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Do not share details of the student’s death. Use the phrase ‘traumatic death’.
Give families accurate information about what’s happened. Use professional translators or interpreters if needed.
Letting the wider community know helps in many ways. It:
- limits misinformation
- minimises distress to families
- helps parents and carers to take supportive and protective action with their own children.
It also helps protect your school. It:
- encourages actions and attitudes that complement your school’s postvention plan
- reduces how many enquiries you need to manage
- lets people communicate with the school about wellbeing concerns
- creates confidence that the school can return to a normal routine.
- Letter to parents and carers – Department for Education (Word document 48KB)
- Letter to parents and carers – Catholic Education SA (Word document 48KB)
- Parent information – insert for parent letters (Word document 48KB) For use by all sectors.
The parent letter insert is included as the second page of the above letters, but can be downloaded separately.
Note: each Independent school has their own version of parent letters – or can adapt the letters in these guidelines.
Beyond parents and carers, how much wider you go will depend on individual circumstances.
Students can be deeply influenced and affected by traumatic death. Schools should let parents and carers know what’s happening. This can help them support and protect their own children.
Think about how you can confirm that parents and carers received any letters or messages you send.