3155. Hon Alison Xamon to the Minister for Education and Training:
I refer to public school students who die by suicide, and I ask:
(a) are there any policies or guidelines for schools to follow in the event of the suicide of a student;
(b) if yes to (a):
(i) will the Minister please table these documents; and
(ii) what specific guidance is provided to schools about:
(A) advising friends and classmates; and
(B) sharing, circulating or publishing information about funerals or memorials; and
(c) if no to (a), why not?
Hon Sue Ellery replied:
(a) Yes. There are guidelines for schools to follow in the event of the suspected suicide of a student, which are contained in the postvention section of the Schools Response and Planning Guidelines for Students with Suicidal Behaviour and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury.
(b) (i) Yes. [See tabled paper no 4432.] Hon Alison Xamon — QON No. 3155 — School response and planning guidelines for students with suicidal behaviour and non-suicidal self-injury
(A) Information regarding advising friends and classmates is contained in the Schools Response and Planning Guidelines for Students with Suicidal Behaviour and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury – section 3.1.5 – Vulnerable groups and individuals. As well as recognising the impact on young people at the school who knew the student, schools are asked to identify, monitor and follow up individuals who may be at increased risk of a traumatic reaction, including those who are close friends.
(B) Information relevant to memorials and communicating information can be found in theSchools Response and Planning Guidelines for Students With Suicidal Behaviour and Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in section 3.1.6 – Permanent memorials and Section 3.1.2 – Language and Communication.
Guidance in Section 3.1.6 refers to the potential of a permanent memorial such as a plaque for providing a constant reminder of loss and the potential for contagion in discussion of the suicide. The guidance emphasises the importance of schools establishing consistent ways of responding to the death of a member of the school community.
Guidance in Section 3.1.2 – Language and Communication – advises that communications should be made carefully and with consideration of the wishes of the family of the deceased. Advice is also provided on where schools can access resources for further information on how to write or speak about suicide when communicating with the school community.
Guidance in Section 3.1.3 – School-based responses – advises that when planning school responses, consideration should be given to: family consultation regarding information provided to students and parent community, and liaising with agency and interagency supports.
The Emergency and Critical Incident Management Plan Template, section 3.1 – The Following Days and Longer Term Recovery provides a checklist of considerations for schools, including considerations for funeral attendance, with attention to the wishes of the family.
(c) Not applicable.