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Memorials and tributes

A memorial is a way to remember a student’s life. Memorials can offer students:

  • a chance to express their grief
  • a sense of hope and recovery.

Any memorial you plan should be relevant to the students at your school. It’s about the here and now.

Risks

Excessive or exaggerated admiration can cause problems. It can:

  • distress people close to the student
  • affect vulnerable students -  because they might then see suicide as an option.

Avoid large groups of grieving students

Do not use the whole school assembly.

If your school holds a memorial, keep it:

  • small
  • personal.

Parent or carer consent

Seek consent from the student’s parents or carers, if possible. Let them know what’s planned, if you can.

Be sensitive about cultures and religions

Think about cultural and religious practices. Try to consider specific:

  • rituals
  • traditions
  • beliefs.

Do not glamorise what happened

Do not glamorise or emphasise the event in any way. Remember the student with respect and dignity.

What else to think about

Tributes

Some tributes happen spontaneously. For example, people might leave flowers, balloons, photos or letters.

  • Do not make physical tributes permanent.
  • Spontaneous tributes should only stay for a short time.
  • Make it suit the student’s developmental level, if possible.