Commemoration and Memorialization

“What we ended up doing…is asking for input from the children. Because sometimes adults do things that they think children want, when in truth of fact the children do not want that, or they want something different. We ended up having a get-together in the morning where people had a moment of silence and could have their moments together as a group, and then the rest of the day was devoted…towards volunteer service in honor of those people who were killed and those who were injured.” (School Superintendent)

Memorial and commemorative activities can be helpful to students and staff. This module provides guidance on issues to consider in planning and carrying out such activities within a school setting after a member of the school community has died. Topics addressed include the importance of actively including students in planning memorial activities, how to respond to spontaneous memorials, and the role of social media.

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For more information on supporting grieving children, refer to The Grieving Student: A Guide for Schools by David Schonfeld and Marcia Quackenbush.