MEMORIALS FOR DECEASED STUDENTS AND STAFF
Recognizing that loss of a member of the school community is deeply felt, schools will support staff, students and families who feel the loss and will assist them in making connections to appropriate community resources. As places designed primarily to support learning, school sites should not serve as the main venue for the memorializing of students or staff. All memorials require principal or director level employee approval in consultation with members of the District Crisis Team.
Memorials are strongly discouraged in the instance of suicide. The American Association of Suicidology has documented tremendous research that states that memorials contribute negatively to the contagion effect. Memorials following suicide may glamorize death and may communicate that suicide is an appropriate or desired response to stress. Instead, projects that are life affirming and help the living are encouraged. Examples that include volunteering, tutoring, fundraising for a charity, or community service would be more appropriate.
Memorial services for individuals shall not, as a standard practice, be held at school facilities or on school grounds within the School District. The lasting memory of a school’s use for the purpose of a memorial may detract from the educational mission of the District and could also prompt unforeseen reactions in students and staff. If there are extraordinary circumstances for a memorial service to take place on District property, special approval must be obtained from the Superintendent, in consultation with the District Crisis Team.
Types of Memorials
Permanent Memorials. Permanent memorials shall be limited in form to awards, scholarships, plantings, collections of books or items of historical or educational significance. It is recommended to focus efforts on one memorial project when a significant loss occurs. Plantings should take place in an optional viewing site on the side or perimeter of campus, and plans should be approved in advance by Grounds staff for a review of irrigation and maintenance issues.
Temporary Memorials. Temporary memorials may include plaques (no more than 12” X 15”) or other displays that are removed within one calendar year. Plaques shall be no more than 12” by 15” and shall only contain the following words without symbols: “In Memory of [the individual’s name and, if requested, dates of birth and death].”
The thoughtful removal of any temporary memorial shall occur when no students are in session.
Adopted March 20, 2006
Revised May 3, 2012