Sudden Death

In the event a student, parent, staff member, friend, or public figure dies, determine the level of crisis and plan accordingly. Notify the Superintendent's office at (360) 383-2000.

Day 1:

1. Administrators and counselors meet as soon as possible.

  • Get the facts – who, what, where, when, how and why.
  • Determine the level of impact – individuals and groups who will be most affected.
  • Make provisions for staff coverage – substitutes, time, etc.
  • Contact community/county resources, if necessary, to provide counseling to students, staff and parents.
  • Call other school counselors and use the Whatcom County Counselor Crisis Services at 800-584-3578 for assistance as needed.

2. Hold staff meeting before or after school, depending on when death occurs.

3. Provide facts and inform staff of plans.

4. Announcements and/or written memo to be read by teachers to give students the facts.

5. Classroom discussions as necessary using format supplied during staff meeting. Do not use school assemblies.

6. Identify where to send students, staff and/or parents to get counseling during the day. Notify counselors of student(s) who may be in crisis.

7. Encourage students to stay at school.

8. Keep list of students who have received counseling help and who have left school.

9. Plan for communications with parents and/or media with assistance from the district office.

10. Administrative and staff meeting after school to debrief if necessary.

Day 2: Short pause in regular routine and move on:

1. Staff meeting if necessary.

2. Announcement or daily bulletin to inform students and staff of location of on-going counseling services and funeral/memorial arrangements, if known. If not known, everyone will be informed as soon as arrangements are made (allow voluntary student and staff participation.)

3. Meet with the victim's family.

Day 3: Routine back to normal

Contact the District Office at (360) 383-2000. Support will be provided and will also handle initial communication with the news media. Refer all calls from the news media to the Superintendent or his designee. All news releases will come from the central office. The Superintendent or designee will be the spokesperson.

In Case of Emergency . . . Dial 911