”

“1 out of 20 American children under age 15 has lost one or both parents to death.”

While I certainly have known for a long time that death and grieving were ubiquitous experiences, these 2 bits of information really drove it home today. It tells me that schools should do more to educate kids about death. It is a natural and frequent phenomenon. We will all experience it at least once. But there remains a strong taboo around it and any honest discussion of it, particularly before it happens in one’s life.

It should be a part of school curricula from an early age, certainly as much as telling kids not to smoke.

Other questions those “bits” raise would be about school personnel’s (teachers and counselors) preparedness and ability to deal with death and grieving when it occurs in a child’s life. It is something the personnel will be exposed to on a frequent basis.

The article (which has a good general discussion of the topic) makes a good case for both curricula inclusion and training and education of school personnel. It certainly ought to be considered (very strongly).

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