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Protect the deceased student's belongings for the police and family

After a student’s traumatic death you must collect and protect their belongings.

Have dignity, care and thought for:

  • the family
  • friends
  • cultural and religious practices.

This is an important act of respect for a grieving family. It is also critical to any work the police do.

The police will need to assess the student’s belongings.

Secure the student’s locker and other items

Secure the deceased student’s locker so the contents stay safe. If possible, use a padlock. If not, store them in the site leader’s office.

Make sure no-one touches the items, unless advised by police.

Collect pieces of the deceased student’s work from staff. Keep this secure too.

Think about other student’s feelings

An empty locker space is a particularly distressing symbol of a student death for close friends. So, it’s appropriate to let them know when this is going to happen.

Don’t let friends take the student’s belongings

It is vital friends don’t take the student’s belongings or give them to other friends. This could distress parents and carers, or compromise police work.

After the police clear the items for release

Once approved by police, you can empty the student’s locker. This is best done after students have been dismissed.

Put these contents with any of the student’s other belongings. Make an inventory.

Store the items securely in the school until the family collect them.

Aboriginal students

Value and respect Aboriginal culture, expertise and practices. If the student is Aboriginal always seek advice from family and community. Adopt local practices and approaches to grieving and loss. For example, a smoking ceremony might be appropriate. 

Students not living in their family’s home

There are extra things to think about for:

  • boarding house
  • homestay
  • room share
  • international students.

The student’s rooms will need to be secured. You will need to await advice from the police.

Why this matters

When you collect the deceased student’s belongings it protects the family. It means they have privacy when they come to collect their child’s belongings.