I was reading Natalie’s blog on Jessica Ridgeway and I think that this brings up a lot of important issues that we as teachers may have to (but hopefully not) deal with when we become teachers within our public school systems. When a tragedy happens like this, where a student dies, commits suicide, is missing for several days, is kidnapped, dies in a car accident ect. how do we as teachers deal with such an incident?
I know that most of these would be circumstantial, but lets take Jessica Ridgeways story as an example. If a student within our school (whether that be a secondary school or early childhood) dies, how do we react? What do we do in order to keep our classrooms about learning, but also take emotions into consideration?
We had a discussion about this in my 350/386 class at Preston in how to deal with tragedies. With something like a student missing for several days, is it important to address it with the students, or simply hide it under the rug and try to pretend like nothing is happening…when in reality, it is happening right down the street from where you are learning algebra I.
I know that it is important to check with your principal to see how he would like to handle the situation, before you begin discussing with your students about the missing person/death incident that occurred. I think that it is important for the students to be at least aware of what is going on. I remember when 9/11 happened, and no one would tell me what was going on. People were crying, my classmates were leaving school, teachers whispering in the hallways. I didn’t find it fair for them to not inform me on the situation happening.
I would feel the same way if I were a student in the school where Jessica Ridgeway was missing. I would want my teachers to address it, and then continue on with class. I understand that you can’t spend entire class periods talking about such a sad incident, but our students deserve to know what is going on around them. (at least in my opinion). I believe it is important for us to state facts, not go into detail about what is happening, (especially because most of the time not a lot of people really know what is going on) and to allow them to visit the counseling office if needed.
Again, my heart goes out to those effected by the tragic incident that happened to Jessica Ridgeway. They are in my thoughts a prayers.