chapter  18
Grief and Traumatic Loss: What Schools Need to Know and Do
ByPeter L. Sheras 275
Pages 16

Death intrudes on us all. Even though grief and loss are part of life, for children and adolescents it is untimely, out of place, unnatural, and disorienting. For most young people, it is the province of old age, grandparents, or chronic degenerative illness, not associated with immediate family, friends, and school. For school-aged children, death is very often traumatic because it is not "supposed" to happen. Many other losses may be experienced as traumatic and can represent the "death" of a relationship, the sudden disappearance of love and support, or the significant change in an expectation. Whenever such an event occurs, it shakes children to the core and causes them to doubt the reliability of most everything. "If my friend, who is just a kid like me, dies, how can I trust anything to be as expected?" Children are not supposed to die, and those closest to them-parents, friends, or teachers-are not either.