[Serious] Teachers who had to tell their class a student passed away, what was it like?

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My step-dad is a private school principal who also taught 7-8th graders. Total class size was 21 or so. Over the weekend one of the 13yo died of apparent suicide. I have never seen him so pale and empty looking when he got home that day. You could tell he had been crying along with the students. In his 30 years he had never dealt with anything like that and he shut down for a good while. He never saw a counselor but set it up for the students. I wish he would.


Used to teach in inner-city Chicago. Never had a student die, but several of them got shot. The kids knew well before I did. I actually had one student missing for three days; I mentioned it out loud that it was odd they weren’t in class for three days in a row, and one of my kids said, “Oh, Joe got shot seven times. You didn’t know?” Pretty harrowing stuff. It’s tough to sleep those days off, especially considering how casual the kids would be about it.


A student of ours was shot and killed. It happened just as quarantine had started so no students to tell. Just the teachers and staff. I had talked to the student no more than a week before everything shut down. We had threatened to call CPS on the mother because she had several children not going to school at all. We also suspected she was under the influence of drugs. He came in because of this threat and had told us his twin had been shot during a party and died. Most likely gang related for both of the shootings. It’s difficult because these were 16 year olds that should have had a better shot at life but the system failed them every step of the way.


Worst day of my career. A student of mine shot himself the night before. The SRO told me that morning. The principal made an announcement over the intercom for all of my students to come to my room and instructed me to tell everyone about his passing while all the admin and district and school counselors watched. His best friend just got out of a mental hospital for cutting himself. He was sitting right next to me when I spoke to the class. I instructed one of the counselors to not let the best friend out of their sight for any reason. 30 minutes later, the counselor informs me the best friend has gone missing. I search the school and find him, razor in hand, and a bloody mess. I take the razor and hold him with one arm while calling his dad with the other. It was a long and terrible day.


I used to teach English in China as an expat. The college I worked at had three suicides in a year, one of the students was in my department. Although I didn’t teach the student directly, the tone of the students and my colleagues were extremely gloom. Although tragic, the topic of mental health had been on the forefront of school business after the third incident and a therapy office for students has been established in the administration building. I was very proud of my school for taking mental health seriously, and had a discussion with my students about the issue. I kept my office open for any students wanting to talk. AFAIK no other suicide/attempt was made for the remainder of my time there (~1 year afterward). Flowers were set up at the location.