Surveys of adolescents who have suffered trauma or loss indicate that they perceived their teachers to be helpful when they adjusted expectations about deadlines, rescheduled examinations, or extended due dates. Teachers were perceived as not helpful when they told students to focus on their schoolwork following trauma or loss or drew unnecessary attention to the students.
Accommodations for a student might include the following: (a) allowing the student time out of the classroom to meet with the school counselor, nurse, psychologist or social worker, (b) extending due dates for assignments and rescheduling examinations, (c) providing classroom discussion appropriate to the situation, and (d) acting discreetly, as necessary.
Take school-wide actions when many students share a sense of loss or of trauma. Make all students aware that doors are open for communication. Invite the school or district crisis team to the site so that they may identify strategies to help students who are experiencing loss. Be sure teachers have ready access to those strategies. Ensure that staff has easy access to lists of mental health resources in the school, district and community. Teachers and other staff coordinate their efforts as they identify and offer accommodations to students.
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