grief, grieving process, qualitative analysis, school nurse, student death, teacher



  1. Lazenby, Ramona Browder EdD, CRNP


In the year 2000, more than 20,000 school-aged children died in the United States. If one half of these children were attending school at the time of their deaths, over 10,000 classroom teachers had to deal with a loss. An extensive review of literature revealed a plethora of evidence that children needed, and were receiving, support when a classmate died. However, there was no evidence that the grief of the teacher had been acknowledged. Without recognition, there was probably little or no support made available.


The purpose of this qualitative research study was to examine how teachers deal with the death of a student. A phenomenological approach was used to gain an understanding of the phenomenon. One-on-one interviews were conducted with 13 teachers in the state of Alabama. Using Miles and Huberman's meta-matrix, the researcher analyzed the data using a within-case analysis followed by a cross-case analysis. Results indicated that teachers do grieve when students die and that their faith and fellow teachers are the greatest source of support. Findings further indicated that teachers dealt with the death of a student by reaching out to the students and parents left behind.